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Santa Monica's newest selfie moment: street art off the I-10

Santa Monica's newest selfie moment: street art off the I-10
Artist Gus Harper's "The Minor Identity Crisis Mural,” at the intersection of Pico Boulevard and 34th Street in Santa Monica, is drawing selfie snappers. (Rey Macias / Courtesy of Gus Harper)

The museum selfie may be having a moment — and not surprisingly, so is the street-art selfie.

Artist Gus Harper's "The Minor Identity Crisis Mural" went up last week in Santa Monica on the exterior of a graphic design firm visible from Interstate 10, at the Centinela Avenue offramp. A floating, silver crown in the mural is drawing selfie snappers who have been posing beneath it, as if wearing the headpiece.

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The 75-foot-long mural appears on the exterior of Romero Thorsen Design and the project was coordinated by the nonprofit organization Beautify Earth. The artwork is divided into 14 panels, some of which are abstract patterns, while others are more narrative, depicting human silhouettes.

Each panel represents a different chapter in a person's life, the artist said.

"It's about overcoming fear and reaching your potential and becoming your best version of yourself," Harper said.

While Harper was painting the mural, passersby stopped to take photos, he said. Patrons of a nearby restaurant called the Upper West have taken a particular interest in the mural, wandering over to snap selfies under the crown.

Interactive street art has been a popular phenomenon for a while. Since 2012, artist Colette Miller's floating angel's wings on Hewitt Street in the downtown L.A. arts district have drawn celestial-minded selfie snappers posing between the feathery appendages. In Austin, the design firm Creative Suitcase's toast and butter pad mural -- "You're My Butter Half" – for the United Way for Greater Austin building draws selfie-happy couples.

Harper's selfie-sticky crown, however, was a happy accident, he says.

"The crown — I accidentally put that in there and it just happens to be the right height when you stand under it," the artist said.

The mural is at the northwest corner of Pico Boulevard and 34th Street.

Funding for the project was provided by the Pico Improvement Organization.

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