It’s officially arrived today.
Pow! Wow! Long Beach 2016 is in full swing as some of the world’s leading contemporary artists climb scaffolding, hop on lifts, and draw their weapons of choice—be it a brush or a can of Montana—to attacks walls throughout the city.
And we’ve got your complete guide to this week-long festival of art, music, and awesomeness.
Firstly, let’s talk the art itself (and where you can find it).
Last year’s event in Long Beach? It turned, in the words of some, DTLB into one of SoCal’s finest outdoor museums, etching names James Jean, Tristan Eaton, Nychos, Cryptic, Fafi, Low Bros, Jeff Soto and more to the streets of Long Beach. On walls. For the public to explore.
This year’s slate of artists includes street, graphic, and traditional artists (including Long Beach’s own Yoskay Yamamoto and David Van Patten, pictured right) and, more impressively, a wonderful array of women and duos.
- Aaron Li-Hill (245 The Promenade N): This Toronto native was raised in California but lives in New York and has ancestry in China—making his art one that is culturally captivating and wonderfully hypnotic. Li-Hill has an obsessed with “arresting motion,” where birds are halted mid-flight and creatures stare directly into your eyes.
- Andrew Hem (1208 E Wardlow): The child of Cambodian immigrants, Hem is no stranger to Long Beach—or the horrors that his parents experienced under the Khmer Rouge. His works are somber, their temperatures cool—as if Hem’s environments are perpetually viewed through a blue lens—and incredibly engaging.
- Brendan Monroe (757 Pine Ave): Monroe hails from Oakland and he isn’t just a painter… Sculptor, illustrator, and husband, Monroe’s interpretations of the world are rooted in science then executed through painting and sculpting.
- Cinta Vidal Agulló (2025 E 4th behind Art Theatre): Based in Barcelona, her work plays with geometry and architecture in a way reminiscent of M.C. Escher but with a colorful and playful quality that makes her definitively unique.
- David Van Patten (Broadway & Frontenac Ct): This famed Long Beach artist’s work is prolific. He demonstrates visuals ranging from dreamlike absurdism, psychedelic surrealism, childlike-storybook simplicity, ethical fables, to disturbingly dark humor—and you can find his work on everything from album covers to cider bottles to art galleries.
- DEFER (Seaside Way at Locust Ave.): One of LA’s most respected graffiti artists since the 1980s. Leading the way for future writers, DEFER’s letter-forms create beautifully complex, pattern-like expanses where street meets fine art.
- The Draculas (333 Ocean Blvd.): Pow! Wow! veteran Jeff McMillan and Gary Musgraves are the pair who created the massive entry way for our Beach Streets event in DTLB earlier this year. And now they’re back with their monsters, horror, and fairytale vibe.
- Edwin Ushiro (1208 E Wardlow): This Maui-born, California-raised artist attended the Art Center College of Design and attained a BFA in Illustration. His work, almost always revolving around hypnotic female figures, bounces between graphic-like design and the images of Hawaiian charm and color.
- Ernest Zacharevic (419 E. 6th St.): Zacharevic is that artist where medium comes into question, where his work provokes not just philosophical questions about the state of the world but basic art questions like, “Is that a painting or a sculpture?” Whether its a barrel of monkeys (with a physical barrel embedded into the wall of the mural) or two children racing in shopping carts (where, once again, physical shopping carts are embedded into the wall), Zacharevic is as humorous as he is challenging.
- Felipe Pantone (Broadway & Frontenac Ct; pictured above): Straddling the line between graphical and hand-drawn, typography and graffiti, Felipe’s work “draws on our concerns of the digital age and the speed at which technology is developing, like looking several light years ahead into the future and discovering a new language in which to communicate.”
- Gail Werner (250 Alamitos Ave): Werner’s work reflects the landscape and cultural imagery related to her Native American background. Her tribal affiliation is with the Cupeño, Luiseño, and Kumeyaay tribes located in southern California. Many of the elements found in her work such as color, light, and plant and animal life are influenced by the southern California desert and mountain landscape.
- HITOTZUKI (Broadway & N Waite Ct.): The collaborative name of husband’n’wife team Kami and Sasu, where Kami’s free-flow wavey composition is juxtaposed (and incorporated into) Sasu’s eerily perfected geometric shapes.
- Hula (The Underside of Queens Way Bridge): This Hawaii-grown artist is now based in New York. Self-taught, he travels the world creating paintings which capture the emotions and interactions between the figures and their environment. With each piece, Hula merges his backgrounds in both street and fine art.
- James Haunt (6001 Atlantic Ave): James’ work stems from natural ability, a strong motivation to thrive and self taught techniques. He embodies the collective elements of a free spirited individual mixed with these strong characteristics to develop his unique design style and large-scale mural work.
- Jaime Molina (1st at Alta Dena Way): Molina is an artist based in Denver, Colorado. He makes mixed-media paintings, sculptures and murals that often display a folk art influence. This artist is a multi-talented professional whose aesthetic is well-defined and evokes a ruminative yet dynamic atmosphere.
