December 16 2017

Caris Reid's Trance-Inducing Mural Comes to The Standard, Downtown LA

Los Angeles-Art Inspection

If you’ve been to The Standard, Downtown LA lately, you may have noticed a powerful, new 40-foot mural and green flag flying high above the hotel. When you saw either, did you feel something stir in you… something spiritual? Because that's exactly what the artist behind both pieces, Caris Reid, intended. 

The Standard
The Standard
The Standard
Reid—a painter, Reiki practitioner, and tarot reader—incorporates her spiritual practice into her works, often finding inspiration in dreams or during meditation. She's known for paintings of frontal, archetypal woman figures whose bodies and auric fields are dotted with cosmic symbology. 

She ventured from her home of Joshua Tree to bring her mysticism to Downtown LA. Her new mural, Grace and Grit, features what she calls "a choir of women hypnotizing and harmonizing with their fixed gaze and symbols." Their eyes and lips pop with color and their forms are crisp, graphic, glyph-like, clear, and modern, almost reminiscent of kitsch, advertising, or tarot. The seven women are larger than life, unflinching, and unapologetic. The repeated forms evoke both the idea of power in numbers, as well as the repetition often found in healing rituals. The women are both right side up and upside down, expressing the idea that the seemingly opposite are actually connected. Their undulating hair mimics alpha state brain waves, inviting viewers into a meditative calm.

The Standard

Reid's artistic process is meditative as well. She spent days painstakingly applying every precise brushstroke of the mural. The act of painting is part of the piece itself. She shared, "Yesterday evening after a long days work, the sky growing dark and my paint brush still in hand, a man passed. He wanted to know if my boss ever let me take breaks, and said he’d seen me working all day long. I gave him a wry smile and told him, 'I’m the boss. And I break whenever I want.'”

Perhaps the best part? Reid had five woman Reiki healers send energy into the wall to help strengthen the community.
The Standard
The Standard
The Standard
Reid's flag, currently flying high above the hotel, also carries symbolic meaning. Two identical crows fly toward a central flower. Crows are all over Joshua Tree, where Reid currently resides, and are thought to connect the spiritual and physical planes. To Reid, they symbolize the darkness before the dawn of creation, which for her, is a large part of the artistic process: "They express the idea of collaboration and partnership, moving toward growth and beauty. The flag aims to protect the hotel, like an evil eye." 
   
If you want to take a bit of Reid's mystic energy home, she will be producing a small pin with a single crow that will be complimentary to guests of the hotel. Probably a good idea, in these tumultuous times. 

Writer
Eva Sealove
Photographer
Graham Walzer