Man one


Wander around LA long enough và you’re bound lớn stumble across Latino artist Man One’s rainbow-hued murals. Wielding his spray can lượt thích a weapon for good, the first-generation American creates striking, large-scale works that lure viewers in with their bright candy colors. His subjects, which range from masked luchadores to lớn slinking creatures with bulging body parts, seem to lớn burst from the two-dimensional surface on which they’re painted. On a technical level, Man One’s work blurs the line between stylized graffiti và traditionally painted murals.

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With his foot in both edgy spray-painted art & classical painting, Man One has made it his mission to encourage more mainstream acceptance of graffiti. In 2002 he founded LA’s Crewest Gallery, a space that works lớn legitimize the art form and give graffiti artists a place to lớn showcase their work. The entrepreneurial painter also uses his talents to further arts education among underprivileged LA youth.

On this particular aspect of his work, Man One remarks, “Never taking ‘no’ for an answer is part of my mantra, và I enjoy passing on that message khổng lồ other, less advantaged kids & young people around the world.” In his artist statement he continues, “I am a firm believer that art saves lives & can change the world, one brushstroke or spray can at a time.”

In Today’s Q+Art Interview…

Man One discusses painting on the Berlin wall, what lights a fire under his ass, & why sleeping in is the ultimate form of self-care for busy artists.

‘Big P’

What one book belongs on every artist’s shelf?

Man One: Your earliest sketchbook. It’s always good to lớn remind yourself how far you’ve come.

If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?

MO: I would love khổng lồ pick the brain of David Alfaro Siqueiros, not just for his incredible murals và art, but for his political beliefs as well. He was an artist who truly lived his conviction, và it would be interesting lớn get his take on the current global political climate and how lớn integrate myself into it.

What are you trying to express with your art?

MO: All I’m trying khổng lồ express is my true self, which just happens lớn be the easiest & hardest thing for a human to do. It’s a lifelong journey that most of us will never achieve but all artists should strive for. All great works of art are windows into the soul of the creator. It’s a great goal lớn try & allow the viewer in.


Do you prefer New York- or Chicago-style pizza?

MO: Definitely Chicago-style but only in Chicago; otherwise what’s the point?

Would you work for không tính phí in exchange for exposure?

MO: No one should “work” for exposure. If it’s work, that implies that there is an exchange of goods for services. Exposure is a byproduct of that exchange. You should get paid in one way or another & benefit from the exposure that was created. #NoPayNoArt

What person has most influenced your work?

MO: I would have lớn say it’s my beautiful wife Laura who I’ve been married to lớn for 26 years now & known since I began my graffiti career in high school. She’s always given me freedom khổng lồ be myself, supported all my career choices, even supported us financially when I first launched my art business. Plus she gave me three beautiful kids that are the biggest motivator you can ever have. Nothing lights a fire under your ass like being a parent!

‘Spirit of LA Renaissance’

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

MO: Sleeping! I love khổng lồ sleep as long as humanly possible every day, since most of the time I’m pulling all-nighters và working very long hours. I look at sleep as self care, better than yoga.

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What vì you consider your greatest artistic achievement?

MO: Being able khổng lồ make a living & a career out of my passion is my greatest achievement. Without being self-employed I would have never been able to lớn travel the world và do things lượt thích paint on the Berlin Wall, share my art with students in Japan, or travel khổng lồ Panama working with the ambassador and U.S. State Department.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

MO: Doubt kills the warrior.


Is a formal arts education worth the money?

MO: It depends how much money we’re talking about, but if you graduate having a mortgage payment to pay for but no house lớn live in, then maybe the answer is no.

What is one thing you would lượt thích to change about the art world?

MO: White privilege.

Would you rather be a historically significant or commercially successful artist?

MO: I don’t understand why you have khổng lồ pick one over the other? I prefer lớn be both. Too many artists fall for this starving artist paradigm.

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This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.

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