Monday, June 17, 2024

Meet the artists mural-ing our city for Long Beach Walls 2024

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Long Beach Walls and the Art Renzei Festival have changed the city’s art scene, turning Long Beach into one of the region’s finest outdoor museums, etching names like James JeanTristan EatonNychosDeferCryptic, and more into the annals of Long Beach art history. And on walls. For the public to explore. For free.

And it all returns this year with a new slate of artists come June 22 through June 29.

Wait—so before that: What, exactly, is Long Beach Walls?

After rebranding as Long Beach Walls and the Art Renzei Festival last year, its original story as POW! WOW! began in the warehouse-filled Kaka’ako district of Honolulu, where a young Jasper Wong saw an incredible opportunity to create a spectacle that harkened more to the power of humans rather than the excessiveness of human partying.

Coachella he was not seeking. EDC? Absolutely not. He was creating what would soon become a phenomenon that the art world could not ignore. Eschewing hipster antics—those popularity-contest-driven events where the partying is slowly eclipsing the art—Wong wanted to bring together his beyond cool friends as “an excuse to make an area better with art.”

We are talking talented street artists who are beyond respected in their own right, from James Jean to Ekundayo, Wu Yue to Will Barras.

And this evolution toward Long Beach Walls and Art Renzei Festival has one simple point: create a global artist collective that seeks to alter the public landscape by providing the world’s leading street artists the largest canvases possible—the walls of buildings—while bringing together creative spirits in a way that is otherwise not possible.

It has additionally brought forward sculptors, musicians, photographers, and videographers to bring their own artistic flair to the event as it has expanded over the years.

So who will be artifying the city for Long Beach Walls 2024?

Here is your complete guide to the artists taking over the streets of Long Beach come June 22 through June 29.

A.L. Grime

Experimenting with graphical, largely monochromatic murals (that sometimes have big splashes of hyper-saturated color), A.L. Grime (aka Ally Grimm) is a Venezuelan-American self-taught multimedia artist based out of Colorado.

Obsessed with language, communication, and interpersonal relationships, her studying Strategic Communications at West Virginia University allowed her to be “captivated by the ways in which individuals process the relentless influx of information in our daily lives.”

Click here to visit A.L. Grime’s Instagram.

Alepsis Hernandez

A participant in Long Beach Walls 2022, Long Beach-based Alepsis Hernandez started studied painting at Long Beach City College and printmaking at Xico Center in Phoenix, Arizona. has a realistic quality toward her human subjects—largely women of color—surrounded by surreal objects, abstract imagery, and bright, saturated colors that juxtaposition her largely monochromatic portraits.

Click here to visit Alepsis Hernandez’s Instagram.

Andrea Wan

Hong Kong-born, Vancouver-raised artist Andrea Wan makes her Long Beach Walls debut—and brings with her one of the most stacked CVs in terms of her work: With commissions and clients ranging from Apple and Microsoft to Vogue and The New York Times, her playful surrealism, often mixed with things of natures and humans, is both witty and captivating.

Her murals—beautifully feminine, boldly colored, often graphical—can be found everywhere ranging from Rome to Berlin, Vancouver to Los Angeles.

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Click here to visit Andrea Wan’s Instagram.

b1n4ry

b1n4ry is a lotta things all at once: It’s a company, an artist, sometimes a collective of artists, and technically, a person—Zac Layman, who owns the company b1n4ry visuals. What him/they/it have achieved is altering the digital presence of art through everything from projection and animation to stage design and experiential spaces. All the while drawing on mathematics, Euclidean geometry, particle physics, and quantum theory to further these artistic endeavors.

Click here to visit b1n4ry’s Instagram.

Balloonski

Returning after making his debut at Long Beach Walls 2023, Andrew “Balloonski” Mika is witty, playful, and delightfully “meant for everyone”—precisely the type of artist you think he is: He uses balloons. And a lot of them. (And he is not to be confused with Jeff Balloonski, the post-postmodern artist that mocks the postmodern art of Jeff Koons.)

Balloonski takes over fences, statues, public spaces, private parties, a corner here and there. You may have seen his ubiquitous creations across the streets of Los Angeles (where he moved to in 2015), honoring the local culture with everything from balloon Dodgers logos to a massive balloon bong for the stoners.

