Beginning in 2021, Art Renzei launched as a multimedia art festival featuring artists from all around the globe. In addition to the sculpture-based artwork on display, Long Beach Walls (previously known as Pow! Wow!) highlights talented mural artists whose work can be found scattered across the city.
The festival was held Aug. 14 to Aug. 19, complete with a movie night, bike tours, pop-up shops, special presentations from featured artists and countless DJs to celebrate.
The mission of Long Beach Walls is to use contemporary art to engage with the local community, employing artists to create pieces based on the given year’s theme. The art is colorful and technical, some with whimsical feelings, while others offer a more in-depth tone. Each featured artist has their own unique style, creating beautiful pieces that bring life into seemingly ignored spaces.
“The theme for this year emphasized the importance of our connection to ourselves and the world around us, recognizing that these connections serve as the driving force behind our passion and joy,” Cassandra Leeman, executive director of Creative Class Collective said.
Each district of Long Beach features a mural by various artists, with the intent of urging the next generation of creatives to pursue their goals while reflecting on community identity. The importance of culture is emphasized in this year’s art. Each piece takes the artist’s personal perspective on community collaboration. It’s reflected in the surrounding environment.
“This year, more than 600 artists applied to be one of the 18 featured festival artists,” Leeman said. “The Long Beach Walls worldwide committee reviewed each application and selected a diverse group of local, national and international artists.”
The artist featured on the wall is Lauren YS, a Chinese American artist whose inspiration behind the mural was the character Jobu Tupaki, from the movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Long Beach Walls hosted an event starring YS where she shared her challenges, artistic process and motivations behind her work.
Graffiti artist Royyal Dog created a piece for Long Beach Murals which encapsulated the value of sharing culture. His piece is located in a downtown Long Beach parking garage. The image shows three women in a traditional Korean dress called a Hanbok.
In an interview with LBTV’s Nadia Gil, Dog talks about the meaning behind the work, “I want to show people that it is beautiful when we are together. I want to talk about my culture too.”
Although the event has already taken place, the murals will be available for viewing for the foreseeable future. On Art Rezei’s website, there is a map with the address of all artwork presented this year.