The Seventh Letter: Where Artistic Expression Meets Dialogue

Los Angeles, California

In the Fairfax District of Los Angeles sits The Seventh Letter flagship store and gallery. The walls bloom and burst with colorful framed art, and in the back of the gallery hundreds of cans of spray paint sit  stacked six  feet tall  in small cardboard boxes, waiting patiently to be unwrapped. Walking up the staircase,   I peer around the corner into the room on  my right—nervousness creeps into my bones. Sitting at the table a group of artists and their friends chat and banter, everyone is so engaged no one really looks up—except for Willie T. A baker’s dozen of doughnuts and small containers of two percent milk wait, anticipating the next taker.

Condensation clings in small droplets on the kindergarten- size plastic milk jugs—a reminder that Saber, the DOPE video crew and I are late to the party. Willie T. plucks the doughnut box from the table and  carries it  over  our  way in an entertainment-like fashion—he has the better late than never look in his eyes, but his smile puts everyone at ease. At the head of the table sits Casey. Saber refers  to Casey, better known as Eklips, as the “first era.” Casey’s head tilts back and he laughs in pure enjoyment. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it’s been some time since this group was together as one. Just as they should be. Saber, Casey, Eddie, Sebastien, 2Shae, Willie T. and the crew invite us into their space with open arms and joints pass from hand to hand. The smoke is so thick in the room, someone actually mentions the lack of visibility from one end  of  the  table to  the other.

The Seventh Letter
The Seventh Letter

The Seventh Letter and its founder, Casey Zoltan, who also started AWR / MSK (which merged as one in 1999) have been fighting the war on graffiti since they were teens. Work by TSL artists can be found in cities across the globe and most TSL members will tell you that graffiti, as both an art form and lifestyle, saved their life. There are as many risks as there are rewards in the graffiti world. Saber, one of TSL’s most recognized artists, has broken bones and risked jail time for his craft. He shares, “I’ve had a lot of fucked up injuries doing this shit. Painting the river piece (the largest piece of graffiti ever created), I blew my knee out.” For the TSL artists, the city is their canvas and panning the city scene for the next place to plug in a painting is the norm. These days, the crew is more cautious of where their paint lands and they’ve made a sincere effort in creating art that is in compliance with the law.

The Seventh Letter
The Seventh Letter

Graffiti has deep roots, they stretch and tangle themselves in a world unseen by most of us. As Chaz Bojórquez put it, as  long as the  human  condition  suffers,  there  will be graffiti—it isn’t going  anywhere  as  a  form of artistic expression or dialogue. There is still a very strong resistance to graffiti as  an art form, and despite artists like Chaz having work on display in museums like the Smithsonian, many art critics and curators have a difficult time accepting graffiti as a valid art form. They clearly haven’t spent enough time with the members of The Seventh Letter. If they do, they will realize that most graffiti artists hone and develop their skills as writers, typographers, storytellers, sculptors or painters—just to name a few. Beyond that, a graffiti artist, from my minimal understanding, is an individual who makes sense of the world around them through visualization. Each time they embark on a new project, it is done in an effort to bring light to situations that are screaming for attention. What follows is a series of interviews DOPE Magazine conducted in July. We couldn’t be more thankful to have been accepted into the lives of The Seventh Letter artists, if even for a  brief time.

2Shae : A Rebel With a Heart of Gold

2Shae has a way of making you feel comfortable. Throughout the day I watch his eyes pan the room, it appears he’s looking to make sure that everyone is at ease and having a good time. He’s a bit of a jokester, too, using opportunities that pop up to tease me or the video crew. I like this about him. He’s like a pesky older brother you can’t help but love. At  one point during our interview, he says, “Am I talking weird?” He then proceeds to  tell us  that he’s just had surgery on the roof of his mouth, and has “like 20 stitches.” This makes the room laugh, and we assure him we never would’ve noticed if  he  hadn’t said anything.

