In April, Jon Stommel and Travis Czekalski, together known as the art duo Rather Severe, were hired by the owner of Southeast Hawthorne brunch cart Fried Egg I'm in Love to paint a mural on an adjacent wall with something in their signature style, viewable in all five quadrants—sprawling murals with thick, endless lines and brightly colored cartoon characters that look like Adventure Time on acid.
Fried Egg's neighbor, Egyptian coffee bus Tov Coffee & Tea, was so impressed with the finished project, the owner, Joe Nazir, asked Stommel and Czekalski to create a similar piece near his cart. They decided to honor Nazir's culture, with anthropomorphic characters like a sphinx holding a coffee cup and a pyramid smiling bashfully. In the process, Rather Severe managed to cover up some racist graffiti that had been previously been written there.
"It's nice that we can respond to this really dumb, poorly drawn racist shit with a mural that celebrates Joe's Egyptian culture," says Stommel.
Nazir has also commissioned Stommel and Czekalski to give his double-decker the Rather Severe treatment as well.
"You can post it to social media and let people know you're outraged by it, or you can come in and paint it over before it gains any traction," Stommel says. "Erasing this stuff right away is definitely the right way to deal with it."
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