Best of Yay! LA: Street Art & Graffiti

0 Comments 24 September 2016

The best of Yay! LA’s graffiti and street art coverage.

by Daniel Barron



Yay! LA was and still to a large extent has remained a scrappy upstart in the world of creative arts journalism. My lack of experience in blogging made me a rakish Tramp to the competition’s preening Lady. But with the help of a growing collective, we nibbled up the spaghetti strand, lips locked on opportunity in a flushed, moist, pucker. We began in the haze of a street art Summer of Love and now leave with it in a state of hibernation. One thing is for sure: when the time is right and the walls get talking again, there will be young punks irresponsible enough to answer the call.

This compilation of our features on graffiti, street art, and other public forms includes a few seminal profiles that I think really helped put us on the map (relatively speaking). Indelible figures like Annie Preece, Gregory Siff, and Lydia Emily set a very high bar regarding the depth that I could be able to expect from my interview subjects. I had no idea at the time how much they were spoiling me.

Hopefully they will have value to you, as well.



“Lydia Emily: Say Something” (Published 2/27/12)

by Daniel Barron

In our in-depth profile, political artist Lydia Emily Archibald discussed Tibet, her foundations in activism, and why it’s vital for artists to speak up.

Quote: “The way I was raised was: ‘Say something.’  There’s a motto in my family which is, ‘Once you know, you can’t not know.”’

Read here.

“Jessica’s Story” mini-doc

[NOTE: A lot has changed in Lydia Emily’s life since our feature was published. If you were intrigued by what you read above, we strongly recommend you consult Deborah Vahnkin’s excellent profile on her that ran in The Los Angeles Times this past December.]



“The Muses of Samir Arghandiwall” (Published 5/22/13)

by Daniel Barron

Muralist Samir Arghandiwall aka EVOL detailed what inspires him and what it means to be a part of the graffiti collective The 7th Letter.

Quote: “I did a 50 Cent production in South Central and three cops parked their car and just watched me work.  The whole time I’m thinking they had a problem with it and surely enough they went, ‘We want you to come into our division and we want you to paint our gym.’  So I went into their station and did that for them.  And they paid me.’”

Read here.



Jim Daichendt (Published 11/5/13)

by Daniel Barron

Journalist, author, and oft-pro-claimed “Professor Street Artist” Jim Daichendt delved into his fascination with the form and putting together his book on Shepard Fairey.

Quote: “While the politics [of street art] can be unsettling, I do admire the enthusiasm of these relationships and there is something attractive about it, something that is missing inside the academic art world.”

Read here.

TED Talk: “The Streets As Canvas”.



The Draculas Take POW! WOW! Long Beach (Published )

In this mini-doc muralist duo Gary William Musgrave & Jeff McMillan, aka The Draculas, talk their collab for the 2016 POW! WOW! Long Beach festival.

Read here.



The Flower Pepper Gallery presents “Skate & Create” (Published 8/29/14)

Journalist, professor, and author Jim Daichendt curated an exhibition at the Flower Pepper Gallery that challenged street artists to bring attitude to skate decks.

Read here.



Artist Spotlight: GMONIK (Published 9/4/16)

Artist Spotlight on San Diego-based muralist and sculptor GMONIK.

Read here.



“The 100 Little Stories of Illma Gore” (Published 3/9/15)

by Daniel Barron

Australian-born street artist Illma Gore discussed raising herself, being a provocateur, stripping for gay rights, and more in our September 2014 studio visit. Featuring an original photoshoot by b4flight.

Quote: “My house literally had a crate, a TV we found on the curb, a park bench that was a couch, and I slept on the ground in my room. And Child Services was like, ‘Okay, good to know you’re safe,’ and left [laughs]! It’s funny now, this guy who murdered two chicks and was on the run. And his best friend would get me and my sister, who is my identical twin, to say that we had a cold so that we could buy flu tablets at the pharmacy.”

Read here.



The Hueman Element” (Published 8/16/13)

by Daniel Barron

Allison Torneros aka Hueman elaborated on her free-flowing style when we took a visit to her DTLA studio in the Spring of 2013. Featuring original photos by Alie Lustig.

Quote: “It’s more about the feeling rather than the story.   When you dream and you wake up sometimes you might now remember everything that happened but you remember images and you remember the way that you felt. And that’s how I feel about my art.”

Read here.



Photo: Michael Rababy

“The Reignition of Kerry Kyatt” (Published 10/10/14)

by Daniel Barron

Longtime friends reconnected as Kerry Hyatt, aka KH No.7, was putting the finishing touches on her redefining solo show in October of 2014. Featuring an original photoshoot by Michael Rababy.

