The materials on this website may not be reproduced in print or any other media without written permission.

Contact Tom Kracauer with any comments, inquiries, or requests.

© 2021

Life Magazine, July 17, 1970, pp.62–63

Street Art: A New Way to Paint the Town

Imagination and a lot of color enliven city walls.

Until recently, the most that the blank brick walls of factories and tenements in our major cities could offer by way of stimulation was crude advertisements or even cruder graffiti. But lately a number of imaginative young artists with a yen to paint big have been transforming these surfaces into gigantic canvases. Helped out at times by professional sign painters, they have gone aloft on shaky scaffolds from New York to Los Angeles to create vast expanses of dazzling color in some of the dreariest sections of town. Bemused but generally delighted local residents can now take their choice of abstract-art parking lots, signed original tenement facades, or back-alley Black Power murals.

Caption: "It's become the center of the community," says a member of the Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad of the group's ingenious trompe l'oeil street scene in the city's Venice section. "People really freak out when they see it."