WILSHIRE BLVD — On Wilshire Boulevard, seven blocks from the beach, a giant boy is straining through his binoculars to see the ocean — an increasingly hard feat in Santa Monica.
The boy was created by an artist who goes cryptically by the name Bumblebee Loves You (he would not give his real name for this article) and commissioned by equally cryptic development group Pacshore Partners.
Pacshore is adaptively re-using unique, old buildings — in this case an Art Deco remnant at 631 Wilshire — and filling them with California-based shops and restaurants — in this case Mendocino Farms, Sidecar Doughnuts, and Juice Served Here.
Bumblebee Loves You, whose mural on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles was placed sixth on L.A. Weekly’s list of the “10 Best L.A. Street Art Murals of 2014,” got his start messing around with images on Photoshop. He worked his creations into street art, both legal and illegal, before landing pieces with the Youth Homelessness Project in West Hollywood in 2011.
He’d paint huge sleeping children inside of allies for the nonprofit.
“It looked peaceful but the meaning behind it was very serious,” he said.
The giant kids became his go-to subject.
“I think people really started to take notice of my work and started talking,” Bumblebee said, “and big landowners, developers, whatever, they like it because they’re very site-specific the work and there’s always a story behind each one, yet they’re really playful and they don’t necessarily have to be so serious all the time.”
Bumblebee Loves You has another piece in Santa Monica, on the outside of a building at 1640 Fifth Street (where the Daily Press is located) depicting a girl on a surfboard.
The boy on the Wilshire building is her brother, he said.
“My whole thought process behind this was that the beach was really close, this kid is so big,” he said. “When I was a kid, it takes all day to even get to the beach from where I’m from and by the time I get to the beach you have to walk across 300 yards of sand to get to the water. So this kid has that feeling.”
Philip Orosco, managing partner at Pacshore Partners, said they picked Bumblebee for just that feeling.
“When I was first presented with the portfolio of Bumblebee I found that his pieces had a sense of innocence that would fit well with the culture of Santa Monica,” he said. “Then we decided to go big.”
Despite his multi-floor size and his binoculars, the boy, who’s not yet been named, might have trouble seeing the ocean.
“It’s funny cause there’s this building right over there and every time I go up to the fifth floor on this lift, I’m just like, dang, if that building wasn’t there I’d be able to see the sunset, at least the sunset,” Bumblebee said. “But they have the view.”
The mural is scheduled to be completed in January.