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Interview With Galo “Make One” Canote For Taco Madness

This week we caught a minute to shoot the breeze with L.A. art legend Galo "Make One" Canote. We hoped he'd be teaching us the birds and bees. But we learned more. Much more. Check it out and catch Make One painting in the flesh this Saturday at Taco Madness at Downtown's Grand Park.

Hi Galo, been a while since we talked TACO. What've you been working on? Yes, it has been a while. Glad we are still in touch and glad we can re-connect and TACO bout it...(laughs, slaps knee). Oh man! I crack myself up.

Well since we last spoke, I've worked on a few projects and also have some in the works. Some of which are still under development, of course. Hopefully they will all come to fruition soon and creep up on ya. I am one whom tries not to boast about upcoming projects until they are just about done or have been completed. Not sure if that is a bad thing, which perhaps may be my own demise for what I call my career, but I often see waaaaay too many folks bragging about what they're doing or are gonna work on or what they will be doing etc. That often annoys me and comes across to me as or sounds a bit pretentious...or maybe I am the pretentious one...(shrugs).


And as an artist, what is your overall mission, point of view or goals right now? You know? Every artist gets asked this question. And my overall objective and/or mission or goal as an artist, or as one defines one to be, is to just just exist. I truly have nothing profound or theoretical or say...but to simply just be who I am and to do what I do. As in our last interview, I don't necessarily define myself as an artist, nor categorize myself as one. I feel by doing so limits me to other outlets. I like to view myself as a universal hustler with no definition...


You’ve been beautifying this city for a long time. How have you and your art grown? Well, to be honest, I wish I would have grown height that is (laughs). I have the tendency to lag a bit; procrastinate. Be lazy. Not that I have not grown, but I know and am well aware that I could have grown more...matured more artistically to be more accurate. But thank God I still have time and am considerably young to re-apply myself and commit more to the arts or anything creative. To be more committed to myself creatively in an effort to grow more. Albeit, the latest thing I have focused more on is the art or lettering or typography. I am studying letters more in an effort to perfect my lettering. As you and many well know, letters have always been my fascination and is the core of what drives me, motivates me or inspires me artistically. Just need to find my niche'.


As an LA graffiti pioneer, you’ve watched public perceptions massively shift. From decades of graffiti being totally vilified to the massive museum retrospectives and commercials. What's your point of view on this shift? I try to honestly not focus on the negativity behind it, but focus more on the doors it has opened and what it has created for other artists to advance, especially me.

There are just way too many focused on what is negative, or what "their" definition of the negative is and what is not good or good for the art form or movement, etc. Every individual you ask, although there may be some consensus, will have their own interpretation or response to what is negative and what is positive. I, myself, would much rather appreciate its development and how it has become the art it has become. That alone, stands on its own; whichever it is you believe it to be.

What kind of public art or statements do you tend to respond to as an artist and person? There are so many statements made that I could respond to...I try not to respond to anything, much less react. Sometimes staying quiet on something or a topic or a subject matter, to me, is best and wisest.

Simply, again, to me, what I may believe in today may very well change tomorrow and vice versa. Not that I fluctuate in certain beliefs, or convictions, nor that I frown upon being vocal or having an opinion on certain things, I just believe there is an appropriate time and place to speak up on or speak for something. I'd just rather remain quiet, keep my thoughts to myself and observe cause often times, it will be a case of "damned if you don't or damned if you do". And I'd rather "don't". (smiles)


And what about the established art world? What are you into? I am into all forms of "established" and "non-established" art. I like it all and am receptive to any creative outlet or platform as long as the artist's genuineness translates through their art and speaks to the viewer. To each their own...I guess.

You're raising funds for Creativity Heals this weekend. How did you choose this non-profit? I chose Creativity Heals because I believe in what their objective or mission is. To heal the broken, the sick or abused through creativity; whether it is dance, music, performance art, acting...etc. It is  a non-profit organization dedicated to providing creative outlets for youth who have experienced complex developmental trauma. The organization was founded by the awesome dancer and Harajuku Girl, Jenny Kita..."Angel..."and her awesome friends: Charlene Meyer, who is an art therapist and Mmrriage and family therapist. Matt Kessinger, owner of Kesspro Studios and Production Manager at Willy Bietak Productions, who is also a professional figure skater. And Jonathan Wang, creative director and owner or eat Sleep Work, Inc. It is a small yet growing organization with a positive cause.

