It took 73 shades of paint and 19 gallons of base paint for street artist Ben Eine to turn a beige wall into a focal point on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach last month.
The side of the apartment building that now reads “Charming” and the pet supply store, also on PCH, that now reads “Wonder” are just the first two murals of a series that Eine will be painting all the way up to San Francisco, where he lives.
To start, Eine is focusing his paint can on Laguna Beach to Los Angeles, and he’s hoping to do about 30 paintings, he said. The first, “Charming” mural represents the atmosphere and the people of Laguna.
“I want the people that live there to relate to it,” he said. “It’s a beautiful part of the world, and I want it to reflect that.”
Eine said he wants to continue that concept of each mural being connected to its city in some way. Lake Forest will be the next Orange County city to get a spruce of color from Eine’s hand.
The idea of going on a mural tour came from how much he travels between San Francisco and Southern California to visit his business partner, who lives in Laguna Beach. Eine’s company, Elephants and Castles, produces prints of his work and collaborations that he does with other artists.
The 45-year-old London native said he has developed the ability to skip the planning of a painting and go straight to creating it — letting the wall dictate the message. His specialty is a blend of street art and typography.
“I like words taken out of context. If you just blast one word on a wall it means different things to different people. If you surround it by other words then, you’re defining the meaning of that word,” Eine said.
His love for painting originated more than 30 years ago from a book titled “Subway Art.”
“What I saw in that book, I wanted to do it,” he said. “And eventually I did.”
Before he turned to street art, he spent 20 years doing graffiti art, which he now describes as making things ugly. Using bright colors and positive messages, he says, street art is the exact opposite of graffiti.
“It’s thoughtful, it’s thought-out, it’s thought-provoking,” he said. “You’re actively making people’s lives a little, tiny bit better.”
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