Series

The Tale of Downtown L.A.’s Graffiti Tower

Link in Bio with Jenny and Alejandro
Artist CJ Conde tells the story of L.A.’s $1 billion abandoned construction project turned graffiti tower, calling the artists “Ninja Turtles” and very “dope.”
Show transcript
00:00
All right. So everyone's heard about the graffiti tower in downtown
00:03
L A. It was a billion dollar project that was abandoned
00:06
and it's slowly becoming L A's coolest art piece.
00:09
And today we have CJ K,
00:11
the artist based in L A to give us the downlow on
00:13
how this tower came about.
00:17
What's up with it?
00:18
What's up? CJ?
00:19
What's up with it?
00:20
How you doing, man?
00:21
So why did artists pick this tower?
00:23
You think? Honestly,
00:25
I don't even know,
00:26
but I do know that graffiti artists like to choose like very
00:30
challenging and very exposed buildings to kind of like show their mark
00:35
tell people who they are and just,
00:37
you know, choose something that is big and bold.
00:41
Got you and clearly like from I was there the other day
00:44
is like, that's like the 15th floor.
00:45
So you gotta climb,
00:46
there's no elevator in that shit.
00:48
So climb and you know there ain't no emergency staircases,
00:52
none of that shit.
00:53
You gotta climb up there.
00:55
How many people do you think it took to pull this
00:57
thing off? Do you guys all hang out or have like
01:00
a group chat? Like what's going on.
01:02
Is there like a,
01:03
a Reddit thread that I don't know about?
01:05
Like all look straight up.
01:07
I'm not part of that group,
01:09
so I don't know.
01:10
But I do know that it probably took hundreds of people.
01:14
They're all down as fuck and can I cuss?
01:17
Yeah, they're all down as fuck for doing some shit like
01:19
that is crazy and shit.
01:22
They're ninja turtles to me.
01:23
For real. That's dope fact.
01:25
What do you think the city will do about it?
01:28
For one? They're gonna complain straight up.
01:30
This is what they should do.
01:31
They should turn that place into a giant art gallery,
01:35
set up galleries in every floor and the profits should go to
01:38
community based art projects and stuff like that.
01:41
But yes sir, capitalism,
01:43
corruption. What are we gonna do?
01:45
Right? We'll do that for one week and then they'll start
01:47
charging people and then the money won't go nowhere.
01:49
You know how it is,
01:49
bro. So why is graffiti important to the city?
01:53
Are there any new art trends you're seeing?
01:56
I, I think graffiti is important for any city.
01:58
It's like artists reclaiming a space that was probably owned by like
02:02
corporations or city officials who don't really give a fuck about like
02:06
the community or the people there.
02:08
But I don't,
02:10
I don't know, I'm,
02:10
I'm not wanna pay attention to trends like that,
02:13
but I am seeing more people kind of like taking a grip
02:16
of this com like this community of this world and just doing
02:20
amazing things with it.
02:20
And I feel like graffiti artists are transcending the street space and
02:24
they're also going into like galleries.
02:27
There's this graffiti artist called Ozzy,
02:29
he's killing it and that's pretty much what he's doing is just
02:32
transcending the street space.
02:33
Got you. And I prefer this over.
02:35
What, what's that Jacob dude?
02:37
He's everywhere. Like give me this,
02:39
fuck that lawyer, whatever his name is the other one.
02:42
Adriana. Yeah. Get that shit out of here.
02:44
Give me the fucking upside down.
02:47
Yeah. Upside down.
02:48
Fucking with me, man.
02:48
Like who's this? Hey,
02:52
oh that's one of my pieces.
02:53
Hey, so we got,
02:54
so what do you have coming up?
02:56
Let's talk about your art.
02:57
I got a piece right here,
02:57
man. She looks sick.
02:59
I appreciate it. So this is an oil on canvas painting
03:01
It's kind of like a little tribute dedication to my
03:04
pops. But right to that car.
03:09
Yeah, but I got a art show on the 29th
03:12
of March. It's in Koreatown.
03:14
Y'all could pull out a lot of dope artists,
03:16
some graffiti artists, some more studio based artists,
03:19
but it's gonna be tight.
03:20
But it was good,
03:21
bro. Can I keep this piece?
03:22
My, my walls are dry as hell in my room?
03:24
I'm not gonna lie.
03:26
Let me keep that sweater.
03:27
Then he wants to do sweater.
03:31
And where can we find you online.
03:34
I'm obsessed on Instagram like I'm on that app 24 7
03:37
So just follow me there at Carlos CJ Conde.
03:40
I'm always posting my art,
03:41
my Rios, my animations,
03:43
my murals, all that good stuff.
03:45
So check me out at Carlos CJ Conde.
03:48
Thank you, bro.
03:49
Much. Look forward to that show,
03:50
bro. Yeah. Yeah.