2Shae - The Seventh Letter
2Shae – The Seventh Letter
Q | DOPE Magazine: From a young age, you’ve understood typography. Is typography what inspires you as a tattoo and graffiti  artist,  painter, etc.?

2Shae: Lettering and sculpting is needed in graffiti and tattooing. Pushing lettering to different styles of lettering. It came  naturally to me. It’s important within all   of   the   elements  in all of my favorite pieces of art. If I had to put stuff in order I wouldn’t say I love doing my typography, I love doing lettering. The  “Jack  of  all  trades,  master  of  none”-type  bullshit.  I  feel  I  am really good at illustration and blending lettering   forms with  it.  Finding  that  and  typography  played  a  huge  role  in   my growth. I like creating logos. I would put illustration work first. It’s hard to describe—it’s not just about characters, but about creating  content  within  a piece.

Q |  There’s a saying that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the  wrong  room.  You  borrow  a  similar  saying:  “If you  hang  around  with  nine  broke  motherfuckers,  you’ll  be the tenth.” How is this applicable to your world? Are you constantly striving to be surrounded by those who inspire and motivate  you?

A: But don’t you think it’s true? If you’re in a room with 10 of your friends  and  everyone  is  bummed  out,  and  no  one  wants  to do shit, then  you  aren’t  gonna  do  shit.  But  if  you’re  with  nine of your friends and they all wanna go crazy—even if  you  don’t want to—you’ll get dragged out and love it! If you want certain things, you should surround yourself with those people. I always  try to surround myself with the best people. Sometimes it’s your friends, and sometimes it’s not. One day I wanna be celebrating in a room with a bunch of motherfuckers I don’t know. I  am gonna have money, and all my real friends will be there.

Q | Has there been a time when you felt like, “I’ve  plateaued,  I  need  to  find  a new room to be in.” What steps do you take to get motivated?

A: I do still have the same groups of friends. A lot of stuff getting together and  idea bouncing . . . you idea jot, go crazy and stuff [pauses]. I think I got lost ‘cause I am high as fuck. You got me on  some  college  shit  or  something!  What the fuck was that all about? You know what side of  the  brain  I  use, fucker! [laughs]. Plateau, though? No way, I could never do that. Look around at the talent  in  this  room  (referring  to  surrounding  TSL  artists).  Trying  to find new stuff and new content to stay alive within [this world] is very hard. Especially right now . . . art is everywhere—it’s so boom, boom, boom because   of social media. A lot of people who might not have been recognized years ago can be found and start a career. That’s good for everybody.

Q | You say that there are three things you focus on while painting murals: expressions, patterns and movement. Has this focus allowed you  to  build  your own trajectory as a graffiti artist? Why do you put an emphasis on expression,  pattern  and  movement?

A: Those  three  elements—if  you  grab  those  within  a  drawing,  you’ll  win.  If    you can  hit  people  with  patterns,  their  eyes  will  register  that.  Especially  color patterns. The movement is always something people enjoy. Moving blended with subtle, abrupt stopping is right now, too—my illustrations are poster setups—good lettering, an energetic action scene. Like a book cover—it appeals to so many different things. The letter styling, the  painting  on  the  front  and  the energy.

Q |  A lot of artists tap into the darker  side  of  emotions  through  their  graffiti.  You  tend  to  make  light  of  dark  situations  in  your   work.   What   inspires your  direction?

A: If you can tap into different emotions, like the Pillhead character—I came from     a weird life of that. My parents were fucked up, and I always thought that that was normal. Then I grew up and realized it wasn’t. When I dug into that and played with that world for the last two years, it’s been self-healing. It’s been dope because I can tell people are appreciating  the  art and  it’s  resonating with them. I know what punchlines to hit. With art, when people find that spot in them and release it—depressing, sad, beautiful, energetic—no matter what it is, that it’s probably some of their best work and probably some of the best times  that  they’re having.

Q |  What’s your relationship with cannabis?

