The first question is rather very repetitive, but we want the world to know who you are, so tell us the basic details. Who are you and what started the love of art deep down inside of heart?
Well, my name is EZRA One from Los Angeles, Cali. I have been doing Graffiti for about 24 years now, and I still love it just as much as when I have just started. I’m the type of artist/writer that has always wanted to master everything that this art form has to offer. I feel really comfortable with the can and now I feel there is nothing I can do with aerosol.
I basically started drawing at a very young age. I could remember loving to draw from my kindergardten years, maybe about 5 yrs old. In the beginning I was drawing my own crazy bird character. I feel art is something that is truly unexplainable. To me I feel that it completes me and it defines me as a whole. Without it I would have a missing place within my heart because it completes me as a whole. Ecentially, if you want to know me fully, truly, and honestly, you must understand my art.
Graffiti was introduced to me at a very young age. I think, maybe, it might be because of the fact that I live in L.A. Anyone that knows anything about graffiti knows that L.A. is like a capitol city for graffiti. The city where there is a lot of Cholo graffiti as well as traditional graffiti. Growing up I would be traveling on trains and cars and would see this art on the freeway. I guess it was because my eyes were like super-glued to all the windows, that this form of art got stuck like a tattoo in my brain. I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing graffiti, so it made me want to learn it. I think all street artists need to be quite and be addicted at staring at walls. We love what most people don’t, so we are all truly rare. This is our own culture so study every aspect of it to understand it.
I come from California myself, so I know about the dangers and whatnot. Could you inform people of the dangers of doing graffiti in L.A. I know L.A. spends more than $100 million dollars a year fighting graffiti covering up some nice pieces with Palimino beige. What are the consequences.
Well before, or in the past, you would just get slapped with a ticket and it would be a misdemeanor. Now a days it is considered to be a felony or even a terroristic offense. You can get some serious jail time, especially if you have done a lot of damage. If you get caught, they will drive around your town and look for every one of your vandalistic expressions. If you get caught, then they will try to charge you for more than one. Because these cops are stupid and can’t read our language that we write in, they might charge you for someone else’s piece. Honestly, who has perfected reading Wild Style? Honestly there is a government group that even goes down under bridges covering up graffiti. They write your name down and put you into a black book. When they catch you or if, your rights are taken away from you. They can pat you down and search your car when they run your ID. It is complete bullshit. I have friends that have served jail time for graffiti. So just be a ninja or RUN!!
How about 1 or 2 war stories. Running from police and what not. These are always my favorite.
Well, here in L.A. you come across many dangers. The dangers are major. They can include anything from running from police, getting chased by the Ghetto bird (helicopters), even getting shot, stabbed, or being jumped by some Gangs.
The one story, that stands out in my mind, is unforgettable. I will always remember this. A friend of mine fell off a the top of a drive in movie screen. We were way high up. I could not believe that he survived this shit. We were up painting an abandoned drive in theater facing the 110 freeway. He took a wrong step and fell in between whatever holds the screen and the base. We had to rush him to the hospital that night. He was badly hurt but in the end, he was ok.
For you, what was the hardest thing that you have had to conquer to develop you talent.
Well like I said, I have always been an artist ever since I could remember. I guess I was born to do art. I never had any proper teachings or training when I was growing up. I did not like school so much. I did go to school, but I chose the wrong profession in the beginning because all they taught was digital art. I have to say, to all of the artists in the world if you feel you have some talent let the hate of the world motivate you. Negativity can bring you down or up.
So I feel that I learned everything trough graffiti. Shapes, realism, lighting, typography, etc. I just managed to apply that in my other works today, from painting to graphic design. Art is about details. Study everything. Even boring thing, just make every aspect interesting. Make your eyes into a microscope and study everything.
The hardest thing I had to learn in graffiti was conquering a straight or clean line. Graffiti has 3 worlds. One is clean and perfect. Which is very important. One is sloppy, and thew other is the 3-d dimension. Well, honestly, I have not perfected it, so all of this is theory.
I believe that in order to do graffiti or piecing, the best thing is being able to master the can so you can be able to do an outline in one shot. To me, that was a big thing. I practiced this for years and now with these new paint it makes it way easy. If you are an old school artist, in the caveman days, it was tester caps, krylon, or rustos ..in those time doing a straight line was tough. In the beginning of graffiti cats would go into hardware store and steal the caps off of oven cleaner cans. Rack that shitWhat inspires you, and from the past to the present, was there anything that hindered your motivation. Some people lose their motivation did you? If so how did you get it back?
Well I really never lost my motivation. I have been fortunate enough to paint with some great people. In my life, I have met a lot of amazing successful graffiti artist. They actually motivate me and make me aim for higher goals. Also, you don’t have to be an accomplished person to help me. Normal people motivate me. Believe it or not, I feel that I get more love, acceptance, and appreciation from strangers on the streets than from my own family. One thing that I want artists to embrace is to keep the negativity out of your mind and look at all the positive things and how people react to your art .
Although graffiti is the most disrespected form of art, it has come a long way. Where do you see graffiti going in the next 20 years?
I think graffiti has reached a peak as we speak. Right now, there are people out there doing some amazing and incredible things. I can’t really predict what form it will take in 20 years. I think it all has to do with technology. I think that graffiti lives in a world of it’s own and I want it to keep it’s purity and not focus on technology. Maybe in the future there will be a lazer that you can do tags on buildings with or something like that…haha
Do you have any advise for today’s and the future artists?
Well, I love what the new kids are doing, but the only advice I would have is to know your history. We would not be here today if it was not for the OG’s in the past. Advise is forget what everyone says and paint. Nevermind your parents, teachers, friends, haters, or toy. My advise is simple…PAINT!!!
Ask yourself a question that I did not ask, because the world of graffiti is infinite and I want you to hit on a key point.
Well now days, graffiti is becoming commercialized. I believe very much, that a lot of us artists are getting ripped off by corporations. The money hungry monsters are stealing our work. Also, they are not paying us what it is worth. You see designers , ads, etc. all trying to mimic our art form, but it just looks stupid. Even when they give commission an artist, they pay them pennies when it should be dollars. So I feel us as artist, shouldn’t undersell ourselves. We have risked a lot to get to this point and this is who we are. Graffiti stands alone now, as its own movement and culture, it has its roots in hip-hop but now its broken off into its own thing.
Freedom. Give your shout outs or do whatever you want here!
– Haha! Well shout out to all my crew family , LOD ( loks on dope) Dtk (Down to kill) Uca (Undercover artist) Also our close family crew OTR (on the run) Besk, Duel,Damet
– Frame – Vogu – Uzi -Make – Mosh – panic -Size – volt – Dream SMD ( Rip)
– Pose 2 – Sky – Charlie dtk
– Ket – Ern and anyone I forgot love you guys
Also…everyone who has ever supported me ..
My kids who really love what I do, and my beautiful queen Eva (She always has my back and pushes me)
Also to the haters, because of you I know I am doing it right.. huaahhahahah