A search for the term, #lovewall, results in a total of 19,573 posts on Instagram, while the term #bleedinghearts has a total of 35,116 posts. And the numbers continue to go up every day. The man behind these designs is James Goldcrown, a self-taught artist and photographer originally from London.
James worked in the industry for 19 years as a fashion photographer, but eventually transitioned to a full-time artist in 2010. In these 6 years as an artist, he’s become internationally known due to the Love Wall and Bleeding Hearts murals found in New York and LA. He’s quoted in The Daily Front Row saying he receives 100+ tags a day and at least 30 new followers in a half an hour.
James’ designs are a part of a bigger trend in the fashion and social media scene. Wall scouting is the term used to describe when Instagram users, usually fashion bloggers, purposefully seek out interesting backdrops – most likely in an effort to make their profiles a little more interesting. The trend has fashion icons like Eva Chen creating an Instagram account solely dedicated to these sceneries (@photogenicwalls). It’s been about a year and a half since James put up his first mural in front of L’asso Pizzeria, on the corner of Mott and Kenmare Street in Soho. When asked what the inspiration behind the Love Wall and Bleeding Hearts designs were, James admits it was somewhat of an accident.
“I work a lot with spray paint in general. In my studio, I use a door to test the pressure of the cans and for some reason, I started spraying hearts while testing. One day a client came in to pick up some work and he was like, “Hey, I love that door, how much?”
Soon after, James showed his work at Art Basel, where he quickly realized the Bleeding Hearts design was a crowd favorite. Regardless, he never thought his murals would gain this much popularity, let alone go viral. It’s been a spiral of success since then, from one collaboration to the next. “A six degrees of separation kind of thing,” as James puts it.
Not only has he commissioned his work for companies like Bandier and One Management, but he’s also painted his murals at Governor’s Ball, designed luggage for Rimowa, and is in the process of designing a shoe for TOMS.
James doesn’t consider his work street art, but instead mural art, largely due to the fact that it’s legal. Regarding the location of his designs, James says he spends 1 day a week wall scouting.
“I just know when I see it that it’s going to be a hit. Sadly, I don’t always get my way, but I do usually. It’ll vary on regulations. If I’m hired by a brand or company, they deal with everything, otherwise, I have to go through the building owner or landlord.”
Lincoln Heights, California
James hopes to travel throughout America painting his murals and eventually reach other countries as well. When asked about his journey from the first Love Wall mural to now, James describes it as life changing.
“I could write a book on it, but to sum it up briefly it’s allowed me to become a recognized artist and travel to do what I love, as well as helping other people open up emotionally. I feel very blessed and extremely grateful to be where I am.”