A: I’ve smoked bud my whole life, since I was nine or 10. I didn’t smoke heavily     until junior high or high school. From then on I was considered a stoner dude. I didn’t touch the other ones ‘til later on. Weed has always played a part in my life. It puts you in a world—getting high and drawing. You get everything prepared, and all you have to do is ink. And if you get stoned, it puts you in that mood. People use different things—alcohol—I just use weed. It’s safe.  I  can’t lie, drugs play a big role in my art. Sometimes I am scared that being too sober could stale it out, or make it not as creative or weird. That’s what I ride on—having stuff hidden in stuff. The layers of art on top of each other and the weirdness is created by being high, letting my imagination do what it does. Not to say it wouldn’t happen sober, but I’ve never really put effort into that.

My mouth is dry as shit! [laughs].


2Shae The Seventh Letter Art
2Shae The Seventh Letter Art

Kenton Parker : On Freewriting, His Favorite Pieces and Being “Always Sorry”

When we show up at Kenton’s studio he is sitting with a couple of friends, passing around a joint. They had just got back from happy hour, and I am glad to see that Kenton is relaxed. He’s known for unapologetically saying what’s on his mind in rapid-fire sentences—I’d been nervous about this interview since leaving Seattle. Across the room sitting on his desk are two miniature sculptures. One is a tiny replica of a Chanel storefront, which I recognize from my research. On the floor are pieces of his By Any Means Necessary installation—barbells made of concrete are slipped on old broom sticks and random pieces  of  wood—a comical ode  to  self-improvement. His  work  is  very much  a reflection of his storytelling process, and he’ll be the first to tell you that he has is  very aware of  his ad  nauseam attention to  detail—he is  a  Virgo,  after all.

Kenton Parker - The Seventh Letter
Kenton Parker – The Seventh Letter
Q |  DOPE Magazine: I read that you like to speak in rapid fire sentences laced with expletives. Have you always been a fast talker, and does creating art help you to slow down?

Kenton Parker: I’ve definitely always been a fragmented-sentence talker. I think someone said I was kinda like a stick  of  dynamite. Which I actually agree with . . . I’ll say to my girl or something, “You have to listen to the whole sentence before making up your mind.” Most people don’t have enough patience for me [laughs].

Q | One of your installations is entitled, “Always Sorry – Flower Shop.” Your work seems to be influenced by life’s challenges, heartache, emotion. Can you explain your process when  you  create  something  new?

A: I feel like my work is always super content driven, but also extremely journalistic. When I’m dead, you’ll be able to go through the whole thing and say, “Oh  shit,  this  is  what  this  kid  was  going  through.” All the starburst paintings are about individual people—mostly girls—that I [have] dated  or  gone  out  with.  Or  family  members and friends. All of the installations are about putting things on pedestals. The flower shop was like, shit, I  get  in  trouble  so  much with girls that my credit card was on file with the flower shop. It was always a joke to me—“always sorry.” . . . A girl told me once, “Why do you always give me flowers when you’re in the doghouse? I want flowers when you’re not in the doghouse!” I was like, “Oh, fuck.” And    I learned a giant lesson on that.

The Always Sorry Flower Shop was one of my funnest and best installations, ‘cause it hit such a homerun—with guys, mostly. From a beauty aspect it was gorgeous; the plants in the front lived and died and got replaced every week or whatever. You  had this sense     of life and death. The roof was always living, so you got this whole sense of the lifecycle. Flowers are super fragile,  and  I  compare  people to flowers. You’re fragile . . . I remember the first  time  I showed it, four days before the show I had to go home and put my dog down, then fly back and do this show. I put his collar in that installation. It was a really big deal for me at that point in time. That installation was super powerful and impactful to me.

Kenton Parker Always Sorry Flower Shop The Seventh Letter
Kenton Parker – The “Always Sorry” Flower Shop
Q | You liken your work to a journalist enterprise, and you free write every day. Do you think that you’d ever do a written piece, or something outside of your typical art form?

