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Interview with Benjamin Alejandro

Benjamin Alejandro was born in Baja, and has spent most of his life in a graffiti landscape that has inspired his multi-disciplinary art. His latest collection of black-and-white photographs of low rider culture are now on view at Guisados in Downtown Los Angeles. Adolfo J. Lara was there to photograph the opening, and Teena Kang got a chance to discuss the work with the artist..

I know you are an artist working in other mediums such as prints and murals. What motivated you to start this series of photographs?  

The idea of success has been a constant theme threw out the bodies of my works. Lowriding has been a subculture of Los Angeles in which I wanted to capture and highlight as a spiritual realm of success in a physical form.  Photography allows me to interpret in a very clear format.

From the point of view of as an artist, what do you / did you find most fascinating about low rider subculture?..  And how about in general?

There's a lot of things and ideas that I want to pursue as an artist, many of those ideas never fruition and stay in the I’ll do it someday file. It was great to finally tap into this growing subculture and have initial invitations to come out and be a part of it. I was blown away of their positive and easygoing attitude, along with their dedication to their cars and car clubs who may be more in the likes of Families not necessary gangs as an outsider may initially think.

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Was there something you were investigating/exploring in this series of images?

From my early photography taking photos at raves in my early 20’s I wanted to capture realms of existents that were catered to selected demographics in whatever the circumstances might be.  Capturing the sub-cultures and movements that may be limited to and for any extent.

Was there something you were trying to accomplish in this series of photographs?  

Yeah I wanted to highlight the car lowrider culture here in Los Angeles as a vehicle of success.  I’m a big car guy and also wanted to bring different elements of “Art” into the frame. Allowing myself to bring up a bit of my personal ideas of success that have been engrained as child growin up in El Monte, CA.

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Was there anything you found about this subculture you never would have expected?  (Was there something you discovered, inspired you or surprised you).

Just the amount of detail and dedicated passion they have in these cars. From people gold plating transmission, hand engraving motor components to painting and pinstriping the undercarriage of the vehicle.  It seems like to stone was unturned in maybe of these cars to seek perfection and true success in their own definition.

Artistically, what were your thoughts during and after shooting this series-  of  low rider subculture?

The lowrider movement is currently very active here in Los Angeles after receiving a very positive response from the community. The possibility of perhaps doing a documentary on the culture has crossed my mind. It’s been a very warm outcome getting to know the car owners.

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Find more info on Benjamin Alejandro on his Facebook Page.

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