Oakland Street Artist Eddie Colla’s Works Explore Fear, Alienation And Oppression

Street art’s ability to raise consciousness and act as a catalyst for political and social change were the motivation behind Oakland-based artist Eddie Colla’s transition from photography to defiantly altering existing landscapes with his wheat pastes and stencil images since 2005.

At the heart of Colla’s commending work is the exploration of conformity, freedom and the threat of oppression.

His raw characters, often donning face masks, are the embodiment of these themes and Colla hopes they spark a dialogue among the urbanites that spy them in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Miami streets.

His work aims to compete with the pervasive advertisement in urban environments; which Colla believes can foster submissiveness in inhabitants. He counters that passivity with provocative and challenging commentary. As Colla shares on his website:

“I can interrupt their conversation and change the subject. That’s very appealing to me.
Advertising perpetually alters our environment without the permission of its inhabitants. The only difference is that advertisers pay for the privilege to do so and I don’t.”

In 2008, his meditative work gained national attention when he incorporated images of then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. His designs were turned into stickers, t-shirts and even magazine covers. It wasn’t long before the rebellious artist became a celebrated street phenomenon…

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