Mysterious Matchsticks Pop Up Across LA

The oversized hand-made matchsticks are appearing all over town from Venice to the hills.

Matchsticks in the canyons are usually a bad idea.

But a couple of the giant - some up to 8 feet tall - variety have been wowing hikers atop Runyon Canyon for the last few weeks, with plenty of social media posts to prove it.

The mysterious matches have been popping up all over town, in places like Venice Beach, Laurel Canyon, Hollywood and Silver Lake.

But what are they?

Some bloggers have speculated they are some kind of public service announcement, reminding people of the dangers of forest fires or of the hazards of smoking.

Others have remarked on the resemblance to Google’s map pins and wondered if it is all a marketing ploy.

The consensus seems to be that the large wood posts, topped with red cellophane, painted with #moments for ready-made viral ID on the Internet, are some sort of an urban art installation.

“I took it as art. I looked around when I first saw them, thinking whoever made it, he or she might be around, watching how people reacted to it,” said Laila Derakhshanian, an art director and photographer from West Hollywood. She said she took a lot of photos, some of which ended up on Instagram.

“I was super excited when I saw it.”

No one has claimed responsibility for what most commenters in the twittersphere and Instagram streams have deemed guerilla art. Plus, it's fun.

"My partner and I started seeing them at Runyon Canyon while hiking," said Jared Blackard. "We kind of made a game of it to find the matches."

They even tracked some down that they saw on Instagram to take their own pictures with the matches. Blackard says he's seen them come and go from different locations and thinks they're being curated by an artist.

"We think it's something along those lines," he said. "They are all hand made and put together." 

Others say the #moments message is inspiring.

"For me it means, 'Life is about moments,'" wrote Babbs Kaplinsky in an email. She viewed a trio of them along a Runyon Canyon trail. "Enjoy every moment."

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