Artist Visit: Tiki Jay

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Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with Tiki Jay, one of L.A.’s most renowned underground artists. We spent our time in Hollywood, where he and his crew worked together to print his new run of hand-pulled silkscreen posters and stickers on both bleached and unbleached newsprint, as well as some really high quality vinyl. This was the first run of his very first set of screens, making it a rather interesting learning process for all of us. After a few hours of sweatshop labor in the ungodly heat of the studio space, they had their routine down solid, cranking out print after print in a kind of assembly line fashion. It was a sight to see.

Watching these guys work, I realized that what they do is borderline fine art at the very least. It’s high quality, original, handmade art. These are produced in a limited run, and they end up in the streets available to the public, susceptible to weathering and, more often than not, being painted over or torn down by city workers. The pride in their work is also something to mention. This is not your typical artist of today who draws up something and sends it out to a printer, pays top dollar, and waits for the mail to come. These are masters of their craft, their entire craft. Imagine, for a second, today’s generation: raised on computers, definitely not self-sufficient. What happens when you’re at your favorite store and the computers go down? They tell you that nothing can be sold. Gone are the days of hand-written receipts, hand-drawn images, and the creative mindset. When the Apocalypse comes, we will need people like Tiki Jay and other like minds to rebuild. Their crew name, Primitive Skills, fits perfectly.

I’m not going to get into a whole thing about Tiki Jay’s work; we would be here for days. Maybe I will work out some kind of artist spotlight in the near future. For now, check out his work via his website and take a look at the video here showcasing how the successful night ended.

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