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When Belgium-born Chase continually saw his mural on 1st between Elm and Linden perpetually tagged, he would come down to Long Beach and fix it.
The iconic array of colorful eyes that once stared on East Village Arts District passersby from across House of Hayden, however, had been vandalized for the last time. When the City had called Chase to ask him how much it would be to (once again) repair the mural, he gave them another option: provide him the supplies and he would do an entirely new mural, marking the second street artist this year to take on a Downtown wall following Flip’s mural up the way.
In one fell swoop of about seven hours, Chase came down and cleared the way for his newest mural, two hands press together to form a heart shape with Chase’s iconic eyes staring through.
While the easy postmodern commentary of Big Brother and panopticism could easily be applied to Chase’s obsession with eyes, he views them as nothing of the sort.
“They’re all individual consciousnesses, y’know?” Chase said.
With the help of Jose Cordon, who had kept in continual touch with Chase, and the financial auspices of 2nd District Councilmember Suja Lowenthal’s office, the City handed him the supplies and Chase began appropriating a piece he had made for Homeboy Industries.
“I had made about 36 pieces for their annual fundraiser,” Chase said. “I thought, ‘What am I going to paint here?’ and I thought this piece was perfect because of the dumpster situation and all that sort of stuff. And to be honest, I just thought it would look beautiful blown-up in scale.”
Making a small tweak by embellishing the eyes from a two-tone to a five-color palette, the pop-image of two hands making a heart—found in EDM culture, at a Robyn concert, or between friends—also has an indirect commentary is just as powerful: with the two hands forming Crip signs and in the inside blaring the color of the Bloods, one can easily associate the piece with a critical look at gang culture in LA County.
“It’s a small wink toward the Crips and Bloods,” Chase said. “It’s not direct commentary; it’s more of a coincidental historical reference… It’s more about a good vibe, love containing the world at large, represented by all these eyes grouped together.”