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Shortly after LA street art boyfriend-girlfriend duo Dabs-Myla covered a wall in the East Village with their cartoonish, anthropomorphic characters, Brazilian street art guru Flip (aka Felipe Yung) covered the southern wall of downtown’s MADHaus with a mural of his own.
The piece, which was led by the efforts of local artist and CSULB grad Artie Luna, is a sprawling, quintessential example of Flip’s artistry: hints of camouflage shapes and odd creatures, Flip’s work borders between playful and surreal, balancing between abstract expression and figurative representation.
“Flip and I met at his art show here in Long Beach and that’s when the idea of painting a mural started to formulate,” Luna said. “Two months later he returned after painting murals and a solo art exhibition in Japan to complete the mural here in Long Beach.”
Flip’s work is ubiquitous in his hometown of São Paulo, where his camouflage-like like shapes and obsession with Asian culture—particularly Japanese print-like characters and his Shodo-style signature—are to be found throughout the city.
His markings not only harken to the aforementioned dive into Asian culture that Flip’s work explores, but definitively highlights the influence of the pixação graffiti that pervaded Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo during the 60s and eventually had risen from the dead during the 80s after the art form became nothing but a specter during the 70s.
This isn’t to say that his work is apolitical. Like many Latin American artists, it is rife with questions of privacy, governmental power, imperialism, and community.
“In São Paulo, people don’t go out because they’re scared,” the artist once told Juxtapoz. “Not everyone is scared, but people are always looking around to see what others are doing. All doors in people’s homes have a peephole, what we call a ‘magic eye.’ People want to be safe and have privacy, so they look out of this eye at their neighbors to see what they are doing instead of opening the door… People can be scared of different things; to steal your things, to steal your time (if you have boring neighbors). Each person has a different view of the same thing. Inside my camouflage, something I have studied for a long time, there are subliminal messages. You will find a lot of things if you look.”
According to Luna, Flip “really wants to come back and paint another mural in Long Beach.”
We can only hope because if there is one (of many) things Long Beach could use, it is a far more vibrant street art scene where local artists—Skullphone and Help Desk come to mind—aren’t hindered more than they are fostered and cradled.
Flip’s mural can be found at MADHaus, located at 624 Pacific Avenue.
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