by TOMMY JARRELL
Chucking Lights is an artist and native Angeleno who is originally from northeast Los Angeles. He creates inventive sculptures, paintings, drawings, videos, and animations. Chuck is also a writer, musician, and builder and says that he intermittently works construction on the side. He has previously authored and illustrated multiple issues of his own zine, Quick! Our interest in his work began with the beautiful, surrealist mural that he created on the exterior of Furthur Furniture in Sunset Junction.
The mural outside of Furthur is quite literally a sea of red. It prominently features what Chuck describes as a “giant woman with the landscape and a coral tree.” The woman is crouching to the level of an anthropomorphic ant, that is also prominently featured, so it looks as though the two figures seem to be engrossed in conversation.
Surrounding the giant woman and her insect companion there is a school of tiny fish and a number of three dimensional, geometric blocks on the ground. Behind them, in the sky, there are a series of moons in various stages of waxing and waning that add to the general sense of mystique aroused by this mural. The hills, mountains, and mesas in the background give you the sense that this mural is set in the desert, but then the school of fish, the coral, and the starfish on the ground quickly force you to suspend that supposition. Instead, what Chuck has created is a world that is not a desert, nor a sea, but something else entirely. It’s foreign and familiar, and I think to a degree, that is something that we look for in a provocative piece of art. We need something familiar to ground us, and our understanding, within the work, but then we desire something that is going to surprise us by subverting our initial expectations. This mural’s magic is that it make us think and that its surrealist and liminal qualities are immersive and suck us into a refreshing recess from our real-world.
The depiction of this giant woman and this anthropomorphic ant feels almost mythic. And it feels like Chuck is using this mural to tell us a story that explains one of the universe’s grand mysteries. It draws us into this beautiful scene and we wonder about the nature of the interaction between its two primary characters. We wonder why there is coral growing, or fish swimming, in an apparent dessert. We wonder about the moons and how this world was lucky enough to be blessed with so many. We ponder the geometric blocks strewn across the ground. Ultimately, Chuck’s mural forces us to live with questions that cannot be immediately answered with absolute clarity, but it intrigues us and beguiles us, it invites us into a world that is absolutely fascinating. And even in those ways the world Chuck has depicted in his mural is quite like our own.
Where can you find this mural?
You can find this mural on Sunset Boulevard (near the intersection of Fountain Avenue and Sunset). It’s on the outside wall of Furthur in the parking lot for Malo.
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.