Billboards Become a Quintessential Los Angeles Public Art Display This December

A group calling themselves The Billboard Creative wanted to give artists a way to display their art. Based in Los Angeles, they saw the numerous billboards around the city, many of them unused and dilapidated, as a solution. With this in mind, they put out a call to artists who, after submitting a $26 entry fee, would be considered by the curator to be included in the project. In its inaugural project last year, 15 billboards displayed art from a variety of mediums, with this year’s program more than doubling.

As TBC notes, the billboard is a “quintessential Los Angeles medium.” They have become iconic symbols as well-known as the starlets and rock stars that often adorn them. In 1982, a 70-foot plywood cutout of the Marlboro Man was installed on the famed Sunset Boulevard. For 17 years he was more art than advertisement, seemingly rising from the ground over a city that was far from his natural habitat of the plains of Texas. Yet like many Los Angeles transplants, he learned to belong, becoming larger than life and part of the city’s legend.

Even as advertisements, Los Angeles’ billboards tell the story of the city. Two years after the Marlboro Man moved in, a large number of billboards with a scantily clad buxom woman with Dolly Parton platinum blonde hair began popping up around the city. Only Angelyne’s name and phone number shared the remaining space. Like the city she drove around, in a very visible pink Corvette, she became an iconic symbol of mystery and fame, her image the only product being sold. Her billboards have joined the Marlboro Man and many others in the city’s folklore, as well as in numerous LA sequences in TV and movies.

The Billboard Creative wants to capitalize on Los Angeles’ love of billboards, but to use them to inspire passersby to enjoy the beauty instead of buying a product. This year’s curator is artist Mona Kuhn. Her “large-scale dreamlike images of the human form” have been displayed in galleries around the world. When describing her curation this year, she noted another LA famed characteristic saying, “I want to stop traffic with art.”

The collection of 33 billboards will be scattered across the city from Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles to east of Silver Lake on Glendale Boulevard. The artists are a range of established and emerging from across the globe, many with a connection to Los Angeles. The pieces are as eclectic as the city, ranging from the natural and intimate, to the avant-garde and political. Their large scale original art will be displayed in high trafficked areas where as many as ten thousand commuters will see them daily.

TBC uses the nominal entry fees to pay for the billboards, which cost much less during “off peak” times such as winter and early spring. The artists will also be included on TBC’s website, and will expand the artists’ exposure through the use of the public art app ArtMoi, which allows users to locate public art anywhere in the world. As of Friday, December 4, all billboards have been put up with the exhibition continuing throughout the month of December.

Photo Credit: 2014 Billboard by artist Lisa Adams, photo by The Billboard Collective

36 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Michael Friedman

Thank You!!

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Kamia T.
Kamia T3 years ago

Los Angeles has always been an amazing place for muralists and extreme billboards. Glad to see that one artistic part of it hasn't changed.

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M Quann
M Q3 years ago

Thank you.

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Nina S.
Nina S3 years ago

:)

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Hamburger Moscovici

Great concept LA!

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Wendy Johnson-Niblick

This sounds really promising, I will definitely try to get to Los Angeles for a look, while the project is taking place.

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Magdalen B.
Magdalen B3 years ago

"from a variety of mediums" Madam Arcati etc? (sigh)

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Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Beautify our environment

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Debbi -.
Debbi -3 years ago

Great idea. I love it.

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