Educated on the streets of Los Angeles, graffiti artist Mear One is a self-taught painter, designer and sculptor with a professional art career that spans over fifteen years. The artist’s philosophy is clear in his name, which is an acronym meaning Manifest Energy And Radiate. His art speaks to a higher form of language, encouraging people to raise their social and political consciousness through creativity.
On July 14, 1939, Alphonse Mucha, the most famous artist of the Art Nouveau period, drew his last breath in Prague. On July 14, 2010, prolific L.A. street artist MEAR ONE, power washed a two-story wall off of 6th Street and La Brea Avenue, preparing it for a major live art installation of a mural he was about to embark upon, honoring the neighborhood of his youth, and two of his most treasured inspirations.
Centuries apart the two never met, yet somehow a serendipitous collaboration was underway. Without knowing, MEAR ONE had just begun to prep for a mural, beginning on the day Mucha died and was to finish 5 days after the world (and Google) celebrated his 150th birth anniversary. Alphonse must have been following MEAR’s work for a while, and without his knowledge cosmically “commissioned” him to do so.
On July 13th, 2010 in the city recognized as the “Mural Capital of the World,” a public hearing was taking place at L.A. City Hall, hoping to stop a motion that mistakenly placed fine art murals in the same category as super graphics and advertising signs. (For more on this issue, click here).
The very next day a temporary motion was declared stating, “The City Council requests the Department of Building and Safety and the Planning Department to cease from issuing citations or notices relative to compliance with murals and signs ordinances until the City has established a permitting process for fine art murals on private property.” This motion expires on July 13, 2012.
Not knowing it was the eve of his birth anniversary, someone involved in the collaboration logged onto Google and noticed one that looked like Mucha designed it had replaced the traditional logo, which was true; that is the moment synchronicity between the artist and his inspiration was revealed. She immediately called MEAR who was in the midst of doing a live art installation in San Diego. He had no idea his 150th was the following day, July 24, and was completely blown away by this epiphany. Through a series of coincidences this came to be during the same time frame of Alphonse Mucha’s entry into and departure from physical life.
MEAR, who started painting when he was 3, set out to create a mural vibing his memories and the uniqueness of the Mid City West artists, galleries, museums and many vintage and antique stores.
Alphonse Mucha dedicated his career to painting images of beauty. MEAR, inspired by this dedication achieved his personal goal by paying homage to one of his biggest inspirations. He was not paid to do this mural, and although he made it look easy, it was extremely difficult, yet he accomplished this masterpiece like nothing ever seen before. Around 7:00pm, on July 29,
2010, under blue skies the final spray was made. It was in memory of his beloved mother Vicky, his greatest inspiration; she was also an artist and those who were there would most likely be in agreement that she gave her son a helping hand.
On November 20th, 2010 MEAR ONE & Bryson Strauss of Vox Humana joined us at The Loft at Liz’s for a discussion on the Alphonse Mucha project, MEAR’s previous works and the current state
of the laws in Los Angeles as they pertain to public murals.