Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Woospace Artist: Gaijin Fujita

I like Gaijin's work, how he mixes tagging and Japanese prints. He has mastered stencil painting. He studied with some of the same Professors I did, and apparently, he's a good guy and sells quite a bit of work. Here's part of his art story:

One of Fujita's most important early discoveries came by chance. While he'd been aware of the tags around him, it was later, while traveling from East L.A. to Fairfax High School, a visual arts magnet, that he learned the form's true beauty. "It wasn't just gang writing," recalls Fujita. "It was more stylized and taken from the New York subway art culture." The thing that struck him the most were placas, letter designs, used to claim turf, which can take up the entire side of a building.

Thanks to traffic and the frequent stops of the MTA bus he rode every day, Fujita had two hours in the morning and another two in the afternoon to get to know the urban landscape. "Buses are just the worst, but that was the roots, the beginning, of my graffiti," he says. He also discovered that the kids making the placas were on the bus too. The long ride allowed him to learn the finer points of tagging and the more sophisticated and colorful "bombing": He met crews with names like Hollywood agencies: WCA (rich Westsiders who call themselves West Coast Artists), and KSN (Hollywood's Kings Stop at Nothing), KGB (Kids Gone Bad, Hollywood and midtown).

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