artist and musician, is the founder of the Graff Lab in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles. The program aims to turn street taggers into skilled artists. There is only one rule: No gangsters. (Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times / October 1, 2010)
Last week the LA TIMES ran a feature article on Ricky Guerrero and The Graff Lab. The Rick Rojas story appeared in the November 14th edition of the paper.
“The afternoon sun sears Louie Mesa as he stands on cracked pavement in a black ball cap, black T-shirt and dark jeans. The sweat on his brow doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s savoring his canvas.The battered wall in front of him may be a hodgepodge of bright colors and scattered patterns from taggers past, but on this slate Mesa sees a dream.He’s been in this spot for hours, arriving at 9:30 a.m. after a restless night, painting from memory a piece of art that has been sketching itself out in his mind for days. He’s illustrated his name with block letters and filled it in with silver paint and airy patterns. Mesa said it was his third visit to the Graff Lab in the Pico-Union neighborhood, a weekend program that aims to transform street taggers into skilled artists. The Graff Lab offers space on walls that wrap around the office complex of the Pico Union Housing Corp. There is only one rule: No gangsters.
“It’s not defacing property; it’s an art form,” said founder Ricardo Guerrero. “They can be whatever they want, but when they cross through those doors, they are an artist.”