Tarek Benaoum loves Las Vegas. Photo: paintthisdesert.com
In the 18b arts district, this pink weave of “everybody loves somebody” caught my eye, a detail from a new mural that extents a larger composition to environment by connecting the piece to the even pinker wall of Retro Las Vegas, located within the sightline. At first glance, I thought RETNA (Marquis Lewis) made a visit and used the wall for his geometric based calligraphy, (which you can see locally in the parking garage of the Cosmopolitan. )
But there's a different kinetic outburst in this piece. It's by Tarek Benaoum, the Parisian artist once known as “CLONE,” who was in town on a commission for nightclub Foxtail at the recently opened SLS.
Vegas Seven arts editor Cindi Reed took her “fading knowledge of French” to speak with the artist’s interior work that “finds inspiration for his calligraphy murals in the location itself.” For Foxtail, Benaoum says the SLS, the former Saraha, inspired passages that reflect the “old soul” of Las Vegas. Reed writes:
Evidence of an Old Vegas past include “little winks” at Elvis and Le Rat Pack, including a giant rendition of the song title “Fly Me to the Moon.” Benaoum’s favorite Rat Pack member is Frank Sinatra because of his mobbed-up glamour, and this Frenchman’s fascination with our local history reflects through the theme of the mural in a way that is oddly satisfying, even flattering.
Benaoum's mural on E.California, between S. Main Street and S. Casino Center Blvd.
Tarek Benaoum in the 18b arts district. Photo paintthisdesert.com
Above: Krystal Ramirez “I Want to See More Brown Bodies” from 2017 will be reassembled at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art in Spring 2018.