PeopleForBikes.Org first approached Rabbit Content with the concept of a stationary bicycle that would sit alone on the street. A curious passerby would then take the initiative and jump on, starting to pedal. Massive art murals would descend from rooftops and cover buildings as the wheels began to spin - painting scenes of natural life coupled with urban renewal.
Rabbit Content and Black Swan immediately saw an element that needed adjustment. Biking is a celebration of movement, freedom, exploration and exercise. Immediately the process shifted to a biker in motion. Stationary murals transformed to moving pieces of art that would manifest as the bike passed locations. With a spark of brilliance an idea was born: live light projection as the art.
To show the diversity of bike riding culture the single rider became three riders: a daily commuter, a casual rider and BMX riders. Peopleforbikes.org was pleasantly surprised at this iteration of their ideal and the proverbial wheels starting moving for Black Swan director Nick Losq and Rabbit Content co-director Trevor McMahan.
Animation that bordered on whimsical, innocent and fun became a foundation that the final product was built on. Brian Gossett, an artist whose touch meshed well with Nick and Trevor's vision, was brought in to illustrate the elements. Under the guidance of design director Bradley Munkowitz, the unique characters began to fit into the theme of renewal: flora and fauna that would provide a stark and bright contrast to the dark and empty concrete jungle.
By building on bicycle elements (gears, pedals, handlebars, etc…) the natural elements began to take a unique shape that personified the mission. Black Swan then began the process of breathing life into these elements through animation. Landscapes were created that would serve to show a lasting and immediate change in the urban environment, as well as the generation of a convergence point where all the varied elements would coalesce into a livable space.
Keeping with the theme of nature, a park seemed to be the obvious choice as it combined the elements of lighting and concrete of an urban environment with hills, grass, blooming sunlight and a calm stream. Key to the process of execution was live testing on tech scouts. Black Swan hit the streets to scout the perfect locations in downtown Los Angeles. With some test animation the projection height, width and brightness were measured and adjusted per the initial animation tests.
In order to manifest one of the most important aspects of peopleforbikes.org, COMMUNITY, Rabbit and Black Swan set up a celebration at the point of convergence for the hero bike riders. Armed with a cadre of DJs and L.A.'s famous Koji BBQ truck, the team managed to swing a sizable crowd to witness, live, the projections that had been painstakingly put together to meet the expectations of the client.
Two long nights of shoots followed. With the collaboration of DPs Jackson+Karinja (another part of the Rabbit team), Nick and Trevor took over the streets of downtown. Fluidly moving with the bikers, they captured the fun and free spirit of the ride from the backs of vans, skateboards and free-hand Segways.
"The altruistic aspect of this job really motivated us to do great work above and beyond. Additionally, exercising our post muscles in the pre-production stage for live animation projections on shoot day was an exciting experience that, we feel, turned out to be a great success. Seeing the reactions of the gathered crowd during the shoot and watching the final project really makes me proud to be a part of this." - Nick Losq.
At the age of 15, he first started taking pictures with a 35mm camera. He was amazed by the results when he put the film in the enlarger. Gregory Bojorquez quickly became compulsive about finding new subjects for his photography. At a young age, Greg started taking pictures of homeless people. "For some reason I started doing that... Why? Because I was afraid of them; they intimidated me, maybe that is why I did it."
Gregory grew up running around all over the Eastside of Los Angeles. His perspective on growing up on the Eastside of the river is that "there is much more of a sense of community, the people know each other". He admits that amongst the hard-working blue-collar crowd, it has sometimes been difficult for Gregory get others to understand his desire to turn photography into a career. But he didn't resist his calling. When Greg wasn't in the streets you could find him in the library looking a picture books. He enjoyed looking at the work of his role models: Annie Leibowitz, Bruce Davidson, Danny Lyon, Marie Ellen Mark and Diane Arbus. Inspired by their ability to turn photography into an art form and a career, Greg was determined.
Gregory started to develop his eye by doing lookbook shoots for young designers in Downtown LA, party pictures at concerts and other random jobs. Like many photographers, his camera is an extension of himself, and he is always taking pictures. And so it came to be that because of one photo he took at a late night party in East Los Angeles, he knew what his big project was going to be. Greg's focus is a photo project focused on the lifestyles of the residents of East LA, and because he's a native to the area, you get a front-row seat through his lens.
Wherever they go, they try to make something that makes sense for the neighborhood, and the community. And they always make something positive, something the artists hope people can enjoy -- regardless of whether life has greeted them with great fortune. Armed with a vision and their cans of spray paint, El Mac and Retna will transform a forgotten wall into a piece of art.
El Mac and Retna are street artists, born in LA. They use building walls as blank canvases for their imagery, and the duo has collaborated to create murals all over the world. El Mac and Renta have very different styles, and have been collaborating the last few years. They combine their artistic forces in a specific way: El Mac creates huge lifelike portraits and Retna, calligraphic brushwork and decoration. The result is striking imagery that is unique and recognizable as theirs. It's not uncommon for street art fans and documentarians to gather to watch the progression of an El Mac and Retna work in progress.
El Mac and Retna art feels appropriate for the street because the artists themselves embrace the city streets, the different neighborhoods, and the blend of cultures and backgrounds of the people that fill them. Street art, including the work of El Mac and Retna, also reflects a new attitude about accessibility to art in our environments. "Why not see all the walls painted," says Retna. "Let the Arts Roam!"
Created by Joris Debeij & Terence Loos. Music by The Pilots
jorisdebeij.com - terenceloos.com - thepilots.nl