The other day, we were driving down Melrose on our way—admittedly—to the Christmas-ed out Grove (mainly to get a laptop repaired but also to see their nightly fake snow show) and we drove past a surprisingly familiar site—work by Brooklyn-based artist Juan Miguel Marin. The surprising part was that it was in gigantic form, splayed across a billboard thousands of miles away from the artist’s home.
We know Juan through his band, LEGS, who we’ve been fans of since we first heard them last year. We interviewed Juan about the band and their debut LP earlier this year and were well-aware that he was a visual artists but were nonetheless shocked to see his work roadside in Los Angeles.
Turns out, Juan was one an elite group of 33 artists chosen to be part of a city-wide, billboard-based art show in the form of The Billboard Creative, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that takes unused and remnant billboards and turns them into public art.
Starting with a single billboard by LACMA in 2012, this most recent iteration and second city-wide project debuted on December 1st with 33 billboards across the city from 33 different artists, doubling the inaugural outing. Curated by photographer Mona Kuhn, the show is described as “public art, displayed in a quintessential Los Angeles medium.”
As TBC puts it:
“The Billboard Creative is the antidote to the inbox-choking, often empty and expensive pitches from art expos and pay-for-play venues. We’ve participated in many fee-based programs and competitions. Some of them were great; some less so. (Look up Alan Bamberger’s article in artbusiness.com on whether or not art competitions will help your career.) But the bottom line is that many competitions are more about making money than making art. We understand this – everyone has to make a living, but it inspired us to create a program that actually is all about the art. Our goal is to get new, interesting, innovative artwork of all mediums in front of people, lots of people, and for considerably less cost to the artist.”
We’ve loved Juan’s work since we first saw it, comprising intricate, hand-drawn lines that, together, form abstract, movement-filled shapes. The work in and of itself is compelling enough, but, for us—people who spend most work hours in front of a computer screen—the process appealed to us too; as he puts it on his site, “a study in a meditative process of sentient creation, each piece representing part of the artist’s past or envisioned future.”
In addition to the billboard, which is only up until the end of this month (i.e. – two more days), Juan recently told us about a new piece he recently completed—”Untitled 3″, pictured above and below. Juan has a limited, numbered edition of 50 prints, framed + unframed, available for sale via his website.