Thursday, April 23, 2009

The first solo show ever from the infamous LA tagger Chaka...

Mid-City Arts is pleased to present the first solo show ever from the infamous LA tagger, Chaka. Resurrection opens April 25th and will feature highly anticipated new work from the mysterious Chaka.


Daniel Ramos, AKA Chaka, was 18 when he was arrested and charged in 1991 with 48 counts of vandalism, trespassing and causing $500,000 in property damage. Chaka’s signature tag had appeared in a staggering 10,000 locations from Orange County to San Francisco. At the height of his notoriety Chaka was demonized by mainstream media and culture as being little more than a prolific vandal. At the same time he was celebrated by street artists who admired the ability of a teenager from the projects to literally make his mark on the vast, glitzy LA cityscape in such a ubiquitous manner. He is credited with breaking away from the New York “wildstyle” popular at the time and introducing clearer, more blockish lettering into tagging. Chaka was one of the first to create a reputation as a recognizable individual tagger, and spawned many imitators. However Chaka was not just a lone operative. He was part of the LOD crew and as such, his work in reclaiming hard to reach places of the cityscape (freeway overpasses, walls, trains etc) on behalf of his crew is recognized by fellow taggers as a selfless achievement for LA’s graffiti scene as a whole.

After spending a year tracking down the once unavoidable Chaka, Mid-City Arts presents his first solo show. For Chaka’s fans as well as street art collectors, this will be a rare opportunity to revisit the nostalgia of the early 90’s, and own a piece of LA’s cultural history. Chaka himself will be in attendance and there will be a limited number of signed posters in addition to his works available for sale.

Opening Reception: April 25th, 7:00-9:00pm
Mid-City Arts
5113 West Pico Blvd in Los Angeles

For more info visit: http://www.chakaone.com/

*Note: the above is the official PR from the show / we've edited this post just a bit / see first comment post to read another viewpoint on this story...

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Okay Andrew... While I plan to go to Chaka's exhibit, I think what appears to be a reprinted bio of Chaka is a bit overly laudatory of him as a tagger - and makes me wonder if you lived in LA during his reign of spray can terror.

When you tag 10,000 times, much of it stopped having aesthetic value and was more or less a sloppy stain of a tag from a guy who was a compulsive tagger.

Chaka was a spray and dash tagger at best during his actual reign of tagging terror on Los Angeles.

While you're right in saying he was admired by taggers for being ubiquitous and he reach tagger folk hero status for being so brazen and prolific, taken individually, the vast majority of his tags could hardly be appreciated for having any style and dare I say, lacked any artistic merit.

They were sloppy, hastily thrown up tags by an 18 year old far more interested in covering ground than he was interested in the aesthetic of the ground he covered. Sure he was a departure from Wild Style of NY, because frankly at 18 he lacked any style beyond obsession with tagging every surface he could as fast as possible - going so far as to tag the elevator on the way out of the courtroom upon initial sentencing.

At his height, it was estimated he produced 10-50K tags in his relatively short career of maybe 3-4 years tops. Averaging as high as 50 tags a day - most barely decipherable even by tagging afficianados.

Since his arrest in 1991, a major revisionism has occurred regarding his body of work.

The images you publish of Chaka's tags are hardly representative of what Chaka's tagging actually looked like - as they all seem to be commissioned works produced long after he faded from the collective consciousness due to his street career being ended by law enforcement - 18 YEARS AGO.

This is the quintessential Disney-fication of Chaka and while its exciting to see a legendary tagger actually have a legit art exhibit, his legacy should be given its proper perspective as he tended to veer street art away from concerns of the aesthetic and more toward the notoriety of massive scale - as he fostered plenty of emulators.

Mika said...

lol really Ryan? I went to the show, it was good. He is revered in the scene it was this awesome silence over the whole event, I've never seen anything like it.