Four Art Attractions You’ll Love at Life is Beautiful 2019

What to see in Downtown Las Vegas September 20 to 22

September 16, 2019

Courtesy of Life Is Beautiful

In 2013, Life is Beautiful imagined the then-barren walls of Downtown Las Vegas as an open canvas, bringing in internationally-acclaimed artists to literally paint the town. Now, seven years later, the DTLV streets are a walking gallery filled with glowing murals, skyscraping paintings, and whimsical art. This year’s festival will add to the district’s growing collection with works from 13 artists, including Ernest Zacharevic, Daku, HOTTEA, Mantra, and more.

If you love the artwork that’s previously been featured at the festival, here are four new artists and activations to check out this year.

First and foremost: the Art Motel is back! In 2014, Irish street artist Maser covered every inch of the long-abandoned Town Lodge Motel’s courtyard with bright and bold striped patterns. That gave way for the Art Motel the following year, featuring dozens of artists transforming each room into an interactive playground. Meow Wolf, a Santa Fe-based collective featured in 2015, did a complete takeover in 2017. The attraction would serve a preview of their now-famed The House of Eternal Return in the group’s hometown. Last year, the space was dedicated solely to the work of Portuguese activist and artist Bordalo II, whose “Wild Wild Waste Exhibit” giant animals created out of reused materials found around Las Vegas. 

Now, the Art Motel is returning to its 2015 and 2017 concepts. A takeover by Bacardi, the motel’s courtyard will become a fully immersive space with interactive installations, such as a kinetic sculpture that turns into a colorful flower at night and a mysterious installation that may lead you to a hidden speakeasy bar. Four of the motel’s rooms will also be devoted to similar, intimate experiences, like the 70s-themed Disco Room and The Future Doesn’t Suck, an environmentally-conscious room with an art exhibit that shines a light on the harms of single use plastic.

Among the host of international artists installing new murals in the area is Lithuania-born Ernest “ZACH” Zacharevic. His striking, mixed media style weaves various styles of art from those who’ve been featured at the festival in the past. His piece for the festival will incorporate found local resources, which might make you think of Bordalo II’s aforementioned “Wild Wild Waste.” But Zcharevic doesn’t rely solely on found objects — he combines them with realistic paintings, adding a three-dimensional pop. It’s a creative use of space, in the vein of some of the work of famed street artist Banksy, that makes you stop and think about how you interact with mundane objects and scenery.

If you liked the fun, playful work of Kevin Lyons or b. in 2017, you’ll love the work of Argentinian artist Zosen and Japanese artist Mina Hamada. Together, they’ll be painting a new mural on the corner of 7th Street and Stewart full of their signature free-form shapes and colors. With all due respect to the beautiful neon on the Strip, the stretch of 7th Street between Ogden Stewart might just become the brightest street in all of Las Vegas.

Local artists also shine at this year’s Life is Beautiful. Eric Vozzola, who’s worked on installations at the festival in the past, is getting an entire wall to himself. He’ll unveil a large-scale mural on a wall, also on 7th Street. Based on sneak peeks that he’s shared on his Instagram Story, Vozzola’s vibrant piece features colorful geometric elements, similar to that of 2017 artist Okuda San Miguel, blended into a psychedelic desert night landscape.