Creativity Runs Wild in Echo Park’s Animal Alley

Los Angeles is a mecca for contemporary art, including a vibrant culture of collaborative and public art projects. The city is filled with dynamic murals painted by local artists, and the Echo Park and Silver Lake areas are no exception. Today, we’ll show you the larger-than-life denizens of Animal Alley, a collaborative mural gallery in the Echo Park neighborhood.

Looking for more Echo Park public art? Check out our post about the Lady of the Lake!

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Elephant mural by artists Otto Schade and Cindy Schwarzstein – Photo Credit: Atlasobscura.com

Animal Alley is the brainchild of Los Angeles gallery owner Jason Ostro. He showcases emerging artists at Gabba Gallery, a boutique exhibition space Echo Park. His Gabba Gallery project began in 2014 as a constructive way to combat the prevalent graffiti and blight in the neighborhood. The initiative inspired local artists to begin decorating local alleys and side streets with imaginative artwork, on themes ranging from typewriters to superheroes to outer space.

Ostro kicked off the project with his own mural, a collaboration with local street artist Andrea LaHue, aka “Random Act.” Now, the Gabba Alley project incorporates over a hundred murals by more than eighty-five local and international artists. A prolific local talent whose compositions focus on botanical themes, “Random Act” has contributed her signature orchids to the Animal Alley murals.

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Mural by local street artist Phobik – Photo Credit: Imgrum.net

The artwork is focused in four alleys, three near Gabba Gallery and a “satellite street gallery” in Echo Park. “Animal Alley” takes its theme from the wild kingdom, and artists creating individual works for its walls are invited to base their artworks on the creatures of their choice.

“Animal Alley L.A.” can be found off Glendale Boulevard, just behind the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Entries range from growling cheetahs to marching elephants to winged kittens – and since the Alley Project is eclectic by design, artists have created murals in a range of styles from figurative to realistic. Many painters have expanded on the animal theme by adding lush vegetation, including vines, ferns, and colorful flowers.

Looking for more local color? Read our post on the history of Echo Park’s Carroll Avenue!

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Lion mural in Animal Alley – Photo Credit: Imgrum.net

Ostro works with local residents and business owners to locate wall space, and most of the materials used to create the murals are donated. A few artists have contributed sculptures and art installations made from recycled materials, including a royal macaw made out of scrap metal from used coffee tins. National art supply chain Blick has been a proud sponsor of the Gabba Alley Project from the outset.

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Artists at work in Animal Alley – Photo Credit: Latimes.com

Animal Alley, like the other streets in the Gabba Alley Project, is designed to encourage neighborhood participation, so the project will be ongoing and may eventually expand into nearby side streets and wall spaces. Current murals occupy open walls, garage doors, and even dumpsters. Painting sessions tend to be half open studio, half block party, with troupes of artists showing up to work together on outsize compositions.

Animal Alley’s finished works already include fifteen bright animal-themed paintings, and the menagerie has already become a stop on several city art tours. If you’re planning to visit Echo Park, why not make a stop in Animal Alley? You can see local creativity and civic pride on display, and you might even catch local artists hard at work on a mural in progress!

Looking for places to eat during your visit? Read our guide to the best restaurants in Echo Park!

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise. Call us to schedule a consultation today!

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