When I first saw this piece by my compadre Sedano, I made my one line comment and moved on but then this morning, I was walking to my bus stop on my way to work and saw a brand new wall covered in this grafitti shit. Goddamn it! To you taggers out there, if you want to make your mark on the world - get an education. Go to Europe and backpack through it. Go to art school. Write. Dream. Educate yourself for free at the library. Read La Bloga. Elevate yourselves damnit.
Tagging on a wall isn't going to make you cool. It's not going to get you the recognition you crave. Sure, your fellow disrespectful (and yes it's disrespectful to tag on private property. Didn't your parents raise you right? Mal educados.) tagging buddies and admirers will slap you on the back and say it's cool but those guys are probably going to be slapping your ass in prison if you keep this shit up. You're an artist, you say? Well then get some paper, cardboard, an old hood of an abandoned car, something that's yours to do your art on. Not a wall that doesn't belong to you - especialy not a wall that's beautiful, that has your history, your culture, your people's dreams and hopes and music on it. The artist you think you are would appreciate another's art and admire it - not vomit spray paint all over it.
You need to express yourself? Comment on La Bloga, tell me I'm full of it. Write a poem about why you feel compelled to write your name across the Corrido. Write a story. Tell me why it's important to you.
Fast forward 15 years and talk to your kids about tagging. Is your older self proud? Is it something you would tell your children. Hey mijo, you know that mural the beautiful one down on Soto that you can't see now because it's covered in grafitti? Well I started the destruction. I took a thing of beauty and soul and destroyed it because I was wanting to make my mark on the world. Is your child proud of you in that scenario?
There are places in L.A. where taggers can tag, where whole walls are given to you to express yourself. There's even a program where you can work on murals. There are some cool galleries in Highland Park like the Rock Rose, Avenue 50 where you can talk to other artists and see what they're doing, get inspired, learn. They'll welcome you, include you - fill that void in you that needs to create, recognize the artist in you. So stop that destruction and get educated. Make beauty not pain. Bring joy and not anger.
Am I lecturing? Damn right I am. I'm a mother of four kids who once caught her 9 year old boy tagging on a wall and dragged him home by the ear. That's nothing to what he got when we got home I'm talking about the five hour lecture on private property, his history and culture, how his ancestors were disappointed in him and how we have to uplift ourselves as a people. We have a responsibility to our raza. We are the only ones who can change the opinion of ourselves. You want people to stop thinking we're all a bunch of taggers, cholos, thieves, welfare bums, etc.? Well then, stop doing that kind of shit that gives hard working, honest people a bad name. You want to make a name for yourself? Then make one by stopping that graffitti shit and turning your life around. Turn your homies around too. Start a program for cleaning up the L.A. Murals. Restore them don't destroy them.
Count yourselves lucky you only got this short rant from Sol instead of the five hour lecture my boy got. I made him cry. He never did it again. He's grown to be a man I'm more than proud of. He served his country, is a good husband and father and he still remembers that night I dragged him home by the ear. Don't let me catch you tagging on the murals again.