Brendan Monroe

No stranger to Long Beach Walls—having participated in the 2021 edition and painting over the consistently painted-over wall that covers the entrance to the Jergins Tunnel at Seaside Way and Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach—Brendan Monroe has one of the most distinct styles in that he often incorporates a repetitive, graphical, black-and-white wave figure in each of his murals.

Based out of Los Angeles, his hope in his work is to alter the way the surface of an object appears with his distorted, graphical morphing.

Click here to visit Brendan Monroe’s Instagram.

Detour

Detour, aka Thomas Evans, is one of the most prolific working Black artists when it comes to the game of mixing large scale murals, commercial art, and education—and his distinctly colorful, always human-centric takes on how we can view one another as humans is perpetually uplifting.

From takes on Tupac and Anthony Bourdain to beautiful interpretations of women, children experiencing joy, and men celebrating centeredness, Detour will be a welcomed addition as he makes his Long Beach Walls debut.

Click here to visit Detour’s Instagram.

Hung Yi

Big, bold, witty, colorful, and distinctly Taiwanese, the sculptural work of restaurateur-turned-artist has a whimsical, surreal quality that draws in both children and adults alike as he morphs animals—be they of this earth or mythical creatures—into grand, larger-than-life presences within space.

His work evokes the “spontaneous and original style created for a unique visual language for Taiwan, which represents the local culture.”

Click here to visit Hung Yi’s Instagram.

ill.des

Based out of Denver, ill.des’s obsession with the abstract and technological—from geometric shapes and computer engineering to optical illusion and visual effects—has led to pieces that could be perceived as a mixture of controlled chaos and chaotic control.

Distinctly lying under the influence of the Op Art Movement of the 1960s—where abstract patterns were used to cause visual effects for its viewers—ill.des says their pieces “are not cold or mechanical. Instead, their work reflects the complexities and contradictions of the natural world. The use of symmetry and repetition creates a sense of order, while the use of unexpected shapes and colors adds a sense of chaos and unpredictability.”

Click here to visit ill.des’s Instagram.

Katbing

Unapologetically queer, proudly Angeleno, and unabashed in expressing kindness, Katbing is the perfect representation of what a lot of contemporary muraling doesn’t represent: Harmless humor and constant display of primary colors and whimsical shapes, Katbing’s work exudes light, love, and life.

In their words: “I put community, kindness, humor, and optimism in the face of a potentially scary future for human-kind if we don’t get our shit together.”

Can we get an amen?

Click here to visit Katbing’s Instagram.

LeDania

Born Diana Ordóñez, LeDania is a Bogotá-based artist that has become synonymous with the Latin American street art scene.  Derived from the union of Leda, the famous female seduced by Zeus in Greek mythology, and her first name, LeDania’s work plays with bold line work, expressionism, cubism, and surrealism, creating that murals that are intended to uplift and inspire.

While her graffiti and murals could be seen in every corner in Chapinero, a neighborhood in the northern part of Bogotá, LeDania is busy showcasing her art to the world.

Click here to visit LeDania’s Instagram.

Lula Goce

Spanish artist Lula Goce—a doctorate in art from The Fine Art University of Barcelona—has long been obsessed with hyperrealism in her murals largely dedicated to human subjects surrounded by a surreal environment.

In her own words, “I used to seek and find, but it was not always what I expected. If I had to define myself within this eclectic world I would say that in my work I fuse different disciplines. I would place my work within the field of mural art, design, installation and intervention in spaces. My work could be defined by the economics of media and use of the drawing and the line on natural backgrounds.”

Click here to visit Lula Goce’s Instagram.

Narsiso Martinez

An immigrant from Oaxaca, Narciso Martinez’s incredibly intimate and personal work celebrates the vital and often invisible labor performed by farmworkers. Martinez typically works from personal photographs of subjects who he knows intimately as friends and colleagues, all the while using mediums such as produce cardboard boxes to create his pieces.

In some cases, the laborers look directly back at us, and in others, heads are bowed or hidden by protective gear. In this sense, the pieces have a voyeuristic quality for those who have never labored in the fields of Central California—or a deep familiarity for those who have.

An alumni of CSULB, his work is both beautiful and powerful.

Click here to visit Narsiso Martinez’s Instagram.

