For months you pass a favorite piece of public art. Each day you gaze upon the bright colors, interactive invitations and whimsical reminiscences. At the moment when you realize that you could not live with out this simple, yet gripping interaction—the artwork is gone. Though sad, it is also exciting knowing that new and fresh art is on its way.
With bumblebeeloveyou‘s whimsical cutie-catcher a faint memory and the colorful dust of Morley‘s interactive chalkboard still collecting on the vilalge streets, Los Angeles street artist Annie Preece found herself in the Carlsbad Village, a seaside community leaning towards the conservative side when it comes to art imagery.
Annie’s art breaks down the door and stampedes in the opposite direction of what Carlsbad is accustom to. In 2012, Annie was aggressively asked to censor a mural or be fined and sent to jail. For the following years, she responded by scattering Los Angeles with vomiting unicorns, brash combinations of text and squeamish eroticas.
Rather than attempt to harness Annie and her uncontrollable creativity, project director Bryan Snyder offered the wall as an unrestricted blank canvas available for Annie to paint as she wanted.
“I curate each wall-artist for with experiences in mind,” Snyder said. “bumblebeelovesyou brought a whimsical and easy-to-digest mural while Morley introduced a more cerebral interactive experience. With the 3rd artist, I was looking for a discussion piece—something edgy.”
Annie immediately began to encourage discussion among the spectating crowd. Onlookers watched as Annie, cigarette in hand and a cup of iced coffee or canned energy drink always near, stroked the outlines of her design. Her skilled spraycan technique filled in colors with precise cuts and feathering blends. Annie created visible rues with each spray either bringing the image closer to you or pushing the wall away.
Intertwining tentacles and an elephant with a human body tangled in balloons emerged. Each patch of color carefully deceived the eye with skillful blending and carefully placed highlights. This optical illusion impressed the onlookers and the imagery confused. Passersby attempted to title the piece and others hypothesized underlying messaging.
Annie’s art is collected by fans from all over the globe. The fans within driving distance eagerly visited Carlsbad at this rare chance of meeting the established artist who is also a quasi celebrity fresh off her appearance on the inaugural realty television show titled Street Art Throwdown. A friend and fan caught wind of Annie’s visit to Carlsbad and showed up in a helicopter to snap a photo.
Annie only rested for photo opportunities. She painted 13 hours straight the first day and and continued first thing the following morning. Her infrequent pauses were just long enough to light a smoke, scarf down a country fried chicken burrito and gulp caffeine. The rest of the time she was nose engulfed in paint fumes, ears muffled under headphones and eyes focused on the wall.
Conservative for Annie, but edgy for Carlsbad, the Carlsbad Art Wall’s newest mural is just the right balance of right and wrong. It ruffles the feathers of the old timers who don’t want to see change and it grabs the ass of those seeking something fresh, edgy and progressive—something worth talking about.