As a little boy I remember having these images in my head but I could never find them in any books or magazines so I would draw them. Dinosaurs fighting SWAT teams, spaceship race-cars , that kind of thing. I guess that's how I started drawing.
I was born and raised in West Los Angeles, California. It's a very diverse part of Los Angeles where I found myself surrounded by a wide range of cultures and scenes that have been a big influence in my work. Like a lot of kids the skateboard was often my mode of transportation but instead of learning new tricks I would have my board flipped over copying the cool graphics I found on the bottom. Being from the West Side the skate decks were usually Dog Town brandishing a Wes Humpston design. While at school instead of doing my assignments I would usually be sketching in class trading drawing techniques with the Cholos. I would teach them skulls and they would show me there lettering style.
In my early teens I got into the L.A. punk scene and would hand draw gig flyers, t-shirt and sticker designs for the local punk bands. Artists like Pushead, Shawn Kerri and RxCx (Ric Clayton) who did all of the art for the band Suicidal Tendencies where a big influence on me. I even drew a few custom Suicidal shirts for some of the local boys back in the day.
Entering high school I discovered the book Subway Art, a groundbreaking book documenting the work of New York graffiti writers. I was amazed by all the bold colors, line work and movement within the letters it had me mesmerized. Immediately I began working on my own lettering styles and characters, and eventually progressed to putting my outlines up on walls. Soon after I met other writers and went on to join the West Coast Artists (WCA) crew, one of the seminal graffiti crews in Los Angeles. The graffiti movement was just starting in L.A. and I had the honor of painting along side graffiti legends Rival, P-Jay, Miner, Risk, Pyro, and Wisk to name a few and have a few of my pieces in the book History of Los Angeles Graffiti.
From my early graffiti/street graphics roots I branched out into graphic design and art direction working with the music industry creating CD packaging, marketing materials and as of late designing platinum sales awards for artists Eminem, Nicki Minaj and the Foo Fighters.
Currently, I have been focusing on my personal art work using all the techniques, inspiration and lessons my life has taught me through the years. Good or bad it has all lead me this chapter in my life where I am today and I couldn't be happier.
I still see images in my head but now they are through the eyes of the grown man that learned to channel all that angst in a positive way.
SEL is an exhibiting artist in HELLO WORLD and will be presenting some very beautiful work. Here is a little sneak peak into his creation process:
For questions regarding SEL, please email curator Luna George at lunacrewest [at] gmail dot com.