Feeling inspired to say a few words about Vivache Designs' LA muralist, Michael Che Romero: When most people see the side of a building, they see an empty space. But when LA muralist Michael Che Romero sees the side of a building, he sees a blank canvas. Where others view the endless sprawl of edifice as entrees to feelings of urban despair, Romero sees an opportunity to communicate and to spread ideas. Romero’s art began in the streets of Spokane over a decade ago. His murals first sprang from the urban underground, and brandished themes of the social and political revolutions of Latin America, which champion populist power and collective self-realization.
Today, Vivache Designs is the business evolution of Romero’s art, which has become more practically focused. Romero’s mission includes replacing printed billboards with mural adds, custom designed and then hand-painted on the sides of businesses. His murals also adorn interior business walls, transforming corporate doldrums in to common areas of enriched expression, enabling management to create brand-specific environments for clients and employees. Romero works with each business owner to ensure their involvement in the unique expression he prepares for them. He also seeks to work in concert with the urban community as a whole, adding further contextual relevance to each piece. Teams of urban artists are then employed to paint each vision one stroke at a time, until a fully realized vision specific to the client brand emerges.
On one wall, a depiction of Santa Monica as seen from the beach - but encompassed within the shape of a California bear - entrances viewers. Venice Beach effervesces in letters with related images on another wall. And the declaration “Math Rocks” is cartooned with images of Einstein, his Theory of Relativity, and the human brain on another.
His once passionate desire to emulate the ideals of social revolution have now been channeled in to the mainstream of social responsibility, creating interior and exterior spaces that spring to life with ideas relevant to a capitalist society. Romero is an artist who once painted to change the world, but now seeks to work with it. The ability of Romero and his Vivache muralists to elevate ordinary spaces in to forums of inspiration and expression, offer a genuine upgrade to the endless sprawls of interior and exterior surfaces that form LA. In LA’s resounding throng of urban expansion, Romero’s mural art offers wild flowers of hope amidst the jungles of concrete and asphalt. Just as LA’s seeming unending expansion may offer a dilemma between opportunity and crisis, Romero’s ability to see concrete as canvas may be just the thing that LA needs.
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