by Worldchanging LA local blogger, Eliza Thomas:
Look up in the sky: it’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… billboard. I work in Hollywood, where the cityscape is as congested with sky-high product placement as the streets are with traffic. In fact, as I type this, I’m contemplating the view from my tenth floor office on Sunset and Vine, on a gray day rendered even more murky by the colossal advertisements swathing our building. As if it isn’t bad enough to work in a hermetically-sealed steel tower where the windows don’t open, this week, we’re peering West through the gloomy glaze of an Addidas ad.
Which is why the discovery of ECO-LA’s driveby art gallery brings me so much joy. Officially opening on Earth Day, the exhibit, “Off the Wall 3,” will feature original paintings on reclaimed vinyl billboards. These 14’ by 48’ works of art will display both inside ECO-LA’s Gallery, and outside on the buildings exterior. But curator and founder Peter Schulberg is most stoked by the space LA billboard owners have donated — five billboards in choice spots around the city on which he’ll display several of the pieces during the months of April and May, before the paintings are taken down and sold to art lovers in a “Back to Earth” event at the gallery.
“Once again ECO-LA is working with cutting edge artists to turn dead ads and the staid gallery world inside out,” trumpets Schulberg. “I asked artists to work for nothing on this weird new material for the opportunity to have their work exhibited, hostage to the heat wind, rain, and a kid with a paintball gun. But the artists, some who sell for thousands of dollars, came and keep coming.”
According to traffic data, the outdoor billboards can expect the attention of 250,000 motorists a day. That’s a whopping 62 times more visitors than frequent the Getty Museum each day — or in other words, unprecedented exposure for the artists involved. Add to that the fact that the exhibit is diverting approximately 10,000 square feet of PVC vinyl from local landfills, and that’s billboard promotion you can feel good about.
Schulberg’s hopes for the future of this eco art experiment involve making ECO-LA a nonprofit, bringing “killed” billboards to public schools as free mural-material for inner city kids. “It’s a green win-win whose time has come,” he says.
Dear Worldchanging local LA blogger,
Thanks for your enthusiasm about the OFF THE WALL 3 recycled billboard art event. Just want to make one rather serious correction-- the opening is EARTH DAY EVE, Sat April 21st, not Earth Day, which is a Sunday.
SAT APRIL 21, 6-11PM 4829 WEST PICO, 90019 JUST EAST OF LA BREA. INFO; ECO-LOGICALART.ORG
THANKS, Peter Schulberg