by SERGIO GARCIA
Punk Me Tender is a French artist that first moved to Los Angeles to pursue his artistic vision. Though he keeps his true identity secret, he has adorned Los Angeles with various pieces of street art using unconventional methods. He has used mixed media that includes spray paint, photography, and even real pieces of clothing to create murals that generate intrigue and fascinate those fortunate enough to find them. Punk Me Tender's work frequently features women and vibrant color schemes that entice the eyes and minds of the beholder.
On its own, Amoeba Music is a landmark in Los Angeles. And yet, no trip to Amoeba is complete without taking a few minutes to revel in the beautiful mural that Punk Me Tender has created on the back wall of Amoeba Music. In the middle of the wall, a woman with black hair and a black leather jacket stares straight ahead. She is wearing large, black sunglasses with white frames. This helps to retain her anonymity and frees us, as viewers, from focusing on her individually. Surrounding the woman, and taking up the entire length of that back wall, butterflies of various sizes flutter around her. The vibrant blue color of these butterflies beguiles the viewer and creates a sharp contrast between the black color used throughout the rest of the mural.
What attracts me most to this mural is that everytime I come across it I can appreciate something new. The woman depicted has a somewhat blank expression on her face that can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, depending on my own personal mood. Sometimes I find that she seems to be bravely looking forward to what’s ahead, ready to move on and get going. On other visits, I see more of a smug, self-satisfied look. And yet, on other occasions, I find that she has a mildly annoyed look on her face. Her alternating expressions seem to be more of a reflection on my own state of mind and attitude than anything else. And I’m sure that each person that gets the opportunity to admire this piece has their own interpretation of how the woman is feeling or what she is thinking. While the woman is the central focus of the mural, the butterflies that surround her add a cheerful exuberance to the painting. The radiant blue hues of the butterflies draw the eye in and create a pleasant juxtaposition of color next to the other monochromatic elements of the artwork. And it's this calculated contrast and deliberate use of color in Punk Me Tender's mural that make one of my favorite places in Los Angeles, Amoeba Music, that much more enthralling.
Where exactly is this mural?
On the back, exterior wall of Amoeba Music. If you enter the street level parking from Ivar Avenue, you can’t miss it.
Tommy Jarrell is a poet, writer, and artist who lives in Los Angeles. He has previously written for Bleacher Report and Throwback. His poems have appeared in The Squaw Valley Review and 805.