SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Bright, vibrant, and fun are some of the adjectives that may come to mind at first glance into renown artist and social justice advocate Ed Massey’s Westside home.
His latest public art work was unveiled recently in Santa Monica: A 7-foot-tall sculpture of a homeless man titled “In the Image,” which stands at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and 26th Street.
Massey’s inspiration for the piece came from a chance meeting with a homeless man in Westwood almost 20 years ago.
Myleisha Hendriks a passerby, offered her opinion of the statue.
“I love it. I think it's phenomenal. We get people who are totally empathetic to the cause and you also get people who don’t care…and with us being in Santa Monica, you are probably gonna get 50/50," said Hendriks.
Dominik Gonzales has a strong point of view.
“Honestly, that’s so crazy cause its like…I was just thinking, 'man, I go through skid row all the time to go to work and stuff, who the hell would make a sculpture of a bum?' I don’t really care about homelessness because when I was homeless, the first thing I said was, 'I'm going to get myself out of this.'”
You may not know it, but you have probably seen Massey’s work before.
The Los Angeles native’s art has been displayed worldwide and in many places around L.A., particularly his "Portraits of Hope" series which showcases downtown L.A., Macarthur Park, Beverly Hills, the beach, and other neighborhoods.
“My great interest is to bring art out to the masses. To the people that don’t spend money to go to a museum," Massey said. "To allow the average Joe on the street who has a very late night shift to be able to see something that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. So I like to have to works available 24 hours a day and it takes a great deal to do that."
Massey attributes much of his inspiration and ideas for his artwork to his upbringing. He studied at UCLA and then Columbia University. His eye for social messaging fuels the fire in his soul to create public works.
He has a passion for tackling social issues of all kinds, and his impact came way before they hit the zeitgeist. From the corporate ladder, to #metoo, to undocumented workers, to pieces created over three decades ago.