Heads Up: The Arts District Becomes Easter Island with New Paper Mache Art

Easter Island in Arts District I Courtesy of artistThe renegade silent partner of multimedia and paper mache artist Calder Greenwood has struck again. The undisclosed public artist has installed an Easter Island-like head in a East Third and Rose triangle parking lot in the Arts District.

The artist, who goes by the name "Wild Life," said it is art, not fame, that drives them. "It's a career choice as an artist to be anonymous," said the person operating under the name "Wild Life." "A lot of artists are clamoring for the limelight. I'm not sure if I am ready for it. Once you get in that space, it clouds your judgement."

This time the temporary artwork, which previously have been installed in unauthorized zones and tend to be whisked away quickly, may find a tolerant home in the lot operated by Angel City Brewery, now under new ownership. The final version will be painted in brown hues, says the artist.

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It may stay up longer than the other works in the portfolio, which began with a family of sunbathers in the deep pit parcel at First, Broadway, Second and Hill, moved on to having the street art duo donning deer on Angels Knoll, and fake trees in the historic core. Then a surfer in the image of Snake Plissken, from John Carpenter's "Escape from L.A.," was plunked in the L.A. River to ride its way to the ocean. All those installations were just an idea to bring attention to neglected sites, said Greenwood.

Granted, we have been part of the media mouthpieces intrigued with the installations. While some consider it just cool, it is also a clever use of public space that costs nothing to eradicate the site-specific work and return the targeted spot back to its original blight. "But why?" some may ask.

The installation reinterpreting Moai, the islanders name for the figureheads, may be the chance for spiritual cleansing. Director of the Easter Island Statue Project, Jo Anne Van Tilburg, also a research associate at UCLA, has been leading the excavation of two figures to examine the just-discovered full bodies underneath the figures. She stated at NOVA "The moai . . . mediates between sky and earth, people and chiefs, and chiefs and gods."

On another note, paper street artist Ramiro Gomez has just returned from a trip touring Europe and ready to paint again, so expect to see some cardboard cutouts of nannies, gardeners, and housekeepers in the not so blighted areas of the city.


About the Author

Ed Fuentes is an arts journalist, photographer, graphic designer, and digital muralist who covers a variety of topics and geographies in Southern California for KCET.
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