The Seventh Letter Crew, pretty much the biggest, baddest graffiti crew on the West Coast, home of international graf kings Saber, Revok, Push, Retna, and many others, finally gets its big LA Weekly cover story. Graffiti has evolved into a major high-end market, as the tale of the Seventh Letter shows:
Having done paying jobs for Adidas, Boost Mobile, Nike and Scion, Seventh Letter members may get heat from other artists for selling out, but they refer to their opportunities as "buying in." Why let a junior designer in an ad agency attempt the crew’s style when the real guy can do it better and faster and offer the product a little credibility? "When a company hires or sponsors a Seventh Letter writer, they know they are going to get a professional, someone who can conduct themselves in an appropriate way," says Eklips.
European art schools hold classes in technique, and companies there manufacture premium paint stock. Salzburg, Austria, boasts a graffiti museum. Taipei and Tokyo hire the Seventh Letter crew to paint in their cities. "In Taiwan, especially, we’re treated like royalty. Here, we have to be underground — because of laws and envy."
The piece by LA Weekly deputy creative director Shelley Leopold comes with a slideshow and video. It lays out how this group of guerilla artists are permanently altering our relationship to the visual landscape of the city. Also comes with an online special: the re-publishing of Ruben Martinez' 1989 cover story on the flourishing of graffiti culture in L.A. Low-brow pacesetter mag Juxtapoz recently devoted an entire issue to the crew.
* Photo below is of the most audacious Saber-Revok piece in recent memory, atop an abandoned office building at Sixth and Vermont. It stayed up for weeks because it looked like a large piece of advertising. Which, of course, it was: