I don't know whether art can salve recent violent faceoffs around the world coupled with the horrifying sight of crashed airplanes, but it's worth a try. I found two new go-to places for hope not far from each other on L.A.'s Miracle Mile.
The first is a brave new world mural on the side of the Line Hotel in Koreatown created by Shepard Fairey, he of the Obama poster fame. The "Peace Tree Mural" covers a towering recessed wall at the 3515 Wilshire Blvd. hotel partly owned by Korean barbecue chef Roy Choi. (It's best viewed if you are heading west on Wilshire.)
The black, red and off-white image features a tree trunk that gives way to leaves and a huge bloom with the Obey Giant face (you'll recognize it) at the center and the word "Peace" below. It's been up for about three weeks.
"I'm very happy with how the mural turned out and how it works with the building’s architecture," Fairey wrote on the Obey website. "The Line has a bunch of cool art in the interior as well as a great D*Face mural on the exterior, so I’m grateful to be situated in a bit of a creative oasis."
Farther west outside 5900 Wilshire Blvd. are panels of the Berlin Wall, one of which now bears a striking image of Nelson Mandela.
L.A. muralist Kent Twitchell drew the late South African president, whose life was the very definition of hope and resilience.
It was unveiled July 18 on what was celebrated as the city's first Nelson Mandela Day. Mandela joins Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy on the concrete slabs that are part of the Wende Museum's Wall Project.
"We may not all live to be as great as Nelson Mandela, but he has touched within us a spark that can ignite a sense of greatness in each of us here in the city of Los Angeles," L.A. City Atty. Michael Feuer said at the unveiling.
So here's to individual greatness and hope -- and two new L.A. artworks that might remind us they are possible.