Slanguage’s ‘take-over’ of LA><ART has been a great success since its opening last month. Along with great reviews from the LA Times and other media sources, we are also honored to be in the running for the Mohn Award! Hard work pays off — and with the wonderful team of resident artists and supporters, we are continuing to see a brighter future.
In addition, it’s important for us at Slanguage to spotlight those artists who have helped create the visual images throughout the years. Right now, we’ like to recognize the three artists who painted the mural that is beautifully laid out on the front of the LA><ART building. The artists involved in the creation of this mural titled Peace in Wilmas are Mario “Dred” Lopez, Mario “Autoe” Cuen and Raul “Spew” Vasquez. I got a chance to find out more about the mural and their work.
More after the jump.
Mario “Dred” Lopez
I met up with Dred at his pad in Wilmington to find out more about the Peace in Wilmas mural and get his take as an artist. As I walked in his backyard, I caught him grilling some bomb smelling carne asada, portabello mushrooms and roasted corn, which definitely set the ambiance for a good interview….
Was the mural planned out? How was it executed?
When Karla approached us about it, we decided on all three of us coming up with ideas and a design and something like a sketch. They gave me the ideas. I then got the images off the internet. On Photoshop I put them together, cut and paste, to see what it would look like. And then from there, we made a sketch out of it. With that sketch, we presented it to [Mario and Karla], they approved it, and we went from there. We used the [sketch] as a little layout, but we already knew we would go inside there, add more stuff to it, and do spontaneous live art.
Were there any specific parts you focused on?
I wanted to do more of the realistic like characters, faces, hands and stuff like that.
What was the overall meaning of the mural suppose to be?
The whole thing was about Wilmington and Slanguage taking over that art studio. We wanted to do a take-over representing Wilmington, Slanguage and what Slanguage is all about [including] the whole community thing, and we brought that to La Cienega.
What type of materials did you use?
We used spray-paint, acrylics and just regular house paint for the sketch. We first sketched it with white roller to do the hands and all the layout, and then we came in with the black, gray and went from there.
How long did it take to finish the mural?
It took three days. The first day we got a lot done and that is how we got to finish in just a couple more days. I did not even expect to do that much the first day because the size of it.
How do you feel about the attention Slanguage’s Take Over and the mural are getting?
It feels awesome just for people to see it on La Cienega and the newspaper, which is everywhere. I was not expecting that and it’s awesome.
What kind of message would you like the public to get out of it when they visit the mural or just drive-by it?
The two hands are two peace signs. And I want them to kind of understand that there is peace in the bad areas too. We are representing the humble part of the community.
Raul “Spew” Vasquez
It was a sweltering Monday afternoon when I drove to Long Beach to meet with Slanguage’s Raul “Spew” Vasquez. I knew I would have a great time talking to this cat because he always has something outstanding to say. He invited me to one of his homies house where he was going to be recording that same afternoon. His homies decided to pull out the bbq grill and pop some cold ones open to celebrate the heat. (I ‘m lucky once again — bbq!) After a bit of cooling down, I got down to the nitty gritty and asked him about his involvement with the mural.
How did you get to participate in the painting of this mural?
I was asked to do the mural by Slanguage Studio, Mario Ybarra and Karla with a “K”.
Did you focus on any specific part of the mural?
I ended up free-styling the decoration of the candles on the right and left side of the mural. I worked with a geometric abstract style, which combined, into one leads to abstrtic, abstric is geometric in abstract combined in one formatted handstyle.
Why the candles?
Candles…to tell you the truth, I was not the planner of the outline or sketch of that. I just proceeded into the declaration of the mural.
Why do you sound like a robot right now? (Laughter)
Because I am forced to talk in this mechanical language, so I can distribute my mechanisms to your atmosphere!
What does the mural mean to you?
The mural to me means history. Anything done on a surface or a piece of material is history. It is like when you burn a piece of wood or charcoal on the grill… it is history.
What history do you see in this specific mural?
The history of my life, their life, our life, its history, and it is a stepping-stone for more art and more decoration throughout the universe. It is entertainment on a surface.
How do you feel about the recent press attention the show and mural has gotten?
As you know, the Los Angeles Times has been around for a very long time documenting issues, agendas, and situations in Los Angeles and throughout the universe, so it feels original, it feels random and it feels exciting to know that it has been documented.
What do you want the public to get out of the mural when they stop by to see it or drive-by it in their car?
Okay, as it is a piece of art and it being on a building, that does not belong to either one of us. It is a form of graffiti, a form of ownership, a form of taking over, our takeover.
As far as art goes, I am not really into portraits, like butterflies, or like fairies. I am more of a monster kind of guy, only because I can’t draw cute things. That is not me. My attitude is straight like beer and salted peanuts with lemon and…chili!
So the message you want them to know is that?
I want them to know that my art is rough, my hands are rough and my toes are super rough!
Mario “Autoe” Cuen
What was your perspective on the planning of the mural?
Dred and I started with a design on paper and then moved it to a computer to help visualize what it would look like on the wall. Once we got to the wall, we had an idea of where and what everything was going to be placed, but then about half way through the creative juices really started to flow, then the freestyle began.
What part mural did you work on?
I would say it was split in half between Dred and myself with a little bit of spice from Spew, kinda like chili-cheese fries with pastrami on top and Thousand Island on the side.
What does this mural mean to you?
This mural represents the soul of Slanguage with the obvious hands coming together depicting a “W” — for the home base, but it also shows a woman and a man which represent Mario Ybarra Jr. and Karla Diaz, and the joint collaboration of artists in our community that make what we know now as Slanguage.
What message do you hope the public gets when they see the mural up close or drive-by in a car?
As an artist/muralist I don’t hope, I want people to create their own personal narratives of the message.
Dred: The whole crew, Slanguage crew, triple seven crew, the whole fam bam — everybody knows what’s up.
Spew: Julio Cesar Chavez, Los Relampagos, Ramón Ayala, Sade, Raquel Lugo, Perl One Fds, Swoe, Omar Vasquez, Slanguage Studio, La><art, Triple seven crew, and the most high that leads the universe into beautiful things.
Autoe: Big ups to my mom and dad for creating me, to my 21st century writers triple seven crew, rest in paradise to all my loved ones… We out…
To see the mural and to vote for us to win the Mohn award please visit LA><ART at:
2640 S. La Cienega Los Angeles, CA 90034
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
Thank you all!