Graffiti legend Kelly “Risk” Graval‘s art career started on the streets of Los Angeles about thirty years ago, and he has been making art in and around the DTLA Arts District, where Cartwheel Art is based, for a long time. He recalls visiting the Rendon Hotel over twenty years ago. “One of the first art shows that I went to in L.A. was there, an underground art show.” The Arts District was his creative home for many years. He says, “I had studios there on 1st St, 3rd St, 5th St, and 15th St for years. All the way from little bitty rooms to 10,000 square feet.”
A mural that Risk painted on the outside of the Rendon is still there, and the hotel’s new owners are planning to preserve it. Earlier this summer, he revisited the hotel to design a room (top) for Art at the Rendon’s Hidden Rooms event
That’s not all Risk has going on this summer. He says, “I have the Montauk show in August, and I just got back from Iowa doing some other stuff. I have a show in Canada coming up in September. This Friday, we have the opening of the Mayfair Hotel.” Originally, the newly-renovated DTLA hotel contacted him about doing a mural. He says, “They had some permit issues, and we were laughing about that I’ve never really obtained permits. Recently, through Cartwheel, actually, and some other people, I’ve been able to get permits. It just turned into other stuff, and they scrapped the mural and hired me to curate the hotel. It’s still not quite done, but it’s getting there. It took two years, and we did all the different floors, all the different artists. It’s really cool to have Shepard Fairey, Retna, Revok, Craig Stecyk, Cryptik… a ton of people.”
Friday, August 17, the newly re-opened Mayfair Hotel is throwing a grand opening party, and it’s open to the public. The event will feature music from Mickey Avalon and Landon McNamara along with art by RISK, Evidence, TAZ, Stephen Vanasco, SEEN, Jason Goldwatch, Estevan Oriol, Jason Revok, Joey Colombo, Geoff Melville, Herbie Fletcher, Alex “Defer” Kizu, Billy Morrison, Mario M. Muller and Cryptik. The Mayfair also gave Risk a permanent gallery in the hotel, and he expects the first show there to happen in about a month.