“Graffiti Artists Draw On Jewish Roots” – Plus Exclusive Photos

3 Apr
Jewish Art Now Creative Director Saul Sudin with "Illuminated Streets" artists Hillel Smith and Itamar Paloge

Jewish Art Now Creative Director Saul Sudin with “Illuminated Streets” artists Hillel Smith and Itamar Paloge

by Avishay Artsy, for the Jewish Journal

Over the past week, two graffiti artists have been applying layers of bright orange and blue paint to an outdoor wall of the Silverlake Independent JCC. Hillel Smith, a native Angeleno, and Itamar Paloge, a Tel Aviv-based artist, met a year ago through their shared interest in street art. Now they’re creating Jewish-themed murals across Los Angeles.

The JCC mural features a massive orange Hebrew letter, alef, which fills the wall space. Surrounding the letter are blue calligraphic lines that reference the forms of the Hebrew alphabet but are not actual letters.

“It does incorporate the styles that both of us work in,” Smith said. “My work tends to be a lot more geometric and angular, and Itamar’s is a lot more free-flowing. This layering effect really brings the two things together.”

This is just one in a series of works the artists are making incorporating the Hebrew alphabet as a design element. Their current project, “Illuminated Streets,” references illuminated manuscripts, beautifully decorated handwritten books that are part of a rich history of Jewish typographic art.

Smith said he enjoys the unusual juxtaposition of Jewish tradition and contemporary media such as graffiti. Smith grew up in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, riding his bicycle to the comic book shops on Melrose Avenue and admiring the street art of his hometown. In L.A., he said, street art is closely tied to cultural identity, and it bothered him that there was no Jewish representation in street art.

Read the rest of the article at this link.

Jewish Art Now was on hand as the artists put up a full scale work in the Venice Beach area, in a joint work with additional artists including Jewish Art Now’s Executive Director Elke Reva Sudin. Support “Illuminated Streets” bringing their project to Israel! And check out the exclusive photos of the art below.

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