The Rise of Corporate Murals in LA

Downtown Los Angeles, styled DTLA by its new enthusiasts, has long been a site for street art and murals of dubious legality. Now, developers are paying artists to paint them.
May 16, 2017, 8am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Mural by artist WRDSMTH adorning downtown's The Bloc
Achim Hepp

Developer-sponsored murals: cool public art or more corporate appropriation? Downtown L.A. is becoming a hotspot for that debate. Eddie Kim writes, "In recent years large-scale works have been commissioned to serve as defining features on buildings including the Eighth & Grand apartments, the Park DTLA office campus, One Santa Fe and The Row in the Industrial District, among many others."

In light of the area's rapid gentrification, the murals aren't well-received by all. "Others see a mass of corporate efforts overtaking the free-for-all street art culture that helped define the Arts District and other neighborhoods when Downtown had less mainstream appeal."

The corporate commissions can be a good source of income for local artists, but many L.A. murals still get whitewashed. And while a commissioned piece might be done in a "street" style, is it still "street art?"

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Published on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 in Los Angeles Downtown News
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