Quote: “It was a completely new time for me. [My boyfriend] is a poet. I started reading poetry, I’d never read poetry before, and decided to come up with a whole show based off of light and poetry and love.”

Read here.



“HUSH Discusses the ‘Allure’ of His Work” (Published 5/27/16)

by Daniel Barron

UK painter and muralist HUSH spoke about the philosophies that drive his art in advance of his May 2016 solo show at the Corey Helford Gallery.

Quote: “I’ve painted Black girls, French girls, Spanish, Brazilian, and so on. But I take away their ethnic backgrounds when I paint them. I make them white and I also take away the eyes. And what you’re left with is just a feminine presence. And that’s what I’m after, really, to capture that hold of the female presence.”

Read here.


Photo: Brent Broza

Photo: Brent Broza

“DABSMYLA & Modernice Go Big with ‘Before and Further'” (Published 10/16/15)

Famed street art duo DABSMYLA launched their most ambitious installation yet with their takeover of the Modernica factory space for “Before and Further.”

Read here.



MDMN: Gigantic” (Published 8/10/14)

by Daniel Barron

Muralist and illustrator John Moody, aka MDMN, got frank about the state of the LA street art scene and his ambitions for the future.

Quote: “You’re not just on one street calling yourself a street artist.  No, if I go to the fuckin’ Santa Monica pier I can see you.  If I go to Burbank I see you.  If I go to Downtown Los Angeles I see you.  If I drive through Downtown to my house through mid-city I see you.  You know what I mean?  Let alone the last place I see you is in my neighborhood in LA or Hollywood.  I see you everywhere else.  That’s what street art needs to be to save street art.”

Read here.



“MEAR ONE Faces the Music For Jam in the Van” (Published 4/14/16)

by Daniel Barron

Legendary graffiti artist MEAR ONE talked getting started, getting political, and mural for Jam in the Van’s mobile music studio.

Quote: “Graffiti art was a cultural movement that came from the ghetto, from poverty, from having less and not having access to museums and art galleries. Just reinventing art for ourselves.”

Read here.



“Jake Merten: Excelsior!” (Published 8/31/14)

by Daniel Barron

Jake Merten told us his secret origin, and how a love of comics and gaming would later inject four-color blood into his life as a street artist.

Quote: “I want to put something up there where someday some kid looking back will say, ‘I fucking remember that mural, and it made me become creative.’  I think that murals and public art have the ability to change social perspective and affect the cultural vernacular.”

Read here.



“Annie Preece: Let Them Talk” (Published 2/11/13)

by Daniel Barron

Street artist Annie Preece candidly reflected on her career, confronting haters, and kicking the habit.

Quote: “I was sitting on the edge of Skid Row and I had this moment where I thought, ‘I’m not worth this.  I’m an artist.  I’m a daughter.  I am worth.  More.  Than.  This.’”

Read here.





Photo: Listak

Cecilia Romero

“Exuberance” at the Stone Malone Gallery.

Mural time-lapse video.



“Global Artist Band Together for Sea Walls” (Published 9/8/14)

We spotlighted the “Sea Walls: Murals For Oceans” festival on Isla Mujeres in Mexico, hosted by Pangeaseed.

Read here.


Photo: the1point8

Photo: the1point8

Gregory Siff: Immortal” (Published 2/25/13)

by Daniel Barron

Neo-Abstract-Expressionist painter Gregory Siff got real about his creative process, dream project, and the moment that made him rethink his career.

Quote: “I saw one of my friends who I went to school with in a Honeycomb cereal commercial with Andre the Giant and I loved wrestling at the time and I was like, ‘How do I get in a commercial and hang out with Andre the Giant?  How do you do that?’”

Read here.


Photo: Birdman

Photo: Birdman

“Zombie: ‘Jesus Died So That You Could Party'” (Published 2/12/12)

by Daniel Barron

His day job may entail cooking for wealthy patrons, but by night he haunted the rooftops as ‘Zombie.’

Quote: “I cook for older people, middle to upper-class, who in my opinion would probably want me arrested if they knew what I did.”

Read here.

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- who has written 424 posts on Yay! LA | Arts & Culture Magazine.

Rudderless college graduate Daniel Barron founded Yay! LA Magazine on a love of writing, passion for the arts, and a firm belief that people really like talking about themselves. He contributed to a number of publications, including LA Music Blog and the defunct The Site Unscene, before deciding to cover arts and entertainment the way he wanted to read it. He works as a freelance writer and digital PR consultant in his current home of Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @YayDanielBarron.

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