Vandalism. Destruction of property. Graffiti. Eye-sore. These are just few of things you might hear to describe what you see going on in the pic to the left.
The truth is that this is called Street Art. The street art culture is about as hard to get into as any. You might live next door to a street artist or shake hands with one every day at work and not have a clue.
A common misconception is that these guys do graffiti. A graffiti artist, or tagger as some might call them, uses spray paint to show who they are or what crew is around. The tagger might do their work to let others know where their territory might be or to show how "active" he might be.
Street art is about expressing who you are or what you believe in, shedding light on injustices you might want to voice, or even as a way of joining a group of people who own the streets and roam around in the shadows. Long Beach has but a hand ful of street artists in comparison to our neighboring Los Angeles. I spoke to a local street artist that some of you might recognize, he goes by Help Desk.
"Its a fucken addiction," says Help Desk. He goes out constantly in the middle of the night and puts up anything from pocket-sized hand made stickers to some good sized canvases. His most recognisable work has been up for just shy of a week which more than surpassed the 8-10 hour "life expectancy," as he put it. If you find yourself driving down Atlantic Ave. in Bixby Knolls, take a look above the entrance to the Art Expo building.
"I do it for myself; its not for any financial gain or anything," explained Help Desk, "I like the aspect of remaining annonymous." He, like many other artists, makes everything that he puts up. "If you have a Help Desk sticker, or if you see one up, I made that; I didnt get a bunch of 'em printed or anything." He explains how he uses a silkscreening process to make his stickers on blank labels and how he's made stencils out of stuff from cereal boxes to begining work on a huge wooden one. "Being a street artist is kind of hard to keep secret because there are people I want to tell sometimes. No one that I hang out with knows what I do, not even my dad knows and i think he would be super proud of me," he confessed. He's sent out or traded stickers with other street artists around the world; Istanbul, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico are all countries that have a help desk sticker proudly on display.
What are your thoughts on street art? Why do you think there isnt as much of it in Long Beach as there is in other cities like Hollywood or Los Angeles? Have you seen any street art?
"If you go to an art gallery, you chose to go see art. But if you walk down the street and see some street art staring back at you, it just changed your day. I would like to think that whether you love my art or hate it, I change how someone views the world." - Help Desk Street Art.