Vyal... the Reed,
Writers: Saber, Gzer, Revok, Mears, Cr8, Retna, Cab , Gin, Zes and Glow
Photographers: Eric Poppleton, Curtis McElhinney
Originally commissioned for the 10th International Biennale of Architecture, Venice, Italy, 2006, A Night View of Los Angeles is Helen K. Garber's 360-degree panorama of the entire city of Los Angeles as seen from the helipad of the US Bank Tower. The print for the Biennale was printed with solvent ink on one piece of 5’6” x 40 foot stretched silk. 140,000 people attended the 3-month long fair.
This print of A Night View of Los Angeles was exhibited for the first time, outside at the front entrance of the 16th International Art Exposition, Photo LA at the Santa Monica Civic in January 2007.
It had to be printed on banner vinyl and fastened through grommets to a 40 foot outdoor concert lighting truss to allow it to be windproof and waterproof, and no threat to the 10,000 attendees of the fair. It made for a much less elegant installation than the back lighted, stretched silk indoor exhibit at the Venice Biennale, but still impressive enough for Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa to give Helen a commendation for the beautiful rendition of the city.
The view of the city was a huge technical achievement, pushing the available software at the time, but Helen felt that all the computer work drained the energy and emotion of the piece. She felt that the human touch was needed and invited the top graffiti artists in the city to use her print as a surface to ceremoniously tag the entire city at once. Create a unique, historical, multi-media piece that would create collaboration between the most renowned graffiti writers in the city with an international renowned photograph. A 40 foot one at that.
Helen K. Garber, an urbanist, feels a camaraderie with graffiti writers as she and they roam the city at night while sometimes forsaking their physical safety, to use the urban landscape to create their art. She partnered with DuceOneX, renowned graffiti writer, to design the collaboration and invite important writers to her studio to lay down their tags without obscuring the important landmarks that she painstakingly rendered.
Most residents do not understand the difference between graffiti writing and territorial tagging and consider it all urban blight. And while Helen doesn't condone uninvited graffiti, she views it no worse than billboards, electric wires and thoughtless urban development such as fortress indoor shopping malls, dingbat apartments and McMansions created with lots of money but no aesthetic sense.
Imagine how more beautiful our city can be if art programs were re-introduced to the public school system with perhaps even classes devoted to the appreciation of the urban landscape. That way our future graffiti artists as well as the future property owners and developers will be able to consider design and aesthetics when they create something that will be visible to the community,
A Night View Collaboration was first exhibited on the Westminster School Fence at the Venice Art Walk in 2007, Gallery Skart, Santa Monica, 2009, the Pico Art Walk, 2009 and FADA Los Angeles Art Show, 2010 at the Convention Center, downtown Los Angeles. It is looking for a permanent home in a Los Angeles Regional Museum.