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Behind the Mural: Faces

Featuring The Cartorialist


You’ve seen us talk about the murals that decorate the walls of ROW. And if you’ve been through the district you’ve no doubt seen them firsthand. In our newest blog series, Behind The Mural, we’ll dive deeper into the artist behind each one.

IMAGE: Majo Seaman

One of our favorite things about modern-day murals in downtown Los Angeles is seeing them pop up as the backdrops for hundreds of stories across social media. And when you’ve got a backdrop as simple, yet stunning as Faces, every visitor to ROW can have their own unique shoot. 

LA-based artist Carly Kuhn, also known as The Cartorialist, has found a way to turn some of the unique faces that pass through ROW into a lasting part of the district. The neutral tones, minimalist lines, and breathy white space she uses are reflective of her simplistic style, which she describes as almost accidental—she’s naturally inspired by her instinct to translate the noise and chaos of the world into a minimalistic drawing or painting.

IMAGE: Carly Kuhn

As a native New Yorker turned long-time Angeleno, Carly describes herself as a “serious artist who doesn’t take herself too seriously.” It’s no surprise that her favorite studio tool is “a perfect pen,” because even beyond Faces her work tends to be lighthearted and minimal, while adding a touch that feels alluring and unexpected. She perfectly sums up her simplistic style as one that “marries the realness of New York with the ease of California.” 

Years ago, Carly’s fashion illustrations first became an Instagram hit when Sarah Jessica Parker reposted one of her drawings. Since then she’s grown beyond the digital screen, collaborating with brands such as Dior, Oscar De La Renta, Capitol Records, Prada, and more. Though even while remaining fashionable and iconic, her work is far from the perfectly-poised and polished images you’d imagine in a fashion magazine.

IMAGE: Carly Kuhn

"I’m drawn to the imperfections of a person or place - for those imperfections are what make things more interesting and beautiful." Carly says.

Her ongoing intrigue around human faces and their imperfections has helped her create more than just the unique faces you'll see painted on the weathered cement columns at ROW. This iconic series extends past the streets of DTLA, becoming a recognizable series of paintings, prints, and wallpapers with their own hashtag: #FindTheFace. 

IMAGE: Junko

If you’re looking for some brief moments of beauty to spruce up your IG feed, check out @thecartorialist. Or if you’re craving a socially distant crowd of two-dimensional faces, get your fix of sophisticated street art at Market Row next time you come through. This minimalist mural is definitely one for the ‘gram, as Faces never fails to turn heads, encouraging passersby to observe the world around them and take notice of all the small details. 

Whatever you do, don’t forget to tag us in your pics using #ROWDTLA or @rowdtla. And check out our other murals while you’re there.