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Surfing the L.A. River: Street art hits urban waterway

June 6, 2012 |  9:34 am

Who needs high surf — or even water?

Joining the other guerrilla art installations that have popped up in downtown L.A., one papier-mache surfer floated in the middle of the L.A. River between 4th and 6th streets on Tuesday, quietly blending in with the industrial landscape. Another one mysteriously appeared in the empty lot on Broadway Avenue between 1st and 2nd streets. 

The pieces were first started last month with a papier-mache family sunbathing in the same fenced-in lot on Broadway — raising eyebrows and startling passersby who thought they were real. Then a group of deer graced the greenery by 4th and Hill streets, as if calmly enjoying a patch of their natural habitat in the shadows of the cityscape.

A few days later, a cardboard tree sprouted from a tree stump near Spring and 2nd streets. These art installations have been subtle enough to stand unnoticed by many of the preoccupied passersby. Those who did see them shared a laugh and stopped to snap pictures.

The intent behind the sunbathers was to get people to stop and think about otherwise invisible spaces, said Calder Greenwood, 32, a New York native working in Los Angeles as a multimedia artist.

Greenwood and his partner told The Times they were pleased with the public’s reaction to their sunbathers and alluded to other “loosely abandoned” parcels around town. Greenwood has not taken credit for the more recent installations.

If you've spotted any recent street art, tweet us your favorites using the hashtag #lastreetart or to our @lanow Twitter account.

Surfer-4 copy


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Photo: (top) Surfer at L.A. River between 4th and 6th streets. Credit: Stephen Zeigler 

Photo: (bottom) Surfer in the empty lot along Broadway between 1st and 2nd streets in downtown L.A. Credit: Stephen Zeigler