ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE: CACHE UNO

Los Angeles has its share of graffiti,some welcomed, some not but to truly understand the relevance of street art and its messages and why we value it as part of our community, you need only to sit down with any of the many talented street artists, like Guangelino, CACHE UNO, who has devoted his life to uplifting humanity and freedom of expression.

Tell us about your first pieces.

My first pieces were in random spots in LA, mostly throw ups and tags. The chickens first came to be in 2002 near the old Belmont tunnel across from the Bob Baker puppet theater. That wall is still running today, but I have redone it 3 times since then.

Where is the best place to see your art?

My art is all thru downtown, 2nd and Hill, Beaudry and 1st, 7th and Santa Fe by Pizzanista, Container Yard, all over Echo Park, Glendale and 2nd, 4th and Mission, Silver Lake, fudge, I can’t remember a lot of them, but they are out there. I’m glad a lot of communities have accepted them as part of the environment (gentrification puts them at risk) but I do a lot of commission work too, to buy paint for “my other walls.”

Have you done anything for charity?

I have gone to Guatemala and done paint clinics with our friends from GuateGraff to keep kids from joining gangs and get them involved with the arts. I have mentored youngsters on painting technics. I did the Southwestern Brown Symposium: Art & Revolution talks about my artwork, and how it helps brighten communities.

What’s Up with the Chickens?

The roosters or chickens were inspired by the writings of Carlos Castaneda. He talked about humans being stuck in “humaneros” or human chicken coops, and said that we are the product for the “energy vampires or “masters or creators” to Feed on.

WHEN YOU’RE NOT PAINTING, WHAT ELSE do you like to do?

I started riding mountain bikes at the age of 17; I breathe mountain bikes. I worked as a bike messenger in DTLA for 11 years and I race endurance mountain bike races. I also work as a bicycle mechanic to maintain my addiction of two wheels. So when I paint bikes, it’s to promote the use of the bicycle as a valid transportation, entertainment and spirit lifter.

Some of the characters CACHE INVOLVES IN HIS WORK ARE BY OTHER artists, like his buddy Atlas who is known for those badass Cats that were in the news a few years back. 

What’s your favorite piece?

My favorite piece at the moment is with my buddy Aise Born from UTI. It’s a huge wall we finished last month on the Melrose and Heliotrope area.

When and why did you get into graffiti art?

I got into graffiti art in early 90-91. I grew up right next to the world-famous Belmont yard, and all I had to do was walk a few blocks to see the ghetto superstars create masterpieces. I fell in love with it right away. I was born in Guatemala, I migrated to the states at the age of 10, I’m almost 40 now, and I am 100% Guangelino. I think I got the art and thrill seeking from my father, who was a musician, could draw and raced motocross in Guatemala. R.I.P.

What advice can you offer the next generation of graff artists?

My advice to the next generation is simple: respect those that came before you, don’t talk shit about others, they always find out, the streets got ears and mouths, don’t try to buy a wall that someone already has, and always do you, never bite, and even if it’s kind of wack, it is better than taking bites.

If you had it your way, what would you change about Downtown Los Angeles?

It would be kind of cool if DTLA could invite more local artists to produce artwork and communicate with the amazing amount of talent the LA graffiti and street art scenes have to offer.

Any Future plans?

Keep the rubber side down, and keep painting. I got a commission wall in RI at the end of August which I’m pretty excited about. Right now I got 3 walls coming up in the east Hollywood area, and I’m finishing one this week in the Pico and Normandy area with some old-school graffiti heads.

KerFree100

Yup, you guessed it. It’s me Keri Freeman, publisher and concept designer for Downtown Weekly. Living, working and playing in Downtown coming from an entertainment background…I discovered something about myself. I discovered I really liked sharing my knowledge of DTLA and its awesome hospitality movement. Also in doing so I have the great pleasure of working with incredible sponsors (who believe in the vision), extraordinary literary artists, photographers, event coordinators and many talented artists and musicians who inspire me every day to keep the DTLA Weekly going. Also, it would seem I’m the only woman of color to publish a newspaper here in over 100 years, so hopefully that inspires some future generations as well….Just remember if its fun…it can’t be work….Thank you, people of Gaia, for your continued support and thank you for reading!