California Locos: Renaissance and Rebellion
“This is a union between the City of God (Rome) and the City of Angels (Los Angeles)!” proclaims publisher Paulo von Vacano. Born in Southern California and published in Rome, the book California Locos: Renaissance and Rebellion launched in LA’s Chinatown and will be celebrated in a European tour this coming April 2024, truly a union of the divine and the defiant. Chaz Bororquez, John Van Hamersveld, Morton Wisdom, and Gary Wong all attended the landmark Chouinard Art Institute, popularly known for nurturing the early Walt Disney artists. The fifth Loco, artist Dave Tourje, who helmed the tome, founded the California Locos, self-proclaimed because they are “crazy about life.” Who wouldn’t want to tag along with these guys?
If you can’t make it to Italy, then definitely do some heavy lifting and pick up this gloriously glossy 432-pager which also features 12” by 9” images by Robert Williams, Shepard Fairey, Retna, and other west coasters, as well as Mister Cartoon, who fashioned the title lettering for the book, which offers colorful history and personalities, full page art, music, skate and exhibition posters, as well as colorful candids, all vibrating with the joy of creativity and camaraderie. As art historian Michelle Deziel-Hernandez writes in her essay, “Not ‘street artists’ but rather fine artists with deep ties to the street, they instantly connected their strengths, moving forward ever since while quickly amassing a powerful body of exhibitions reflecting their collective statement.” Let’s go crazy! —Gwynned Vitello