Interview with EYE one of los angeles

January 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

 

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Neighborhood Love: 
What neighborhood did you grow up in what and what neighborhood you represent now?
Eye One: 
I was born in Mexico City, Colonia Agrícola Oriental would be the neighborhood. My family moved to L.A. when I was six and we bounced around quite a bit. First area we lived in is now called Virgil Village (I think), followed by Silverlake, then the part of Echo Park now known as Angelino Heights, down to Historic Filipinotown aka Temple / Beaudry, over to Atwater, up to Glendale, and now back in Atwater with a studio in Alhambra. Growing up, I just considered everywhere I lived L.A. until we moved to Glendale, which I just thought was the Valley. I attended seven schools between first and twelfth grades, all within out excellent Los Angeles Unified School District. I guess it’s hard to represent a hood when moving around so much, but I guess as of late I’m pretty much stuck in North East L.A.

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 Neighborhood Love:
Let’s talk about a little about seeking heaven crew. what year did it start and what part have you played in it?
Eye One:
I got put in Seeking Heaven in 1999. I grew up around their work, so I was way stoked when they asked me to join. The first time I did anything as a crew member with them was a production at the Blue Lagoon, and from then on I tried to help with whatever I could – filling in, backgrounds, characters, and sometimes letters. All the SH’ers are a big influence and have been way supportive and I’m thankful they gave me a chance to be a part of the crew – Acme, Asylm, Atomik, Bash, Cloud9 aka Odin, Dcline, Dmise, Dre, Kozem, Mel, Modem, Nerv, Panic, Precise, Pride, Quest, Relik, Sed, Size, Swank, Ware, and the rest of the Sky High’ers.
I’ve helped organize some art shows for the crew, try to document as much of our work as possible, and maintain a bit of online presence for the crew.
I’m also in STN, which people may not know. Tempt and Defer brought me in. I think I’ve probably lagged in doing a lot of graffiti work with Second To None, but I’ve been involved with them on other projects. Early on I worked on Big Time with Tempt and Relic. I’ve been involved in projects in support of Tempt. I’ve also participated in some crew art stuff, most recently a blackbook project for the Getty Research Institute for which I was a co-curator with fellow STN’ers Defer, Heaven, and Prime, as well as Axis and Cre8.

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Neighborhood Love:
I have to say the mid 90s were a slow time for graffiti in Los Angeles, But you really documented a lot of fresh stuff and put it together in your book. Where did that inspiration come from?
Eye One:
In the late 80s and 90s I was involved with a community cultural center where we had all sorts of music, art exhibitions, readings, and more. I didn’t have the foresight – or the resources – to document any of it.
So at some point in the middle of the 90s I managed to get my hands on a point-and-shoot camera and got access to Costco’s film department. I finally got the means and the determination to start chronicling all the things I was into, and graffiti was at the top of the list. I started shooting as much as I could.
Taking a cue from the hardcore / straightedge / punk scene I was involved with, I decided to make a zine called “Lost | Graffiti in the City of Angels” using all the photos I was taking. I was way into getting my hands on zines from other people so I figured I could make my own, DIY style.
Tempt put out an article in Big Time about independent graffiti zines from all over, so that pushed me to keep going with it as much as I could. Gloze 54 hooked me up with printing and Dersk gave me some disks with the software I needed to go digital, so from that point, Lost just kept evolving. In 2008, I decided to do the compilation book you are refering to, which featured 10 years of documenting graffiti in L.A.
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Neighborhood Love:
Having documented so much can you tell me your all-time graffiti favorites in Los Angeles?
Eye One:
I started writing a list and it’s taken me like a month, so I decided to leave it alone. Basically, I can’t say I have a favorite. Anyone who has ever taken a mean streak, marker, scriber, or can to the surfaces of our city has contributed to build this movement. Big props to all of L.A.’s graffiti practitioners, from the beginners to the seasoned oldsters…
Neighborhood Love:
I noticed the last few years your style is taking on a more graphic design feel very cleaning blocky where’s that flow coming from?
Eye One:
I think part of that comes from my early exposure to gang lettering as well as the graffiti of the K2S and STN dudes… I also love typography and solid letterforms, particularly bold typefaces, chunky slab serifs, extra black san serif fonts, etc. I’m also into street lettering, from signage to protest slogans painted with brush. The graphics of bands I like really had an impact: band logos, flyers, t-shirts, record covers and all that.
I got a degree in graphic design and have been working in the field for a while now, so I’m sure it has definitely creeped into my work.
I also feel that working with limited supplies and cheap paint led me to streamline a lot of my graffiti. Black, silver, red, and white were easy to get cheap, for example, and that was my palette for a long time. Those colors lend themselves well to blocky, bold work and reflect a lot of the graphic design that inspires me.
Character-wise, I try to fit the style to who I’m painting with. Since most of my Zapatistas have been painted on walls with Cache, I try to keep a clean, graphic animation style. I also grew up with Japanese cartoons, comics, etc. and the graphic nature of those definitely inspired me.
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Neighborhood Love:
I’ve seen the You have participated in gallery shows over the years, how do you feel about the gallery scene in Los Angeles and across the nation now?
Eye One:

The gallery scene is a mixed and complicated bag. It is difficult to talk about ONE gallery scene, as galleries seem to operate as different cliques, both locally and internationally. Galleries and curators tend to run with their selected group of people and vie for audiences, artists, collectors, and funding. In the larger world of art, they fill a purpose. In the graffiti context, I feel like they are another space to show work in / on.

As far as my role within that system, I’ve participated in shows big and small throughout the years in different spots.  I approach my gallery work in a different context than my street work for the most part, so it often causes some confusion as I don’t really show the same type of work I do in the streets. The stuff I’ve shown in gallery and museum exhibitions tends to be more introverted and personal; my work on the streets attempts to respond to and address the communities in which I paint.
Neighborhood Love:
Let’s talk hood, Name some your favorite places to eat growing up or favorite things to do in the hood.
Eye One:
I love walking and riding my bike all over the city. You get to experience so much, and a lot of my work is based on things I document on these journeys. The L.A. River is one of my all-time favorite places in the world. I think Barnsdall Art Park and the Griffith Observatory are two of the raddest places in the city. I like Chinatown and Little Tokyo. My Grandma took me all over Downtown L.A. in the pre-gentrification days, and I still like going there despite the changes.
As far as places to eat growing up, my family mostly ate at home. I started going out to eat more as an adult; currently among the top spots I like are Happy Family in Monterey Park and Garvanza’s in Highland Park (which I hear just closed…) I also like ATX in Atwater, especially their happy hour.
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Neighborhood Love:
You think your neighborhood help influence the artwork that you do?
Eye One:
I think the fact I moved around so much exposed me to so many different things visually and in terms of style that I absorbed the visuals from all around town. Hopefully that comes through in my work.

Neighborhood Love:

What are your plans for the upcoming future you have any big projects coming up?

Eye One:
The most recent project which I worked on and was just completed -at least the initial phase of it- was helping curate a Los Angeles graffiti blackbook for the Getty Research Institute. The next phases are still in discussion, and hopefully soon some of those plans can be made public. Outside of that, I’m working on a new body of work, some new zines, and trying to get back on my bike more often.
Neighborhood Love:
And of course lasts you have a shout out to people you like to mention or things he would like people to attend or be a part of? thanks again for your time homie
Eye One:
Thanks to Neighborhood Love and Elser for letting me share some thoughts and some of my work.
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