LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Over the last several years, you may have noticed inspirational messages appearing next to an image of a typewriter in public areas around Southern California.
While the artwork may sometimes seem spontaneously placed, the concept has morphed into a social media craze on Instagram.
Meet the Los Angeles-based street artist behind each creation who identifies himself as WRDSMTH, who says his free-of-charge work is inspired by the conversations he hears and the things he sees on a daily basis.
“Art and creativity was always in my blood,” he told CBSLA. “I hope my words make people smile or think. I like to think I’m inspiring and motivating people.”
Several years ago, the Midwest native quit his job working as a writer in Chicago and ventured to Los Angeles seeking an active hobby to take his attention away from a computer screen.
Shortly after settling in Southern California, WRDSMTH tied together his passions for writing and street art in 2013 by posting word-based craftsmanship — which he refers to as WRDs — on the side of buildings, telephone poles, electrical control boxes and billboards.
The street artist uses a stencil to spray paint the image of a typewriter as the trademark for each piece. He then adds a wheat paste with a layer of text on top to complete his work.
“The combination of stencil and wheat paste is something I love,” WRDSMTH added. “It’s such a natural combination [of] a page coming out of a typewriter. I write 98 percent of the WRDs you see.”
Creation time for each message varies depending on the size and location of where it is posted. Small pieces can take up to two minutes while larger creations vary between 15 and 45 minutes.
As his work is considered to be street art, most of the messages get painted over by the city in time.
“Street art is an impermanent art form,” he explained. I’ve had pieces last five minutes and I have pieces that are still riding two years after I put them up. It all depends on location and luck, good and bad, to determine if and when a piece will disappear.”
To sustain the longevity of his work, WRDSMTH has recently created all-paint versions of larger pieces. Some of the canvases are on display at The Gabba Gallery in Los Angeles and the Nicole Henry Fine Art Gallery in West Palm Beach, Florida.
According to the street artist, there is no rhyme or reason as to where work is posted, but he is constantly searching for locations that make for an artistic backdrop.
“I am always walking and driving around, scouting walls and places to put pieces,” he said. “Sometimes I discover a location that pays off my WRDs even more. Sometimes the location actually inspires the WRDs, which is also fun.”
WRDSMTH says fans of his work most commonly capture the messages “I love the way you blush when I tell you how you shine” and “Aspire to inspire others and the universe will take note” online, along with many other of his sayings.
While the street artist retains his anonymity, he has no problem revealing his true identity to fans that may find him in the streets or at galleries.
“The mystery works in my favor,” he explained. “For that, I see no reason in showing my face or telling the world who WRDSMTH is. Let them wonder.”
The street artist is also a published author, former advertising copywriter and a writer of many different mediums.
“To clarify, I never expected to make a dime doing this,” WRDSMTH added. “I started doing [this] for me and the fact that WRDs are resonating and people want to own them thrills me.”
In addition to California, his work has been featured in San Diego, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, West Palm Beach, London, Paris, Edinburgh and Australia.
To view more of WRDSMTH’s creations online, click here.