Look, up in the sky, it’s art!


I’ve been pretty excited to see that one of my favorite street artists has recently been hitting up our fair city. You may have seen these hanging arrow mobiles before, and if you’ve ever wondered, they’re the work of Above. Not to be confused with the shoe tossing of Skewville, also visible in a few spots around town. So far, most of what I’ve seen has been in the Melrose/LaBrea (La Brea/Waring, Beverly/Detroit, Sunset/Fairfax, Santa Monica/Detroit) area but if he’s still in town you can be sure they’ll pop up in more spots. I’m dying to know how he got up at Sunset/Fairfax.

15 Replies to “Look, up in the sky, it’s art!”

  1. I absolutely hate that shit. Because when I’m walking down my neighborhood, I do not need to be reminded that maybe there’s a crackhouse next to me. And it was interesting as “art” the first time it was done, but c’mon, stop biting and think of another way to be creative.

  2. I cannot for the life of me understand how little arrow mobiles equate to crackhouse… nope. can’t. I think you’re safe though bill – rich white people prefer to slum it in the dregs of east los, or echo park when they wanna buy their crack – they usually keep the dirty work far away from them.

    as far as your frustration with the lack of originality you see in this work, Shep Fairey has put up over a million OBEY pieces across the country. As a matter of fact, urban saturation is the largest component of the art. That’s a whole other discussion though.

    I dig it! Keep it up…

  3. Steve, items placed upon telephone lines very often act as signifiers of a place to buy drugs, a la Bill’s crackhouse comment.

  4. >And it was interesting as “art” the first time it was done, but
    >c’mon, stop biting and think of another way to be creative.

    Sorry you’re not into it, Bill. But I’d be interested to know who exactly you believe Above is biting? I don’t know of a whole lot of street artists that hang things on telephone wires. The only comparable thing I can think of is Skewville, which is significantly different.

    >items placed upon telephone lines very often act as signifiers of a place to buy drugs, a la Bill’s crackhouse comment.

    My “urban myth” alarm is going off all over the place here. You’re probably thinking of the old “sneakers over the telephone wire” thing (which is what Skewville is referencing):

    http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/factoids/a/sneakers.htm
    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_274.html
    http://www.snopes.com/crime/gangs/sneakers.htm

  5. And while we are on the subject why the hell doesn’t someone fix all these cracks in the sidewalk? I’m going out my my mind trying to avoid breaking my mothers back by accidentally stepping on one of them. I’m also in the market to get some kind of back-slappage protector so I can make funny faces at people without fear of someone slapping me on the back and my face staying that way for ever. FOR EVER!!!

  6. Well, i was just going off of how it was explained to me by my girlfriend, who has lived in k-town all her life and grew up very adjacent to much of that scene.

  7. Ok, how is littering clip art around the city art? Missing the point on this one… Explain? What high brow moral insight does the arrow represent? Is it some weird kind of “up with people” revival schtick or just a warning to make sure you pay attention to the pigeons so they don’t crap on your hat?

  8. >What high brow moral insight does the arrow represent?

    Well, if you’re the sort that demands a high brow moral insight from your art then I suppose this probably wouldn’t fit the bill. I find it aesthetically pleasing and I like the sentiments that he communicates (in the case of these photos, “Rise Above”). I suppose you could argue that they’re thought provoking, both in terms of the use of public space and the technicalities of how the pieces are created, but I prefer to leave the in depth arguments about what makes art “Art” to the academics. Really I just think they look cool.

  9. Ok, well I think of Black Flag every time the words Rise Above are spoken together so it fails on that level. The use of VH1 pop-up video color palates on a clip art arrow also throws my perspective in the gutter. And if he want’s to hang shit around LA he should hang some Vanillaromas since I hate those damn pine tree air freshners… Now THAT would be art! That would be fucking Repo-Art! And it would help with the fart smell that always lingers over LA.

    “You find one in every town.”

  10. Craig – I’ve lived in “that scene” in los angeles for five years. And I’ve been around “that scene” my entire life… and I have never experienced crackhouses using shoes on a telephone wire as an ‘open for business’ sign. Other things sometimes, but i have never heard of this. I have, however seen a lot of little kids throwing shoes on a telephone line for fun(?) or out of bordeom or because their brother/friend kicked their ass at Mortal Kombat and that was retaliation… Whether or not some crack houses have used the shoe thing, i think it’s dangerous and irresponsible to think of it as a universal thing because it’s just another way to criminalize a something that overwhelmingly belongs to “that scene” (like sagging pants or kids wearing LA Dodgers hats… sure some thugs do it, but if every ETG crip in Watts used Lever2000 bodywash would the smell of Lever all of the sudden be a gang symbol?).
    As far as this being art, it’s art. Dont like it? Meh. Fine. But don’t tell the rest of us what is or is not art. Above also has some graff (which can be seen in this month’s issue of DISTINCTIV)… Personally I would rather have this “clip art” tattooed onto my eyeballs than stand around the Norton Simon or the Getty all day gawking at dead art (please, spare me your criticism because of your adoration for those places – this is just my opinion and I *KNOW* that you dont agree…)

  11. yeah, i was wrong to term it that way when i wrote it down, i apologize steve.

    i was just repeating what i heard. urban legend or no, i know many people view it that way, at the very least.

  12. one of these is hanging outside of my office on the corner of franklin and lake in downtown chicago. it does look pretty cool and i see a lot of people taking it in.

  13. well, an awful lot of the discussion above seems to come down to what is, and what isn’t art. Leaving that discussion aside, I hope, I would only comment that living in Europe we just haven’t been exposed to such a wide array of street art yet. Fairly unusually, it is something that just has not yet caught on as much. We do have tile UFOs pasted on our walls, but as yet no telephone line installations or similar that I have seen. Why could this be? Is it related to a greater ease of getting people to view your work here, no need to go underground? Are there other means of expression?

    at dispatx art collective we’d be more than happy to have street art listed …

  14. Dispatx, I’m surprised to hear you say that as Europe has an extremely vibrant street art scene. In fact, Above started out working in France (though he is American). I urge you to check out Wooster Collective (http://www.woostercollective.com), as they profile a lot of international street artists and you may be surprised to discover what you’re missing.

Comments are closed.