A: The text pieces, which is the freewriting that I do—it’s all on 8×11 sheets of paper. There are thousands of them. They’ve actually been a really cool concept. Freewriting was always the equivalent, to me, of getting through a thousand different ideas . . . I started showing them with my gallery primarily in Miami, and we started selling sheets of paper with things written on them. I sold one that said, “I’ll see it when I believe it.” It later became a mural in Miami, and did really well. It’s about manifesting your own dreams . . .

Some of the text pieces are really stupid, and some are emotional—a lot of them are vulgar, and a lot of them are straight out of the mouth. Ah, man. I just fucked that fucking shit up! A lot of them, when I am going in and out of relationships, will be about girls and raw emotions. I think what you get from freewriting is the rawness of it, which I like. I just got to co-write this TV pilot, which was really, really cool. It’s with my writing partner, Harrison James. It was really fun to write. I don’t know if I could do a book, but the pilot was fun—coming up with dialogue and stories . . . I would leave my art studio, go there to write, and it was like going to soccer practice. It’s been really cool.

Q | Why L.A.? Why art and graffiti here?

A: I feel extremely fortunate to have traveled a lot with my family. My dad was in the military, and we got to live in Korea and across the U.S., mostly living in Northern California. I went to college in San Diego, and at that point we had started a nightclub—me and two partners—we were 18, and I am 48 now, so that was [around] 1989. After graduating, it was natural to move to L.A. to keep that business going. Also, I felt like I had gotten stuck in this sand trap in San Diego, and had done everything I could do . . . I’ve been [in L.A.] 25 years now, and I’ve seen it grow. L.A. is fucking cool.

Q | What is your relationship to cannabis? How do you use it in your creative endeavors?

A: Growing up in NorCal, weed was always around. When I was super young, in Grass Valley and Chico, in the mountains—it wasn’t talked about. But it was clear that it was around. As it’s been getting more and more popular, the legal and the illegal are starting to even out a little bit . . . It will be legal here in January 2018—relatively soon—and I think it is what it is. I think it’s a good thing. It’s funny, too, ‘cause I know a lot of L.A. people that would never have anything to do with marijuana, and now they want someone to pick them up oil or a CBD product. Or they need a product for their dog. It’s truly weird, because I feel like I always grew up around pot . . . I do think it makes you more creative. Who knows, I come to work every day whether I am stoned or not. I was a heavier user earlier on in my career, when I was younger. Now I appreciate the days that I get to do it a little bit more.


Sebastien Walker : “Art is Forgetting About Time”

Sebastien is eloquent. He speaks rhythmically and purposefully—like a metronome. When we show up at The Seventh Letter offices, he is drawing a character in a book while those sitting adjacent to him watch intently. I tap him on the shoulder a few times to introduce myself, but he’s in his element and doesn’t even notice. Willie T. finally gets his attention and he jolts back to reality with a big smile on his face, reaching out his hand to greet me. I was told from the get-go that if we came to L.A., we had to interview Sebastien—and he did not disappoint!

Sebastien Walker - The Seventh Letter
Sebastien Walker – The Seventh Letter
Q | Dope Magazine: You were raised by artists. How did they pave the path for your artistic endeavors?

Sebastien Walker: Both of my parents are artists. My dad is an opera singer and my mom is a pianist. I was raised in a ‘not regular’ household because of that. They always pushed my sister and I to go either direction we chose—creative or not. My sister ended up writing and I ended up drawing, so I guess we found our own way of expression, which wasn’t music . . . My parents always pushed us to whatever endeavor we desired, sports or whatever. They wanted us to do what made us happy.

Q | Your work is heavily influenced by Franco-Belgian comic books. Fluide Glacial and Heavy Metal, for example. Much of your work is entrenched in the storytelling process that inspires you.

A: Yeah, most of my work is really heavily influenced by Franco-Belgian comics. It’s more than just comics, to me it is a whole subculture that is for the connoisseur, people that are educated about it. It wasn’t like the ‘cool teenager’ thing to know about. Then it basically wrapped around the storytelling you can find in my work. I think more than storytelling, my work is about quick, humoristic puns and making something that looks like it’s made for children but speaks to adults.

