Thursday, July 12, 2012

Plein Air Typography With a Message

York Blvd., 6x8, plein air, oil on canvas

Left: Circus Liquor, 36x18, plein air, oil on canvas. Right: Jims Burgers, 36x18

Faster Donuts, 30x24, plein air, oil on canvas

Vegas Motel, 30x24,, plein air, oil on canvas. Below: Nascar, 48x30

Alex Schaefers' paintings speak for themselves. They are social commentary. I've included them here for many reasons, but mostly for his use of cultural typography in our landscape. Much of the advertising signage he portrays are from his plein air paintings of Los Angeles where he lives. Schaefer is technically a talented artist and I love his impressionistic take on typography where he only hints at all the nuances of counters, stems, serifs and script.

Fuck the 80s, oil on canvas, 48x36

Overindulgence and Chase: Cabernet Beer Bongs, 36 x 36.

Torch Mob, part of the Burning Protest series.

Schaefers' incendiary paintings from his Burning Protest series portraying banks on fire, were intended as a visual metaphor, but they have prompted much publicity and attention. The LA Weekly reported last Fall that "he was visited not once, but twice, by the LAPD, who asked him, if he 'hates' banks and plans to act out his masterwork." He told the officers that a terrorist would certainly not spend hours on a public sidewalk painting his intended target.
     Controversy has its benefits, as Schaefers' protest paintings of the too-big-to-fail-banks have been much in demand. After the LA Times ran a feature describing the inflammatory Chase: Van Nuys painting below, interest in his work soared. He felt the Van Nuys painting was just "too hot" and decided to float it on the open market: on eBay. He set the auction starting bid at the cost of just a half ounce of the current price of gold, which was $920. In the final 20 minutes of the auction the price doubled, and after a total of 70 bids, it sold for $25,200. Ironically, the only people who could afford to buy his work are the other 1%.
     Alex Schaefer is a former graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. His Burning Protest work is currently on exhibit through July 28th at the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles. Thanks to the Very Short List for bringing his artwork to my attention. ;)  

Chase: Van Nuys, 22x28, plein air, oil on canvas

Chase: Pasadena, 24x18, plein air, oil on canvas

B of A: Eagle Rock, 8 x 6, plein air, oil on canvas

Chase: Ohio, 18x24, oil on canvas

Chase: Venice, 28x22, plein air, oil on canvas

LA Skyline, 24x30, plein air, oil on canvas
8-bit Mona Lisa, 2.0, 36x24, oil on canvas. Part of Schaefer's Master Copies series. It makes me smile :)


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