Siner / J. Carlos Aguilar

   Siner was part of the first-generation of kids in Los Angeles in the 
mid ‘80s to come of age through the newly burgeoning hip hop 
movement. Like a significant number of his early peers, he and his 
brothers became involved with B-Boying (breakdancing) before being 
exposed to the modern “Wildstyle” graffiti movement which then had 
the stronger pull on him.

   Instead of being at the playground, Siner, mentored by his brother, 
Sane, spent his free time at the RTA (Rapid Transit Artists) graffiti 
yard in a mid-city industrial area, where they founded the prominent 
LTS (Last To Survive) graffiti crew. Only a few L.A. crews have 
distinctive crew styles, and LTS is one of them, with Siner being 
central to the development of a loose “spray painterly” yet 
disciplined approach that has been highly influential to many 
graffiti writers. As he said in an interview, “I try to get as loose 
as I can, because I know that when I step back, it’s sharp!... and 
what comes out is the style. I don’t care about how clean it is, I 
want to flex that style, and flip that “S” and that “I” and all the 
letters in there so they have a feeling that they flow together, and 
I don’t know how it is that I do what I do, but it seems to come out 
naturally.”

    But while Siner exhibited a strong style even early on, sometimes 
using imagery from Aztec, Mayan and Mexican pop culture, he has also 
gained the highest respect because he keeps evolving his painting 
approach. An unusual and interesting thing he has done as well, is 
to add an alter ego, Mestizo, to his street work. As Mestizo, he 
paints images of prominent cultural icons of Mexico (Orozco, Kahlo, 
for example) to promote knowledge and pride of Latino identity. This 
work has become a much appreciated part of the Los Angeles cityscape.

    All of these influences and more come to bare in Siner’s gallery 
work. His canvases use signs, symbols and typographic approaches from 
disparate sources (wildstyle, gang writing, professional sign 
painting) and an intuitive love of abstract paint to create a complex 
and personal dialogue about cultural issues and conflicts above and 
below ground.

    His work was featured in the Pasadena Museum of California Art’s 
“Street Cred: Graffiti Art from Concrete to Canvas” show and MOCA’s 
“Art of the Streets” (in the catalogue and in photographs in the 
exhibit), as well as in a one man show at Crewest gallery. His 
distinctive output puts him clearly in the top tier of street 
originated artists now working in a gallery context.

- Steve Grody, author "Graffiti L.A.: Street Styles and Art"

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© Juan Aguilar