Q | You received your first comic by a gentleman you were sitting next to on a plane. You had been peeking at it and he handed it to you as a gift. Do you think your trajectory would have been different if you hadn’t had this chance encounter with a stranger?

A: I don’t think it wouldn’t have turned out differently, ‘cause I would have been exposed, eventually, to that magazine. [That stranger] started it earlier. I met some friends who were really into comics later and [they] educated me further. What’s funny is that I distinctly remember the name of the [magazine]. The magazines are a compilation of a lot of cartoonists. One is called Édika, a guy known for drawing really big-chested women. It’s really an innocent drawing looking at it, but not innocent at all. I think I would’ve ended up guided in that direction—I would’ve ended up being exposed to those comics.

Q | You just wrapped up an exhibit at The Seventh Letter in April of 2017. It took you quite some time to put this collection together. A decade?

A: I did my first solo show this year and I have been in L.A. for a decade, but I haven’t been painting on canvas for a decade. I haven’t been committing fully for a decade at all. For quite a few years now I’ve been committed. Initially I was working ad agencies and doing graphic and t-shirt design—which wasn’t pleasant to me. Slowly I took up painting because I was scared of the canvas at first. It took me awhile to get to the brushes and start painting at home. Not even to show it at the beginning—as a personal, satisfying meditative thing. Then slowly I took it really seriously and gave it my everything. [My] first solo show [is] long overdue, but not really. I really did want to do it in the right setting, which is here at TSL, with the right people. Showing the right amount of work and not just having a party. It’s easy to have an opening and show a few paintings, but I wanted to make a statement.

Sebastien Walker - The Seventh Letter
Sebastien Walker – The Seventh Letter
Q | Out of all the places where you could live and work, why L.A.? Why is this the place you call home?

A: It took me a few years to accept that L.A. is home, but for what I am doing, it’s where it’s happening. I don’t think there is anywhere else where it’s happening quite like this, except maybe N.Y., San Fran, Miami. To me, I live in L.A. because when I moved to America it was here or N.Y. New York which felt too much like France, too much like Paris. I needed to be in something really different. I see people in France who I used to admire as a teenager—artists—who are still struggling and still at the same point. The audience is bigger here. Maybe more open-minded as well. I didn’t really choose L.A., but I couldn’t have chosen better.

Q |  Detroit pops up a lot when you research graffiti. In the past, the communities there have been really accepting of graffiti. They find graffiti to be beautifying their city. What are your feelings on Detroit?

A: Of course, I’ve heard about Detroit in the graffiti world. It was a destination to go to—‘cause you could paint anywhere at some point. I don’t think that’s so true anymore, because of what’s happening in the communities. A French dude got shot there years ago, he was painting and they found his body two years later in a factory. His name was Zoo Project. I know that Detroit is a city that was great for artists because of cheap rent and destroyed places that you could take advantage of. I think that now it’s more complicated, and at some point I wanted to go, but I am not too sure about it now. Of course, it sounded like a painter’s fantasy—stopping on the corner and painting anybody’s house—I just don’t think that’s the case anymore.

Q | The first person that you met from TSL was DAME. How did you two meet? Has he been a mentor?

A | The first person I met from TSL was DAME MSK / AWR. We slowly became friends. We met painting at an event—he was looking at me from afar and judging my work in a positive way. We ended up speaking and we had a lot of values in common, and then we ended up grabbing a beer and going to one of his friend’s concerts. We slowly began hanging out and painting again. Through that I ended up meeting some other TSL dudes and going through some openings and meeting everybody. Then I went to [the Electric Daisy Carnival] in 2013 with everybody, and that’s where I felt acceptance by the family. DAME has always been one of my best friends in L.A. He’s a really interesting dude with a great sense of humor. A good one.

“When you paint, you watch paint dry a lot, and pot does well to forget about time—and art is about forgetting about time.” – Sebastien Walker of TSL

Q | What is your relationship to cannabis?

