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Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles

Chaz Bojórquez, Francois Chastenet, & Howard GribbleAUD $72.95

140 pages
160mm x 240mm
28 b/w images, 47 colour images

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SKU: 9789188369857 Categories: , , , Tags: ,


After being out of print and in high demand for years, Cholo Writing is finally available in a beautiful hardcover edition.

Cholo Writing is the 20th century’s oldest form of graffiti, a Mexican-American phenomenon evident in Los Angeles long before the appearance of tags and pieces in the late 1960s New York. It has had a major influence on the visual expressions of Californian popular culture, including the lowrider, surf, skate and hip-hop movements. «Placas» are territorial inscriptions created to define a gang’s turf, a genuine, constantly evolving urban calligraphy with strict codes used by Latino gangs for street writing since the late 1930s. Here, the aesthetic evolution of Cholo Writing is documented and the influence of blackletter typefaces and calligraphic models such as Old English is traced through two collections of photographs. One by Californian Howard Gribble, who photographed Chicano gang graffiti over a wide geographic area in the early 1970s, and one by French graphic designer and writer François Chastanet, who travelled to the same Los Angeles neighbourhoods in 2008 to document early 21st-century inscriptions.

The main essay of this second edition has been updated according to the latest historical research on lettering sources. With a foreword by Dr. Chaz Bojórquez, East Los Angeles graffiti pioneer and Godfather of West Coast Cholo Writing for over 50 years.

Published April 2024 by Dokument Press

About the authors:

• François Chastanet is an architect, graphic and type designer interested in written signs in public space, from wayfinding typography to ephemeral handwritings. As a documentary author, he writes on urban epigraphy and the evolution of the Latin letter in the 20th and 21st centuries.

• Howard Gribble grew up in Southern California in the 1950s and 1960s, where he immersed himself in gang and lowrider culture associated particularly with youth from the Mexican / American community. In the early 1970s he photographed Latino gang graffiti, throughout a wide geographic area in order to encompass a larger variety of styles and variations.

• Born 1949, Dr. Chaz Bojórquez is a resident of Highland Park East LA. Growing up, he was exposed to the values and craft of graffiti in the territory of “The Avenues” gang. He began his career by spraying alongside the river banks of the Arroyo Seco and is acknowledged as a pioneer of LA Cholo style graffiti. Bojórquez is represented in numerous museum collections, including The Smithsonian Institute: National Museum of American Art, National Museum of American History, National Museum of American Archives. 2020 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Art Center School of Design, Pasadena.

Additional information

Weight 500 g
Dimensions 246 × 165 × 17 mm

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