In fact, they have a fundraiser this coming Saturday, April 5th, from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM that you can check out after Taco Madness. It is at The LAB Art Gallery located at 217 South La Brea, LA CA 90036.


How is your own work with the youth going? It is coming along great. I was a bit jaded for a while. The last school, previous to me picking it up again, was horrible. It really left a bad taste in my mouth. The leadership was poor. Unfortunately, the kids suffered and it was not fair to them because I just upped and left one day; in the middle of a class, in the middle of a semester. I was fed up...the lack of respect from both students and teachers and leaders, the lack of support, the lack of supplies, the lack of following up, the lack of organization, the lack of the best interest for the student(s) and so on.

It just became what was too much focused on numbers (students) which equaled to dollars for the school. The initial reason or goal for these programs or classes were misplaced and misdirected. And unfortunately it conveyed to the students and it/they reflected the poor leadership of the school and it was robbing me from the joy of teaching. So I just abruptly took a break before I died to the love of teaching. But I am refreshed now and eager to work with kids again.

What do L.A. kids need most right now to lead fulfilled lives? Better teachers, better leaders, better role models...more arts...

LA seems to really be transforming in front of our eyes. More people, more construction, more businesses. What do you think about LA’s current state and growth right now? is what it has it's pros and either stay behind or assimilate to the nows...

What kind of city do you think we’ll have in ten years? An over-populated city. A city enthralled and lost in technology. A city where human-to-human communication is non-existent. A city where historical and valuable landmarks are eradicated. A city where big brother is overwhelmingly developed. A city more monitored and controlled.

Gluten Free

Where are you hanging out these days in the city? I hang everywhere...I bounce from area to area or neighborhoods to neighborhoods. I like investing time in areas I chill at or frequent ...get to know the peeps, the workers, cooks or chefs and bartenders. I usually work in sorta quarterly takes. Usually the areas I frequent the most are: Echo Park, Downtown LA, Little Tokyo, Hollywood and Cahuenga, Los Feliz, Atwater, Koreatown, Silverlake, Mid-Wilshire...I try to keep my relationships fresh...I try not to be a regular perse' but an "often frequenter". Not even sure if that makes any sense...

What do you think are the most exciting things happening in LA right now in terms of culture, music, food and the arts? As throughout the history of Los Angeles, it all has its me, anything actively creative in arts or food for that matter is exciting...the now has past...what will be frowned upon today will be the "in thing" next season. It's already here. And what's in season now is already the past only waiting to recirculate in a future season. "There is nothing new, absolutely NOTHING new, under the sun..."


And most importantly, what’s your favorite taco in LA right now? I have a few anything else, I can not narrow it down to just one location...much like being asked what is your favorite band, or music, or movie or actor...there are so many that narrowing it down to JUST one, I find it borderline narrowed-ness.

But to name a strong favorites are as follows: Mariscos Jalisco in East LA for Shrimp Tacos. Guisados in both Echo Park and East Los for traditional style tacos. Best Fish Taco in Ensenada in Los Feliz area for Fish Tacos. Carnitas El Momo in KTown and East Los for some of the best carnitas tacos. Leo's Taco Truck in the west side for Al Pastor tacos. El Atacor in Highland Park for potato tacos...and of course LoveGalo's kitchen in Koreatown for some experimental tacos. If ya wanna try them and down to experiment, hit me up...uhhh...ladies only please.

And any last words before we see you on Saturday? Yes! Thank you for the opportunity to be featured once again in LA Taco and for all your support. I also am excited to be painting live this Saturday and I am ready to eat some tacos...

This article brought to you in part by Blick Art Materials, an official sponsor of Taco Madness 2014.


Taco Madness 2014 is Curated by the DoArt Foundation.


LA TACO readers can save on Blick Art Materials! Use this link for a coupon:


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