Suspended Motion (MONCHO1929 & Steven Reigns)

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Suspended Motion 2

SUSPENDED MOTION

City Hall Community Plaza, 2016

Three vinyl art banners, each measuring 8.5 x 22.9 feet, hang in the City Hall Community Plaza, located between the City Hall Automated Parking Structure and City Hall. The artwork, a unique collaboration between Steven Reigns, City Poet 2014-16, and local artist MONCHO1929, touches on the duality of a frozen moment in time and hints at personal and community ideals related to freedom and motion. The colors, images, text and scale of the artworks exist in harmony and speak to the viewer and space.

A key phrase from Reigns' poem “Morning, West Hollywood” is incorporated into the painting’s background:

            Everyday we wake up, a brilliant and creative people

            in a beautiful city, our past and present

            intersecting, illuminated, full of promise

            and possibility.

The birds are intended to symbolize freedom, hope, celebration, action and movement. While open to interpretation by the viewer, the images give a platform and space for a dialogue between the art and the viewer to continue.

The sparrow symbolizes vigilance, joy, creativity and wisdom. Sparrows are small in size but extremely protective, especially as a clan. Sparrows are constantly building nests, foraging for food and protecting their young. They serve as a reminder that busy hands and minds promote a happy and full life. This touches upon the spirit of the city and its vibrancy and creativity.

The image of the hummingbird represents a sense of wonder and beauty. The hummingbird is also seen by some cultures as a healing symbol that helps people focus on the positive aspect of life. This speaks to the nature of the city in protecting and nurturing the community.

Parakeets are not native to this region but have made this area their home. Symbolically this harkens to the City which is made up of many diverse people from near and far who continually add to the growth and culture of West Hollywood.

A full version of Steven Reign’s “Morning, West Hollywood” follows:

Morning, West Hollywood

The sun rises at 6:16 a.m.

moves morning along La Brea Boulevard

overtaking last night’s marquee lights at the Gateway,

past the Formosa Café where the ghosts

of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford still dine.

 

Day moves west to where Russian Jews settled

en masse to escape Nazism and Fascism,

when Hollywood didn’t offer complete freedom. 

Light arcs over bakeries and grocers

selling babka, bagels, baba ghanoush.

Signs reveal another alphabet,

a melting pot of generations and cultures.

 

Then sunrise finds The Sunset Strip,

the reverberation still sounding

from rock concerts and nightclubs,

glimmers off the blue pole billboard.

 

At Plummer Park, old men will play chess

to pass the day. Residents recall the beginning

of the plague before AIDS Project Los Angeles and Being Alive

stepped in to offer healing and hope.

 

At Westbourne Drive, a rainbow flag catches

the morning breeze, flaps alongside

symbols for our city and state.

At San Vicente, brightly colored crosswalks

remind with every step that diversity matters,

isn’t just tolerated but is honored.

 

The sun warms the library, the Design Centers,  

the Recovery Center, the Melrose galleries, and the Troubadour

where Joni, Janis, and James all played.

Sun moves past Doheny toward the Pacific.

 

Everyday we wake up, a brilliant and creative people

in a beautiful city, our past and present

intersecting, illuminated, full of promise

and possibility.

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

MONCHO1929 is a New York City native known for his iconic animal-inspired street art. Grounded in issues of social justice, animal rights and the energy of the street, MONCHO1929 portrays a sense of urgency in his subjects who are always hand painted and presented in a black and white palette. Arguably, his signature mark is recognized as a background of bold colorful brush strokes with exaggerated drip marks that simply defy gravity. While beautiful, MONCHO1929’s works offer a glimpse of a fleeting moment of fear, frustration, escape and freedom. They also have a strong social commentary on survival, preservation and awareness. The artist currently lives and works in West Hollywood.  http://www.moncho1929.com/

Steven Reigns is a Los Angeles-based poet, educator, and was appointed the first City Poet of West Hollywood in October of 2014. Alongside over a dozen chapbooks, he has published the collections Inheritance (Sibling Rivalry, 2011) and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat (Burning Page Press, 2001). He holds a BA in Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, and is a six-time recipient of The Los Angeles County's Department of Cultural Affairs' Artist in Residency Grant. He edited My Life is Poetry, featuring his students in the first-ever autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBT seniors, and has taught writing workshops around the country to LGBT youth and people living with HIV. Currently he is touring The Gay Rub, an exhibition of rubbings from LGBT landmarks, and is at work on a new collection of poetry. Visit him at www.stevenreigns.com

City Hall Community Plaza Banners

Suspended Motion 3

Suspended Motion 1