A: I’ve been smoking cannabis—I started with hash—for 20 years every day, pretty much. I am 35. I smoked my first joint when I was 15. It is something, to me, that is part of my daily life. I don’t think it’s an incredible thing—it’s another substance. Some bodies respond well, some don’t. My body is well used to it and I think in my process with art, cannabis became part of my creative process. Not that I need it, but I smoke cigarettes as well. It’s part of a rewarding little break. When you paint, you watch paint dry a lot, and pot does well to forget about time—and art is about forgetting about time. Pot is great for that!


Chaz Bojórquez : The Godfather of Graffiti

Chaz is a global traveler. A bit of a nomad. He’s been working diligently as a graffiti artist since he penned his first piece in the ‘60s. His wisdom is palpable and his appreciation and love for the craft is evident in the works of art that hang from the walls in his home that he shares with his wife Christina. He continues to be a voice of reason in the graffiti community and after many discussions with other graffiti artists it’s clear that he is one of the most respected and valued artists in the graffiti arena.

Chaz Bojórquez - The Seventh Letter
Chaz Bojórquez – The Seventh Letter – Year
Q | DOPE Magazine: You studied calligraphy under Master Yun Chung Chiang, and there aren’t necessarily many people in the graffiti world that have gone to art school. How did that influence and shape you?

Chaz Bojórquez: When I went to art school, I was a Ceramics major. This was the time with the hippies, around ’67. The Vietnam war was going on. J. Edgar Hoover was the head of the FBI; there was the civil rights movement. Going to art school, as the only Latino person in ceramics I felt very isolated, but it taught me to study the fundamentals of art. Number one, drawing—you need to learn drawing, ‘cause if you can draw, you can build it. It’s a foundation of structuring ideas in your mind. Also, I met a lot of friends there . . . during lunch we would all [have a] break, the whole school—it was a small institution—Chouinard Art Institute, in downtown L.A. We would go on the roof and light up, and I would end up supplying [weed for] some of my teachers, and they would give me some extra canvases for painting! It was a really friendly, hippy-ville time. It opened up my mind about what kind of artist I wanted to be.

Q |  You’ve been credited with playing a large role in the Chicano Urban Arts Movement, but it seems like you had resistance from some groups.

A: It was around when I did my first tag, around 1969. The Chicano movement was happening. They were muralists. They were putting out imagery, and I was trying to find myself with my work. I had never shown in a gallery and I was beginning to do graffiti and graffiti art—actually put it on canvas. That concept was really new at that time, and it wasn’t well accepted. I took my first painting to East L.A., to a Chicano gallery—I thought I would be accepted. These Chicanos were painting low riders and the community, and I wanted to be those guys. But when I took my paintings in there, they said, “Chaz, this is not art, this is gutter art. This is anti-Chicano. Chicano art is about family, religion, farm workers, border issues, suppression…that is what Chicano art imagery is.” What I was doing was against that, and they wouldn’t show my work.  A few years later I ended up in Hollywood, and the 01 Gallery. Robert Williams, the godfather of Whack Cartoon and CA Zap comics and Big Daddy Roth—he did Ratfink. Those guys embraced my work. Americana underground.

Q |  Turbulence continues to drive people to create graffiti: “As soon as society’s ails disappear, then graffiti will go along with it.”

A: You will never get rid of the ails of society. Graffiti comes along with that. They found graffiti in the pyramids, in Pompeii—graffiti is a way that we leave our mark. I found graffiti when I was in Istanbul. I went to the Hagia Sophia church, it was a mosque, the first church from the Byzantine era. When the first Crusades happened around 10,000 AD, they went to that church to pray. I knew that these were probably 14, 15, 18-year-old kids, and I knew that they would leave graffiti—even 1,000 years ago. I looked for it and I didn’t see it, so I went upstairs and looked over the balcony, to look down into the foyer of the big church. I said, “If I were to do graffiti, I would do it underneath this bannister.” It was a foot wide. As I looked under the bannister, I found scratchings, dates, names—Arabic names, too, because the Persian empire finally came and destroyed Istanbul. There’s graffiti everywhere.

