Venice Beach: Rhetorical Mecca

Just off the skate park in Venice Beach, a few yards away from the boardwalk roller bladers, snake charmers, and sunburned hippies selling bundles of white sage, a group of graffiti artists quietly works. Every day, the cement wall –the last remnant of the Venice Beach Graffiti Pit–is covered with tags, portraits, and large-scale collaborative works of art. Early the next morning, a new group of artists begins again. They cover the previous day’s designs, responding to the wall’s patterns, images, and textures, and challenging the next day’s artists in a visual call and response. I visited the beach to catch a sunset with my sister and her husband during my LA trip this weekend. While we watched the artists work, my sister mused aloud, “I wonder how large that wall will eventually become.” She was referring to the layers and layers of paint literally making the monument grow. Later, I did a few online searches for the pit and found that the area has been somewhat immortalized in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 video game, spreading its influence even further.A few loyal photographers cover the evolution of art on the wall of the graffiti pit. Here’s a link to one. (You can also easily find footage on YouTube.)

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