OG Slick

Funny, pop culture-centric, cartoon-obsessed, OG Slick (born Richard Wyrgatsch II) moved from Honolulu to Los Angeles in 1986 at the age of 19, quickly becoming a defining force in the West Coast’s contribution to graffiti and street art. Straddling his inherited Japanese and American cultures, he homed in on the pop side of things, blending comics, Looney Toons, Disney, and more into his works.

His respect in Los Angeles and abroad has resulted in collaborations with everyone from Ice Cube and Pharcyde to massive brands like MTV, Microsoft, and Mercedes.

Click here to visit OG Slick’s Instagram.

Persue

Dave “Persue” Ross—his street name is pronounced per-SWAY—follows his family’s tradition of participating in and making a career out of art. And if there is one thing to say about his work, it is wildly eclectic, fusing street writing, graphical and comic styles, surrealism, photo realism, and more, all the while using an impossibly stretching color palette that refuses to stick to one agenda or focus.

Largely considered the grandfather of melding street art with skate culture, he continues to work worldwide while based out of New York City.

Click here to visit Persue’s Instagram.

Roshi

No newcomer to Long Beach Walls, Roshi epitomizes badassery: Psychedelic, unabashedly feminine in quality, wildly trippy, inexhaustibly consuming—or, in the words of the artist, “manga-saturated, symbol-obsessed transfiguration”—Erik Vincent, aka Roshi is a beautiful thing to witness.

“To be honest and connect to this brings me peace, to be able to share that creation with others brings me joy,” Roshi once said. “There have been plenty of challenges to overcome, as we all have in life, but art has always been a thread that leads me to discover new lessons and possibilities. Asking your own questions and finding your own answers is the most powerful journey you can embark upon in this life I think, and I’m driven to share that through the examples of my own work. We are all powerhouses capable of shaping a new world, so connect to yourself to see what is truly important and then build it into the ever evolving future.”

Click here to visit Roshi’s Instagram.

SakoAsko

Like his other counterpart LeDania, SakoAsko hails from Colombia—and brings with him a comic book-style of magica and surrealism like no other.

“Aesthetically, I’m interested in American comics, instruction manuals and leaflets—also mythology… All these lines of interest connect to self-observation. The central theme of the work is the window, which is a metaphor for perception. When you observe from a window, you interpret the landscape, your perceptions of what is there.”

Click here to visit SakoAsko’s Instagram.

Sawai

Long Beach-based Olivia Sawai is a self-taught artist who work combines funky and abstract color blocking shapes with typography, hints toward mental health awareness and mindfulness, and a full dedication to self-love: She “intends to use her work to spread awareness of the importance of mental health while cultivating a supportive community.”

Click here to visit Sawai’s Instagram.

Spenser Little

Spenser Little is no stranger to Long Beach Walls, having been a part of 2018’s festivities—and he is obsessed with wire and creates artworks that straddle the line between sculpture, installation and street art.

Sarcastic and dry-humored, his work is often filled with harsh tinges of social critique: one piece depicted an iPhone above a woman’s vagina with the sentence, “If your clit had a touchscreen, he’d caress it more,” while another, installed overlooking a serene ocean, depicted a smartphone being held and read, “Authenticity is everything.” In short, Spenser Little challenges the ideas of space and art itself.

Click here to visit Spenser Little’s Instagram.

W3R3ON3

W3R3ON3, aka Gelson Lemus, is a Guatemalan-born artist that now resides in Houston—and has become synonymous with works that social justice perspectives as a self-described “muralist.” Whether it is painting Harriet Tubman on the 20 dollar bill, giving props to Martin Luther King Jr., or acknowledging Thomas Edison’s invention of the lightbulb, his work is prolific, inherently American, and beautiful to see.

His talent is also extremely malleable: He has commissioned surrealist, nature-centric, and other styles that also make him one of the most well-rounded on this year’s Long Beach Wall dais.

Click here to visit W3R3ON3’s Instagram.

594evah

594evah, aka Christian Garcia, is a Jalisciense artist that has now resided in California for over two decades—and with that, brings a love of graffiti that has resulted in being one of NorCal’s most recognized muralists. That dedication to the region, especially the Sacramento area, has resulted in being commissioned for large murals dedicated to local legends, like that of musician Danny Sandoval.

Click here to visit 594evah’s Instagram.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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