Q |  You’re considered one of the oldest living, continually working graffiti artists. What are some of the positives and negatives that have come with age?

A: I am considered the longest, continually working graffiti writer in the history of graffiti because I started in 1969. A lot of people started in ’67 or ’69, and I give them a lot of credit, but they stopped doing art. I continued. In my work, I always progressed. I found that what I could bring to my graffiti now is a long history, a sense of the civil rights which gave me self-reliance and identity. I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do. Graffiti is an art form that you don’t need permission [to do]. I can be who I am and in your face—I was not making art, I went for 20-25 years without crews, magazines, videos, no support system, no galleries. No one believed in graffiti when I was doing it, but it made me feel that what I can do comes with a sense of freedom.

Q |  What is your relationship with cannabis?

A: Let’s talk about weed. Weed was a big taboo in Latino families in the ‘50s. I always knew it. My father and his brothers were all from Tijuana. They were all born on both sides [of the border], so we had dual citizenship. They thought they were Frank Sinatra. Dressed up all of the time, and constantly bringing liquor across the border. When we’d visit my Grandparents, they would be loading the door panels and taillights [of the car], filling them with gin and vodka . . . It was this lax morality about ‘legal’ and ‘illegal.’ Except when it came to marijuana . . .

The first drug I took was peyote with the shamans, the Indians from Nayarit. I finally relaxed into a bed/hammock late that night, and I [saw] a dot of red roses [start to fall] all over me that night. The next two days, because it takes some time to recover, they gave me some weed and it was not only soothing and relaxing, it opened up my mind—it brought on the same feelings as the peyote. So in some ways it was magical. Weed was always magical. But coming back to the U.S., it was extremely taboo . . . I use weed for creativity. It doesn’t bring creativity, but it makes me detached from all the other issues that I have, or deadlines . . . Painting is a job. But I cannot be open and detached without the weed. Most of my major work that I’ve done in-studio has been with marijuana. Also coffee.

Q |  What’s next for Chaz?

A: In September I am curating a show called SoCal Masters of Style, [which] comes under the banner of California Locos, a small group of five of us elder artists from Chouinard [Art Institute]—from surf, skate, hot rod, jazz, performance art and graffiti. We represent the West Coast lifestyle. Out of that we’ve expanded to bring in the other Locos, which includes Mr. Cartoon (head of the Chicano black and grey tattoo style), Estevan Oriol (photographer of the gangsters), and Shepard Fairey, the most recognized [graffiti] artist in the world. Robert Williams, the godfather of California ZAP Cartoons and Wack and the publisher of Juxtapoz Magazine. Slick, a graff writer who is internationally opening up doors in China. And we have several others, including myself . . . it’s going to be a lovefest of who we are. Sep 16th in Chinatown. Everyone is invited!

Chaz Bojórquez - The Seventh Letter


Special thanks for introducing us to The Seventh Letter

DOPE Magazine would like to send a special thanks to Eddie Donaldson who made the introduction to the artists of The Seventh Letter. Eddie has a special knack for bringing members of the graffiti community together—he’s been able to do this through his graffiti “portal” Guerilla One, which was established in 1998 with Eklips and Mystic of TSL. It has been at the forefront of the street art movement since its inception.

Guerilla One has brought acceptance to graffiti as not only an art form but a lifestyle. It continues to inspire artists from around the world to create art in a sustainable fashion. Guerilla One has made pushes to minimize aerosol use—a testament to the group’s mission to take care of our planet and participated in a Darfur Now Tour, bringing awareness and consciousness to the atrocities of genocide in the region.

For more information and to support Guerilla One check them out on Instagram @guerillaone

Eddie Donaldson (@guerillaone) |IG: @theseventhletter | FB: @theseventhletter

Andrea Larson

Andrea is a Seattle native with a passion for the storytelling process. When she isn't curating content for DOPE she can be found binge listening to podcasts, skiing at a local PNW mountain or catching a drag show at Le Faux on Capitol Hill.

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