For decades, the Farmers Market Newsstand, one of the few newsstands still standing in Los Angeles, was home to a mural originally commissioned by the L.A. Times. Over the years, the mural faded, so owner Paul Sobel reached out to the paper to give the mural a much-needed refresh.
Paul Sobel has owned the newsstand since 1976, and it dates back to the late 1950s.
"It is more than just a newsstand; it is a gathering place, just like the farmer's market is a gathering place for the community. We see hundreds of people a day," Sobel said.
The collaboration with the Los Angeles Times began 21 years ago.
"We branded the wall with original artwork that was commissioned. And, we also had banners installed commemorating various front pages from the L.A. Times. Fast forward 20 years, and it was time to refresh the artwork, and once again, I reached out, and we recast the relationship in a more contemporary light," Sobel added.
With the Farmers Market Newsstand being one of the last remaining newsstands in the city, the L.A. Times creative director, Brandon Sides, believes it is essential that there is a presence there.
"We wanted to create a 'photo moment' wall here because we know this area is more traffic-heavy than Disneyland. There is a ton of people here always looking for places to take photographs, so we wanted to create an iconic photo wall. We look predominately for local artists. With the pandemic and everything that is going on, we wanted to support the local art community," Sides said.
The theme for the mural was "today in L.A." and, artist Mike Farrell wanted to represent different neighborhoods, street foods, and textures.
"We wanted to come up with a bunch of symbols that symbolized Los Angeles to me. So I put a bunch of symbols from different parts of the city into the mural. Some of the symbols include the Los Angeles National Forest, a cup of fruit, the Hollywood symbol, the Los Angeles theater sign, birds of paradise, a Dodger hat, and a bacon-wrapped hot dog," Farrell said.
Along with the mural, five other artists took part in the Farmers Market Newsstand art installation. "They created five digital pieces that are banners that are outside of the newsstand. They each depict a piece of L.A. that spoke to that individual artist," added L.A. Times creative director Brandon Sides.
To learn more about the artists featured in the Farmers Market Newsstand Art Installation, go to latimes.com/farmers-market-art-project.