Roll Call, curated by Gajin Fujita

Jose Reza (Prime)
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Los AngelesArt & Culture

Roll Call, curated by Gajin Fujita

No Angels: the law-breaking artists who have shaped and defined the street art culture of Los Angeles...

‘Los Angeles is the city that raised me, its streets guided me, and graffiti was my transport.’ Fascinated by the scene taking off in New York, after seeing iconic street culture movie Style Wars in the early 1980s, Gajin Fujita is one of L.A.’s street art pioneers; and he speaks passionately about his life’s obsession. ‘Graffiti took me all over the city, seeking out prime real estate to stake my claim, tag my name and flex my skills. It’s how I came to know all the artists in this exhibition; some of us go back almost 30 years.’

Gajin Fujita

Gajin Fujita. Courtesy, L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

That exhibition? Roll Call, a coming together of 11 artists curated by Fujita; opening 16 November at Venice gallery, L.A. Louver. ‘We were lured by the potential of street fame and notoriety,’ explains Fujita of KGB (Kidz Gone Bad), the burgeoning crew he had formed with school friends Alex Kizu (Defer) and Jesse Simon in 1984, ‘fuelled by the adrenaline rush of breaking the law — working covertly and on constant alert, our heads on a swivel.’

The movement would gain momentum, and L.A. would soon be on the map alongside the East Coast city Fujita and his friends were inspired by. The City of Angels has a much longer heritage with street art, though, long predating the ‘wild style’ imported from New York; gangs had been marking their territory with tags since the 1940s, and the inclusion of graffiti forefather Chaz Bojorquez (who created his first spray paint stencil motif in 1969) in this exhibition pays respect to that heritage. Retna, renowned for his hieroglyphic-like letter forms, and rising star Patrick Martinez represent the city’s fresher blood.

‘To me, these artists are a cross section of generations and geographies of graffiti,’ says Fujita of his curated 11, ‘this show is a reflection of the people that have impacted my life, and the city of Los Angeles.’

The full list of L.A. artists involved in the exhibition: Chaz Bojorquez; David Cavazos (Big Sleeps); Fabian Debora; Ricardo Estrada; Gajin Fujita; Alex Kizu (Defer); Patrick Martinez; Retna; Jose Reza (Prime); Jesse Simon; Slick.

@LALOUVER

Chaz Bojorquez

Chaz Bojorquez
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Fabian Debora

Fabian Debora
Innocence Over Destruction, 2011
acrylic on canvas
78 x 73 in. (198.1 x 185.4 cm)
© Fabian Debora
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Chaz Bojorquez

Chaz Bojorquez
One world culture, 2014
acrylic paint on canvas
75 1/2 x 66 1/2 in. (147.3 x 170.2 cm)
© Chaz Bojorquez
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Slick

Slick
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Patrick Martinez

Patrick Martinez
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Alex Kizu

Alex Kizu (Defer)
Lineage, 2016
acrylic on canvas
48 1/4 x 36 in. (122.6 x 91.4 cm)
© Alex Kizu (Defer)
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Jose Reza

Jose Reza (Prime)
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

David Cavazos

David Cavazos (Big Sleeps)
A War Story, 2016
mixed media on canvas
31 3/16 x 23 in. (81.3 x 58.4 cm)
© David Cavazos (Big Sleeps)
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Gajin Fujita

Gajin Fujita
Kidz Gone Bad, 2016
Spraypaint, paint markers, markers, meanstreak,
12k white gold leaf and 24k gold leaf on wood panel
10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm)
© Gajin Fujita
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Retna

Retna
She’s Got A Slight Grip On My Eye, 2016 acrylic on canvas
78 x 108 in. (198.1 x 274.3 cm) © Retna
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Slick

Slick
Handsome, 2016
Each panel: 60 x 36 x 1 In. (152.4 x 91.4 cm)
Diptych: 60 x 72 x 1 In. (152.4 x 182.9 cm) © Slick
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Slick

Slick
CMYKutter, 2016
aerosol spray paint on wood panel
48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm) © Slick
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Patrick Martinez

Patrick Martinez
los angeles flower still life, 2016
ceramic, neon and mixed media on panel with wall stucco
48 x 84 in. (121.9 x 213.4 cm) © Patrick Martinez
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Jesse Simon

Jesse Simon
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Ricardo Estrada

Ricardo Estrada
Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

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