CULTURE Issue 1 Vol. 1
A Realm of GrafямБti in the City of Los Angels
a r t o g r a p h y
Los Angeles artwork.. . . . . . . . .2-3 Map of LOcal Spots.. . . . . . . . . . . . .4-5 Street Anarchist: An Interview with Artist Eliot Saachrian.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6-9 A Threat To society.: Thoughts on street art by Los Angeles Natives.. . . . . . . .10-13
Holl West Hollywood
lywood LA RIVER Silver Lake Echo Park Hwy 101
Los Angeles Downtown
rt Park & Crenshaw
Street Anarchist By Christine Eusebio
In the midst of all the chaos on the streets or on canvas, artist Eliot Saarinen shares with us what itâ€™s like to be in his shoes, his thoughts on street art, and self-expression through the wonders of his visionary world.
â€œThis is for my grandmother,â€? replies Saarinen. Pictured here artwork titled Eugenia.
How long have you been doing art? well, since I could pick up a pen, really. uh, that’s a good question. I have’t asked myself that in years. I’ve been drawing for about 18 years. 18 years? Oh wow! And uh, I started taking it seriously about 12 years ago. What were your inﬂuences? Mainly skateboarding, going around seeing you know grafﬁti. And a lot of the skateboard videos had the music intertwined with the artform of skateboarding. And i found it very visually, and how would you say, auditory..just euphoric. As far as the artwork, how did the vision get generated? (Laughing) Well, it’s been a process. I go through one experience and, maybe not right away, but pretty much all my experiences generated different forms of work. I really enjoy working with color along with rounded shapes, which as just means as a way to express my life experiences. You know, for instance, this piece right here up against the wall, it’s called Eugenia, who is my grandmother. Now, I’d sat down with her and she was telling me about how she crossed over from Russia, and she went on a boat to Ellis Island and she immigrant, and her experience traveling the ocean, and shed be telling about that, and I had my own realization and how waters are vital to the world around us so I made a river as a constant ﬂow to represent that communication and that relation between the two of us. And that is for my grandmother.
What is your opinion on grafﬁti, illegal or legal in LA? I think it’s great. I fucking love it. Theres a lot of people doing it. It’s getting bigger and bigger every year. It’s getting more mainstream but it still represents a clash with what’s right and it brings out the social standard with what’s moral:with what’s ok to do and with what’s not ok to do and it provokes how much fear is instilled upon us to do the right thing, but this is living proof that you don’t have to necessary go about everything that your told to and through this it’s a humble form of art. And its huge in our culture, and it really give a lot of people who don’t have anything to write on a fuckin’ little sanctuary for the time it is and it give us a thrill from the police, to give us importance in this big game of chess. You got the kings and the queens, they’re really high up there controlling parts of the world like capitalism. and it smashes on that idea.that’s just my opinion, but it goes directly social values and whats considered important and I ﬁnd grafﬁti far more important than, you know, like an expensive cup of wine, or who has the nicest suit on. it not about who has the nicest suit on, it’s not about money, hoes and clothes its about who can climb the highest and who can create or generate the most beautiful and fucking thrilling art for the people who do it, and it’s not for everyone.
So that’s a whole different culture form everyday life? Yes, it’s a subculture for sure. Try to talk to someone who has no clue like there’s someone so and so who hit up someone’s garage. But that where it comes from. You know originating from NY or Philli i mean it really started in NY, the westcoast thing it started through gang grafﬁti and that is the inﬂuence. I know me and the people I grew up with didn’t take ir solely in that direction. We wanted to create artwork in that medium. So it’s something that society can appreciate and see it as more than a tag on the wall or vandalism? Yea. even tag is a form of art. Not everyone is gonna see it like that. It’s not who just does the most colorful piece. It can be about who’s got the cleanest bomb or fuckin’ throw up s on the freeways and who’s got the scribes actions to glass windows,
(continued) that mornally we would just be brushed off and under the rug and standing up for our rights as humans and participating. And I feel more human because of it. It’s integrated and becoming submerged into our mainstream culture. I don’t know if it’s a good/bad thing. the stakes have become higher because of exposure. a lot of more people are doing it. I don’t know the sole reasons, but when it becomes all about “look at me”, look at me, like fame, it alittle bit more disappointing because it distracts from the actual work. it just because about the ego.
Will it be more accepting? LIke mainstream art by society? Yes, it has become more acceptable. People have not necessarily looked down upon it, aloof people. Like I have not met not one republican that likes it. which is strange cuz I wouldn’t really expect peoples opinion. Mainly liberals and demos. Families love it. I don’t know why but they do. They just say I like the art I just don’t want to see you go to jail for it. No matter who does it, it’s the same outcome for everyone. It’s illegal. Any last words? You’ll see them up. Trying to get shit done. Might as well speak.
any thoughts come when it comes to art. Some are considered high class, while others are considered just “nusances”, especially when these nusances are displayed on public walls, freeway signs, or just about anywhere. What is considered art? Who amongst us deﬁnes it and what is it about street art that makes it distasteful and undesirable to society? “I never really thought about it,” said Adriana Rodriguez, a 51-year old mother of three children, who grew up in the heart of Los Angeles. “Yet now that I do, I really don’t like it. I mean, I grew up with it around me, especially with my brothers hanging around gang members in the past, but I never liked it. It looks ugly and makes our town look trashy.” Yet others take on a different out look on grafﬁti. Writing on walls with
By Christine Eusebio
spray cans, markers or any kind of tool that produces marks on public areas has been around for decades. Whether to send a message to the world at large, or to show ones artistic ability, there are many controversies surrounding the grafﬁti world. “I like how some of it looks on the walls,” says Ryan Atherton, a California native who also grew up in an area ﬁlled with grafﬁti. “It really depends on how it looks when you pass it by. Like some of it doesn’t appeal to me, where the writings are not artistic looking, or looks like a bunch of scribbles. But if you pass by a wall where there’s some scribbles and a visual that looks like a painting, that’s impressive.” Ofcourse, there’s always a difference in opinion that can sharply contrast with the old and new generations of Los Angeles natives.
“It’sall allininthe theeye eyeof of “It’s thebeholder beholder the socall callititwhat what so you want.” you want.”
(Continued from page 13) Priscilla, a 31-year-old school teacher in the Los Angeles district, is crossed between like and dislike for the grafﬁti world. “It’s all in the eye of the beholder so call it what you want,” says Priscilla. “Like the ones at Venice beach or on 50th and Crenshaw are amazing. But the writings on the freeway or on neighborhood look tacky or trashy.” “I don’t mind it and I don’t actually pay any attention to it,” says Jose, a college student at a local university in Los Angeles. “I mean, who cares. It’s not leaving, and police and clean-up crew could try to stop it, but growing up here in LA, you see it everywhere. It comes and goes, but it will always be around, like cockroaches.”
Whether against grafﬁti in general or not, it is certain that this type of culture will be around for a very long time. From tags on trains to painted beautiful masterpieces created on walls, there will always be someone who’s willing to create it or destroy it. Some say it wrecks our community, leaving a distasteful thought of high crime happening in ones society where this type of culture dwells. Others see it as self-expression. An outlet for grafﬁti artists that some people can’t or choose not to understand. No matter what culture one is from, or how many times a clean-up crew “erases” grafﬁti tags, there’s always going to be another grafﬁti artist waiting around the corner for the opportunity, with a spray can in his hand.