|Chase Bank in Flames by Alex Schaefer, seen on the cover of Artillery Magazine|
During the L.A. Art Walk, I got a chance to view a different type of Street Art.
Stumbling into the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles turned out to be a surreal ordeal. Artists to the left, to the right, then to the left again...busy creating like bees. I bumped into this bearded bee wearing a hat. I took a look at his paintings; one depicting a Chase Bank of Fire. I remembered hearing about Alex last fall; that he was being investigated by the L.A.P.D. for projecting the Chase Bank on Fire.
The Vincent Van Gogh look-a-like, plein air painter, Alex Schaefer,
|Alex Schaefer Maulsticking it to the Bank|
His paintings depicting Banks on fire were, “was intended to be a visual metaphor for the havoc that banking practices have caused to the economy.” The prompted a police investigation.
He told me that somebody had called the police on him, and said they felt threatened by his painting. The police questioned him, and were curious as to find out his intention. They asked if he was a terrorist and if he was I going to follow through and do to the bank what was depicted in his painting(s). They even came to his house. Since this confrontation, his paintings have gone up in value.
I was interested in his process, and as he got going on his rant, he was more passionate about the social commentary depicted in his paintings, than the actual process of painting. His meek appearance disappeared and he became inflamed and wild eyed...spitting fire at the as he expressed his hatred for the capitalist system, hoping in some way his paintings would be instrumental in "bringing this whole system down!"
I was so inspired by his passion that I wanted to buy his painting right there on the spot. Alex was now a discovered street artist, like Guerilla Artists, Shepard Fairey, JR, and Marco. However, being I was a stranger in a strange land I didn't have the cash on hand, and there was no ATM Machine nearby, I went on a search. When I eventually found one, it had been vandalized (ahem, Gratified) so I couldn't get MY MONEY OUT!!
Inscribed on the ATM Screen was, "We are the 99%!"
So, I guess I wasn't meant to collect this street artist's work at this time. Hopefully I will be able to do this soon before all banks are burned to the ground, and along with them all my money they keep inside.