Spend the day taking a street art tour of Los Angeles

Street art adorns hundreds of walls in Los Angeles, giving local artists a public avenue to express themselves. (Photo courtesy of DJ Neff)

Looking to see more of Los Angeles but not sure where to start? Well, first of all, it’s very valid. LA is huge, confusing and not walkable at all.

There are so many great parts of the city, from amazing food to warm beaches and great sports, but sadly LA’s art, more specifically its street art, is often overlooked. In almost every corner of the city, artists have let their creativity take over to create something amazing. Street art is a great way to discover the city and its different communities. And all you have to do to start exploring it is clear your schedule and then head to the Metro Exposition by USC line.

Kobe Bryant mural by JONAS NEVER, 1336 Lebanon St

Start your day with a delicious breakfast burrito Dulce ($8.75), then stroll to the Jefferson/USC E line subway station toward downtown Los Angeles. Get off two stops later at Pico Station, just around Crypto.com Arena and walk to the Kobe Bryant mural created by JONAS NEVER.

JONAS NEVER is a Los Angeles-based muralist identifiable by his imaginative yet realistic pieces and incredibly fast turnaround times. JONAS NEVER painted this piece in 2015, before Bryant’s tragic passing. It then became an incredibly meaningful memorial to an icon after his death, due to the high quality of the piece and its location near where Bryant performed. While you’re there, you’re bound to be swarmed by legions of fans, making it a life-changing experience and allowing you to understand the huge impact Bryant had on LA.

Defend Dignity by Shepard Fairey, 1031 S Grand Ave

After paying your respects, take a short 10-minute walk to Grand Ave, where you’ll find one of Shepard Fairey’s masterpieces, “Defend Dignity.” Fairey is a prolific artist from Los Angeles, well known for his politically motivated works. In addition to having countless murals located throughout the city, Fairey is perhaps best known for its “Hope” poster, designed for former President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Defend Dignity wants to “inspire sensitivity towards our fellow human beings and the planet itself”. It is a truly beautiful and impactful work of art that inspires us to embrace change. He uses only red, white and blue and depicts an idyllic America where equality reigns and where the country welcomes immigrants. It is a stark reminder of our country’s flaws and a call to be better.

Fairey has similar pieces all over Los Angeles, and one could spend an entire day exploring the city through his art alone. But that would be a different article.

Street Art Street, 4th and Alameda

Take the subway back to 7th Street / Metro Center and find 40 Beverly Blvd. bus line on 6th and Flower. Then take the bus to Little Tokyo, get off at 4th and Alameda, or Street Art Street.

There are many jaw-dropping murals in this area, but one artist whose work continually stands out is Royyal Dog. Best known for his photorealistic murals of black women wearing traditional Korean hanbok dresses, Royyal Dog’s work is mesmerizing. His portraits convey various emotions and, fortunately for the viewer, they are billowing on the sides of buildings, making you stop where you are and stare at him. Along Street Art Street there are a plethora of murals to stop, think and take pictures in front of.

Because there is so much to see in this area, consider buying food first. Hama Sushi is a must for weekday lunch. And if you’re not in the mood for a sit-down meal, head to Somi Somi for its tantalizing Ah-Boong ($6) or Mitsuru Cafe for a life-changing Imagawayaki to eat on the go ($2 ).

The Container Yard, 800 E 4th St

The last stop on the street art tour is one block from Street Art Street on 4th Street. Although the indoor exhibits are closed, the Container Yard’s outdoor murals are visible from the road and worth stopping to see. Intricate murals take up every inch of available space on the sides of the buildings in this warehouse complex.

Located in a former mochi factory, the Container Yard lets artists’ imaginations run wild and provides them with a giant canvas to paint anything they can imagine. The murals here have depicted everything from random splashes of vibrant color to moving tributes to Bryant. The Container Yard has featured artists such as Tristan Eaton, who has made a name for himself with his mesmerizing and colorful collages.

While you’re here, be sure to check out Art Share LA Although it’s not street art, it’s an artist collective located next to the Container Yard with up-and-coming creatives based in Los Angeles. It’s a free experience well worth thirty minutes of your time.

About Walter J. Leslie

Check Also

You Can Now Book a Sumo Watching Tour in English in Tokyo

Getting tickets for the Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan is always a …