January 1, 2016 made History for the Pasadena Rose Parade, as thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters took part in an Official Presidential Support March presenting the world with signs, banners, chants, and a Great Big Giant Bernie, (#BigBernie), created and operated by Downtown Los Angeles artist, Alex Schaefer. It had been two months in the making, now complete with arms waving, a great big giant smile and the wide rimmed glasses that the balding presidential hopeful had become so famous for. From giant pants, fingers, head to the animated PC piping that held it all together, Alex would operate the puppet for onlookers all the way through the 5 mile trek with the whole world watching, surrounded as a hero, by a merry group of Bernie’s die-hard supporters.
Art of War with Alex Schaefer
(Original post date – August 14, 2014)
Famed Downtown open air artist Alex Schaefer is preparing to burn his last bank. But less you be fooled as was the LA County Sheriff… who was called to alarm after someone from the bank reported what Alex was doing: Perched outside their downtown banking institution, armed with paint brushes, paints, and a canvas.
Alex was only painting the bank on fire, but someone must have taken him for a neo-terrorist because on that day he almost got taken into custody. And although he would follow with an entire series devoted to the glorious smoke-filled flames rising from various banks, that particular painting sold for over $20,000. In fact, in the war he’s waged using his art work to express and conduct his anti establishment, pro freedom movement, all but one of those burning bank paintings have been sold so far.
And now with only one burning bank painting left, he is prepared to actually burn, as in set on fire, the last remaining work of the burning bank series, unless of course somebody buys the artwork first. You heard right! Somewhere right now the last burning bank painting owned by Schaefer is being held hostage, the kidnappers are serious and we are running out of time.
Schaefer’s June exhibit commercial promo has him disguised as a used-art-dealer, with a silver wig and over dressed seventies attire. In the commercial he’s a fast-talking salesman loaded with catchy sales pitches and a used car lot parody.
With an unfailing sense of humor and super funny ideas, it’s hard to know when to take Alex Schaefer seriously. That is until you listen to him speak or look at his famed masterpieces, then you begin to realize that Schaefer is a very outspoken art activist at war with the system and he has no problems exercising his freedoms of expression, however dangerous that may be, to purposely provoke thought when it comes to the political and social economic issues of our time and using humor and his art as a strategic tactic. But not all of his paintings come with flames. Some like the one he designed for this month’s cover is full of rainbow weapons being sprayed into the ART WALK riot.
Schaefer is on exhibit indefinitely at the Blackstone Gallery on 9th and Broadway. Gallery curator Steven Thomas Higgins, now with the help of art veteran Schaefer, has been spending time coming up with ingenious and humorous new ways to attract art buyers to BlackStone Gallery in Downtown and the popularity of the gallery has grown in recent months because of it.
Schaefer, originally from San Diego, CA has been teaching at Art Center College of Design for the past 12 years. He can be found on any given day, intensely painting the people and buildings around him. He is an open-air artist, meaning he gets to set up on the sidewalks without permits as long as he’s not selling anything. Ironic, seeing as his paintings are so thought-provoking they still sell his political ideas.