WHO CAN LOVE?
CANLOVE is the collaborative alias of American artists DJ Neff and Paul Ramirez. Currently, they collect discarded spray paint cans and process them into works of art at their creative studio, ChalkLA, located in Venice, California.
The duo is best known for giving spray paint cans new life through colorful, whimsical, and conceptually driven artwork. They often share their process and work with others through art exhibitions, installations, and workshops.
In a world that continues to generate more and more spray paint, their mission is to leave no can behind. One of their main goals is to provide our culture with an alternative method for recycling discarded spray paint. By standardizing their methodology and working with other likeminded groups, they've managed to up-cycle over 15,000+ cans by hand. Their primary collection bins are located at the world renown Venice Walls - a long standing mecca of graffiti culture - supported by the STP Foundation and the city of Venice.
CANLOVE has exhibited in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and London and they continue to gain global interest and momentum. Their work combines innovation, chaos, process, pain, curiosity, passion, wonder, whimsy, and purpose. It might fit somewhere within the merging worlds of art, sustainability, community, and design.
Neff was a particularly wild child at times, always curious about the world around him. His mother would pull her hair out in frustration from the numerous appliances and things she would find dismantled, or sometimes combined with other items in the house, often with colorful instructions of how to use it scribbled on the wall next to it. Years later, this destructive, yet pure spirit found a home in graffiti and it took the form of a fat tip marker and a can of Krylon. As the years went by he studied different disciplines like design and illustration, but he always tried to incorporate his favorite tool with them - the spray can. One day in an experimental painting class, taught by artist named Daniel Steppe, DJ decided to cut open the spray cans he had lying around. After figuring out how to finally open the can successfully, he stared inside at what could have been the most perfect combination of texture and color that he had ever seen in a 5"x7" format. The residual paint drying inside, tracked with lines and flecks from the rolling marble, glistening and smelling so very toxic was the genesis of an addiction. What he created was a new type of canvas, aptly titled CAN-VAS. This was beginning. Little did he know that years later this college project would become a mission to turn the world's spray cans into art.
Ramirez once lived in New York. He used to make a living by offering his soul as food to the hungry advertising gods, but after years of sacrificing his heart he was wasting away. His mind had always been elsewhere and he yearned for something more. Always a lovingly rebellious spirit, Paul carved his own path and did things his way. Ramirez met Neff back when they were interns. Early on they learned they made a good creative team and knew one day they would build something together. One fateful weekend, years into the game, Dj paid Paul a visit in NY. Conversations and philosophical deliberations led to a few epiphanies. With a growing fire burning in their guts, both took to the streets in search of an outlet. After getting busted for attempting to put up a stencil in Brooklyn, a friendly neighborhood officer offered Paul some parting advice: “Paul Ramirez, you’re thirty years old. Find something better to do with your life." Ramirez agreed. Shortly thereafter, he packed his belongings in Brooklyn, quit his job in advertising, and moved out West to form CANLOVE. In Venice, working out of their new studio, Paul discovered how to create unique flowers - Metaliflora - from individual cans. He continues to perfect his practice and alongside Neff, they continue their mission. The end. 'Til the next episode.
M +1 415.810.8118
O +1 424.228.2289
12513 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066