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Art Whino Blog

How & Nosm, German Graffiti Wonder Twins, Paint the L.A. Weekly Building

Monday, February 20, 2012

Shannon Cottrell
For more photos check out our slideshow, How + Nosm Paint the L.A. Weekly Building

The L.A. Weekly celebrated Valentine's Day 2012 like no one else could, with a new red, black and white façade painted by artists Raoul and Davide Perre, known as How & Nosm.

In October, during our interview with How & Nosm about their show at Known Gallery, we half-jokingly asked if they'd want to paint the L.A. Weekly building, but we never imagined they'd say yes and actually set a date. The concept is, loosely, "messages in a bottle," representing perhaps those the newspaper delivers every week, yet conveyed via familiar surrealist How & Nosm imagery: fish, hands, faces, hearts and brains, plus secret visuals we may never decipher.

Shannon Cottrell
​The final work is a series of colorful bottles, some of which incorporate the windows of the building. This way, the L.A. Weekly staff becomes part of the art just by sitting at their desks.

The bottles are floating in a background that morphs from pink and red diamond shapes on the left side of the piece to organic gray waves meant to signify the L.A. River on the right.

To get a full view of the building, brave the traffic exiting the 405 by stepping across the street, and you'll see that the bottles become one huge, building-sized bottle, spilling a nefarious red liquid onto the street. (We would like to think it represents our blood, sweat and tears, but that would be up for interpretation.)

Shannon Cottrell
​ Originally, when photos and measurements of the building were sent to them, the brothers realized they would be painting over their colleague Ben Eine's 2011 "graffiti crossword" piece, which previously occupied the facade. In the world of graffiti and street art, "going over" someone is not OK. But after a discussion among the three artists at Art Basel in Miami, L.A. Weekly received Eine's official sanction via email: "With regard to the outside of L.A. Weekly I couldn't think of two people I would like to repaint the outside of your building more than Nosm and How, I know they will do an amazing job."

Shannon Cottrell
​ The mural, How & Nosm's eighth mural in L.A., took almost a week to complete, a process that included a day of rain, a broken window and some wayward eggs thrown by a motel resident (yes, boom lifts are loud at 8 in the morning).

This is their third wall for 2012 -- on their way to a self-imposed goal of painting 100 murals a year -- and they will finish another here before they leave for New York at the end of the month. They've also just come off the successful "BoneYard Project" at the Pima Art and Space Museum in Tuscon, featuring their painted World War II-era 737, and their already packed schedule includes a summer trip to Milan and a huge project in Prague in the fall.

Shannon Cottrell
​ 33third Los Angeles, the paint store/gallery, and Montana Paint, the paint manufacturer, generously contributed the paint and filmed the process from start to finish. See the trailer for the film below and stay tuned for the finished version in March.

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