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Chalk Makes Debut With Urban Art Exhibit 'Canlove'

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By Katherine Peach/Special to LAist

Chalk, the latest gallery space and design studio on the Westside, will celebrate the opening of its doors with urban art and live DJs this Saturday. The building is the long awaited home for creative souls Justin Mitchell and DJ Neff, who came to L.A. looking to open a gallery.

The name Chalk was picked for the literal “humble medium” that captures the heart of every child for its messy and grungy flow, and embraces its impermanence, Mitchell said. Chalk also represents the teaching aspect of the design space, he said, which will host classes and double as a learning facility. The back 75 percent of the building will host presentations, forums and classes in the ample workstation.

Chalk is not a stagnant gallery, Mitchell said, but an interactive space that people can come and get involved.

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For Chalk’s first exhibit features Canlove, a graffiti recycling program that turns wasted spray paint cans into vibrant works of art. The cornerstone of graffiti culture gets its own place in the art world with no piece unused. Locals of Venice may have noticed the Canlove bins on the legal graffiti wall near the Venice boardwalk.

No portion is wasted from breaking open the cans to get the remaining splatter of paint, to the cap bouquets and containers itself being flattened into squares of metal canvas. Large bouquets resemble fragile orchids or lush bunches of daisies. The flattened cans are used to create large gradients showcasing the original dried paint trapped on the inside, the collective boasts that new paint is never added to alter the effect.

The program started with Neff, a graffiti artist since the age of 16, and the Canlove collective of artists that spread from L.A. to NYC. Recycling bins are placed near frequented graffiti walls to collect the discarded medium that is left at the scene of the art. The toxic remnants are used by Canlove to unlock their potential. “Just as the American Indians respected the buffalo, the artists at CANLOVE adore spray cans and ensure that nothing goes to waste,” according to the artists.

Canlove fits into the urban art and up-and-coming leanings that Chalk will feature on a monthly basis, with semi-monthly events. Mitchell said the goal is to offer a space for artists that may need help “to blossom.” He promised visitors will see talented unknown, versus the $900,000 artist who makes ornate white balls and calls it art.

The last touches of the gallery will be finished for the big reveal Saturday, Feb. 12 at 5 p.m., just in time for a party that is sure to carry on well into the night. DJ Jedi, Atlantic Connection, J-Funk and Technic 9 will keep the beats, and food, beverages, and live silk screening are just bonuses.
located at 12513 Venice Blvd.,