Gajin Fujita

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“You could say that Gajin Fujita found his calling at Kyoto’s “Golden Temple,” Kinkaku-ji. But it wasn’t a religious calling. The street kid in Fujita, a Boyle Heights native, wondered what it would look like if someone threw up a mural on the beloved Japanese landmark. Instead of defacing the temple, he began building his own panels, and the process began. Fujita’s art has everything to do with hip-hop, butoh dance and the Dodgers. It is the embodiment of the L.A. experience if it were processed by an Old World shunga painter who doubled as a member of the K2S (Kill 2 Succeed) graf crew. His style is a dizzyingly beautiful visual collision of East and West, old and new, legal and illegal. Serpents, goldfish, chrysanthemums, geishas, warriors and sports logos — painstakingly applied by hand — all come together on backgrounds of gold leaf and foil, tangled with layers of graffiti, supplied by Fujita’s crew.”  — Shelley Leopold, Native Son 

fujita_portrait1Okay, I’m buggin’ out AGAIN over the discovery of yet another dope Japanese American graffiti artist (two in one week! what are the odds?). No disrespect to Titi Freak but I’m partial to Fujita simply because his art mimics his own hybridity in both the layering of texture and strikingly juxtaposed images. It’s important to mention that Fujita works collaboratively with his LA-based graf crew K2S  (Kill 2 Succeed) which might explain the masterful execution of each piece. From the articles and artist profiles I’ve skimmed on Fujita, it’s obvious that he attributes his individual success to his parents (his pops was an abstract landscape painter back in the day and his mom restores Japanese antiques; to this day he works in his dad’s old studio– arguably the illest “hand me down” ever) as well as his crew who continue to inspire and motivate his work. Fujita was quoted in an LA Weekly article published last summer saying: “I think I would like to be a Robin Hood from Boyle Heights that made it in the art world. I think that could be part of the story of who I am.” You should be sold by now but if you’re not:

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I’M BUGGIN’ OUT HARD BODY! Read more about Gajin Fujita. Peep his page. Fix your face…

Comments
2 Responses to “Gajin Fujita”
  1. Ed says:

    Amazing artist! In my opinion, “Ride or Die” is the first California Masterpiece of the 21st Century. Congrats to the Kemper for grabbing it. Ship wrek is another fav! While Fujita’s talent is quite obvious, I am amazed at the level of artistic skill in the Graff Crew K2S-STN. I’m sure we will see many of these artists in future exhibits including: Defer, Heaven, Skept, Prime, Crime, Relic, Duke….

  2. Isa says:

    I have to check out some of the pieces and other artists you reference. Can you hit us up with any links? I agree that the talent in that one crew is almost unbelievable. I would’ve focused more on the crew rather than Gajin but I don’t have enough information yet. Thanks for the comment!

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