While preparing for the release of their second album Supermodel (due March 18th), the band Foster the People became art patrons: they commissioned an enormous mural of the album cover in downtown Los Angeles. "I live a block away from the mural," the band's frontman Mark Foster told us yesterday, sitting on the roof deck above that enormous artwork/advertisement. "Living down here the last four years, I've gotten to be part of a cultural renaissance. I feel like Los Angeles has given us a lot, and we wanted to give something back. There's a lot of people who live down here, who walk past or ride the bus to work past that wall every day. They have no idea who we are, but they're going to be able to see a piece of art that's making their neighborhood more beautiful, even if they never listen to the band."
The striking mural, visible at 539 S. Los Angeles Street, served as a backdrop for a free show the band played last night. A time-lapse video of the mural's making (over a ten-day period) also provides the visuals for the "Coming of Age" video, the first single from Supermodel.
The mural's artist, known as Young & Sick, is a Dutch native now living in L.A.; he also did the artwork for Foster the People's 2011 debut, Torches. "We knew the album was going to be called Supermodel, and we wanted the art to be a counterbalance to that name, and redefine what it meant," Foster said. "It happens to be the same art we're putting on our record, but for me it was always something separate from the album itself. Music is an intangible thing – it travels through the air. But there's something powerful about something you can look at and touch. This was a chance to make something that's going to stand independent of the music that we make."