Photos by Asia Morris.
That mural recently painted on the exterior of The Stache Bar that you thought might have been related to POW! WOW! Long Beach was actually an entirely independent operation.
Designed and painted by roughly 15 members of FA4 Collective, a Long Beach-based group of working artists composed of Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) alumni, Long Beach and Southern California residents, the project was co-coordinated by facilitators Cynthia Luján and Ciana Lee. Lujan’s coworker at the Arts Council for Long Beach, fellow CSULB alumna and artist, Lisa DeSmidt, who owns the bar, collaborated and commissioned the group to make it happen.
The mural’s figures of reference were Amy Winehouse and Morrissey, but are not rendered directly after them, while the work also incorporates design elements from La Frida Mexican Cuisine next door. The collective named the piece Partners in Crime, or Cómplices in Spanish.
The collective had actually planned to paint it during the same week as the street arts festival and they weren’t the only ones with the bright idea, with another mural collaboration by local artist Jay Blaine and Jesse Green popping up at L.A Market near 10th Street and Myrtle Avenue last week, as well. It certainly seemed as if a collective creativity in the City of Long Beach was alive and thriving last week.
“We received a lot of great feedback from community members regarding our mural and all the other murals going up around the city,” said Luján. “The streets were alive with energy and we had a great time checking out some of the other murals when we could, too.”
Unveiled along with the mural was an exhibition at The Stache, which fed over into the newly opened art space above La Frida, called Midnight Gallery. When a couple of the building’s tenants saw the show being installed in the bar, they decided to push ahead their plans to open what seemed like a former apartment into a space to show artwork.
“Momentum was going, and everything fell into place,” said Luján about the timing.
The unveiling was ultimately a success. The collective was able to raise $200 for their Joshua Tree Residency trip, to take place in September, while The Stache plans to keep up the mural for some time and is currently working with the collective to host open-call exhibitions on a monthly basis. Other businesses have also approached FA4 to paint murals on their premises.
FA4 Collective’s current exhibition can be viewed at Midnight Gallery on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00PM to 1:00AM until Saturday, July 31. For more information about FA4 Collective, visit the website here or the Facebook page here.
The Stache Bar is located at 941 East 4th Street.