- KASHINK (2017 E 4th St): Following in the footsteps of Fafi, the other French street artist who appeared in last year’s event in Long Beach, KASHINK paints huge four eyed characters (all male, usually hairy’n’fat), with thick lines, vivid colors, in a very distinctive style–all while wearing a fake mustache.
- MR44 (4321 Atlantic Ave): Born & raised in Los Angeles, with plenty of formative time served in San Francisco, the scope of MR44’s creative output ranges from his personal art in group and solo art exhibitions, custom logo work and original typography for a variety of brands and clients, album cover art for popular musicians like Japanese rapper/producer Shingo2, many iconic and best-selling graphics as the Head Designer for the seminal LA streetwear brand Foreign Family, successful collaborations with pioneering online retailer Digital Gravel, guest artist graphics for a wide range of global brands, and several eye-catching commissioned murals around Los Angeles, notably Beer Belly, in Koreatown, which is almost entirely covered in MR44’s bombastic mural art.
OG Slick (437 Alamitos Ave): Slick is one of the most respected street artists on the West, from the streets of Honolulu to Los Angeles since the mid 1980s. And we’re not just talking graffiti; we’re talking murals, sneaker design, typography, video games…
- OG23 (1st at Alta Dena Way): Combining nearly a decades worth of painting experience, Melbourne artist OG23, is finally dipping his paint covered feet into the professional art world. Fusing precise visual connections, a multifaceted colour palette and design heavy aesthetics, OG23’s work welds an array of influences to produce a body of work, completely of his own.
- Pantónio (Aquarium of the Pacific): Hailing from the Azores Islands of Portugal, he describes his work as “the intuitive drawing movement and fluidity between elements.” Animals, interweaving elements, and high contrasts define his aesthetic.
- Sarah Joncas (757 Pine Ave): This Canadian artist has garnered a name for herself by skipping animation (where she started) and joining the forces of the fine arts, creating images that harness the power of femininity and street smarts.
- Sket One (674 Redondo Ave): Sket is no stranger to Long Beach; you can find murals of his in both the East Village in DTLB and on the front-facing wall of Fine Feathers Kombucha Co. along Long Beach Blvd. at 23rd. Playful, clean, and distinct, his obsessed with toys and fantasies always comes to life in his murals.
- Telmo Miel (1936 E 4th St): Netherlanders Telmo Pieper and Miel Krutzmann are the duo behind Telmo Miel, both of whom create realistic, giant murals with nothing but spray paint. Whether its blow-up pink flamingos or beautiful children, Telmo Miel’s mass-scale murals are captivating.
- Yoskay Yamamoto (1208 E Wardlow): This Japanese-turned-Long Beach native ventured to the US at the age of 15, teaching himself the art of illustration while falling for the urban life of the West Coast. Call his work Japanese American urban pop art.
Now let’s talk the Pow! Wow! Pop-Up Shop in DTLB.
Nestled inside the Edison Theatre (across the street from the Psychic Temple where Broadway meets Waite Court in DTLB), this shop has many offerings that will offer general and hardcore fans alike some unique goodies.
A Montana can of spray paint that is not only this year’s featured color (Blast Orange) but the noted Long Beach Edition? Yup. For only $7.95. Shirts ($28 and up). Snapback hats ($45 and up). Sunglasses ($30 and up). And guides (free).
Now let’s talk The Talks.
There are two Imprint Venture Labs discussions with artists. The one last year with French artist Fafi quickly sold out—and for good reason since it was incredible. Grab tickets fast:
- Imprint Presents a Talk with Martha Cooper and Ernest ZacharevicTuesday, July 12, 7:00pm 8:00pm Art Theatre of Long BeachThis talk with Martha Cooper and Ernest Zacharevic. Hosted by Eugene Kan of Maekan. Located at the Art Theatre of Long Beach, 2025 E 4th Street. Get your tickets at cooperernest.eventbrite.com.
- Imprint presents a Jeff Staple 1-2-1 with Sean “Hula” YoroWednesday, July 13, 7:00pm 8:00pm, Art Theatre of Long BeachImprint presents a Jeff Staple 1-2-1 with Sean “Hula” Yoro. Music performances by the POW! WOW! School of Music. Located at the Art Theatre of Long Beach, 2025 E 4th Street. Get your tickets at 121hula.eventbrite.com.
The Long Beach Museum of Art plans to knock it out of this world (again).
LBMA’s Vitality & Verve exhibition last year marked a major turning point in Long Beach’s museum scene: it was wildly popular. As in the most popular exhibition in the museum’s (and the city’s) history. In Vitality & Verve: The Third Dimension, set to premiere Friday, July 15, 2016 at 7PM, this new exhibit—a partnership between LBMA, Thinkspace Gallery, and Pow! Wow!—will show off some of street art’s leading artists. Get your tickets for the opening event now at www.lbma.org.
For more information, visit www.powwowlongbeach.com