Painting Love Across America: MenaceResa
During one of my daily DTLA art district walks, I noticed a new mural taking form on a prime building, a stone’s throw from The Container Yard. Standing across the street taking-in the preliminary vision, I was intrigued. Unable to determine the image yet, I could see something coming to life. Two forms of art combined in a way I never imagined. Contrasting styles of graff writing, and portraiture blended beautifully together with complementary colors and a design telling a story of love and peace.
I was in the company of MenaceResa, a NYC duo comprised of Resa Piece and Menace Two, and they bring their unique style and impactful message to every mural they create. Their bright and striking art aims to bring about change in communities, and spread positivity to all who see them.
I introduced myself as the Los Angeles Sold Contributor, and was quickly enchanted by them. They knew the entire team at Sold back in NYC, and we immediately hit it off. They were on the West Coast leg of a mission to Paint Love Across America, and they've been on the road since September '18. From Philadelphia to San Francisco, the artists tirelessly brought their transcendent murals to major cities all across the country.
Capturing Menaceresa create several murals throughout LA, I began appreciating graff writing in a way I never thought. Menace’s writing and piecing is complex, original, vibrant, and pulls the reader in. His wording compliments the message and his choice of color and letter design blends perfectly with Resa’s delicate portraitures. The lettering is so complicated, but still readable and beautiful.
Resa’s portraitures are reminiscent of ancient Greek statues with arm and hand gestures calling the viewer in, welcoming the viewer to look deeper into the facial expressions that create a calm in the air.
The murals speaks out to the observer in a delicate, calming fashion; asking the viewer to take a breath, stand still and let the busy boulevard traffic of passing cars fade into silence. I could almost hear the voices from the images speaking to each other.
It is clear their talents belong together. The photos show the beauty of the murals, the complexity of the design, but it doesn’t show the two personalities that created them.
Menace and Resa combine a professional and supportive relationship; they interact with the public, engage in conversations and pick-up friends along the way.
Menace has a background in computer technology, coding and illustration, but writing graff since he was a child. He was generous with his time, educating me on the history and significance of graff writing, styles, graff crews from New York to Los Angeles.
Resa double majored in Fine Art and Art History at SUNY Binghamton, and has experience working for Christie's with some of the most exclusive privately collectors of art in the world. During our visit, she shared stories of her experience creating murals in New York, the challenges of being a female artist in a male dominated world.
While their murals express positivity and hope, there were many struggles the pair faced to get them to where they are now. As she was starting out, and trying to gain a reputation in the graff and street art world, something happened to her that violated her privacy, and was intended to humiliate her. This drove her into a severe depression. To prevent it from overtaking her, Resa channeled her emotions into painting publicly approved murals.
Menace came from an abusive, disciplinary family who did not approve of his antics. He was frequently getting into street fights and getting arrested, but was able to re-channel his abilities, and came to build up his reputation as an elite graff writer.
While they were in town visiting, this duo's consideration and kindness touched me. They informed me Atlas was dropping by the Venice Blvd. mural to hand deliver a commission. Atlas is a legendary Los Angeles based graff writer and muralist, and I've been a collector and admirer for years. Another time, DJCatNap was in town to photograph them in the DTLA Arts District, and Menace went out of his way to make introductions. Simon is a well known mural photographer, and now a friend who keeps in touch through amazing street art!
Atlas hand delivered a beautiful painting, and it was a delight to see MenaceResa engage in lively conversation about local artists, and comparing styles versus regions, etc. He encouraged them to continue, giving them support and advice. He discussed some of the projects he's working on and offered to help MenaceResa on their next trip.
Atlas was currently working on the 1st design of a series of limited edition beer cans for an IPA brewery in DTLA around this same time. He was considering designing an original piece, or a photo of an existing mural; combining his signature cat and graff writing.
Atlas did me a solid, and I am proud to say my photo of that mural was used for the design! Pick up your own limited edition IPO can at the Boomtown Brewery in the Arts District of Los Angeles.
If it wasn’t for Resa and Menace, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to photograph a mural for a limited edition beer can design of my favorite muralist, and for that I am so thankful.
At the start of their journey, the pair sat down with the Sold Crew for Episode 27 of the podcast "In The Spray Room" to talk about their relationship, artistic collaboration, and their decision to create murals all across the country. Now, at the end of their 10 month journey, they have returned home to New York City, and you will hear more from them when they visit The Spray Room again!
Photos Not Snapshots,
The Echo Parker
*Enjoy this additional photo collection of Resa & Menace's work through the years, and across the country from the Sold Crew: