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L.A. TACO Interview with ESTEH

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Graffiti writer ESTEH has the pulse of the LA graffiti scene. Erwin Recinos caught up with him for this interview for the readers at LATACO.

How did you get or come up with the name ESTEH?
I use to write BROCK, HAHA! But like you should do, I did my history and dropped it. I ended up writing ESTEH because my sister wrote ESTAH.

How long have you been writing on the streets of LA?
I’ve been writing for about 8 years, but bombing wise only 6 years.

What's your favorite part of LA and why?
Downtown Los Angeles would be one of my favorite areas to hang out because it's so active and also has a very historical image to it and it’s a crazy place to learn about. You don't know what can happen.

What aspect of graffiti do you love the most?
The hardcore bombing and tagging.

Do you sketch your pieces in a black book or is it off the top of your head?
Yeah I tend to sketch a lot to improve myself as a graffiti writer but I do it to the point that I have it memorized. I like going off the top of my head at actual spots.

Who or what was your biggest influence in graffiti?
In the beginning my biggest influence was my sister in the late 90's. My other influences were Nekst, Cisco, Ruets, Fucte, Eroe, Hael and C45. These were some of the people I saw getting up when I was barely coming up. I am crazy blessed to be apart of the same crew as them and to now call them my friends and family.

In your opinion, how is the LA scene right now?
The LA scene is whack and boring and not fun at all anymore. There are not that many writers pushing and developing to become better writers. There’s no more competition on the streets either, it's all the same little bs. Plain boring.

Who's out there now on the LA streets pushing in your opinion?
In my opinion there aren’t many. Eager, Merch, Fucte, Versuz, Eder, Syen, Cokey, Besto, Zeal, Rehob and Reck. I say these people because they out there pushing the streets and pushing themselves as writers with quality stuff.

You ever travel to different cities in the USA to paint?
Yeah I've done some traveling, not enough though. San Francisco, Seattle, Mexico, Arizona, North Carolina, New York, Nevada and Colorado. That's all I believe.

Favorite spot to paint?
On the street type of spot or as I call, "hot boy spot". A very grimy place with raw brick, and cement surface. My favorite!

If you could change one thing in the LA graff scene, what would it be?
The laws on graffiti are too damn crazy nowadays.

That Talented Vandalz video, link here, really showcased some of your work. How did you feel about that video coming out?
The film coming out was okay, but I was nervous. At the same time I really didn't care about it as much.

Can you talk about the legal troubles you’re currently in?
No comment. All I gotta say is, "fuck them mother-fuckers!"

Writers like to tell of their adventures, do you have one for our LA TACO readers?
Yeah I remember hitting a hot boy spot in the bay. As my homie Erie (RIP) looked out for me I was doing a fill in and a bunch of bikers were coming down the street deep. My boy told me stop but I kept going and all I hear them say is, "Hell yeah! Keep that shit up!" HAHA! I trip out on that because if it was LA I would have either gotten hit up by gang member, shot at or most likely been chased. I thought that was pretty dope.

Favorite colors for a throwie?
I tend to love how black fill white outline looks.

With the tough laws, the buff and the troubles, what motivates you as a writer in LA?
What motivates me is myself. Proving to myself that I can do it and get better. Out of towners doing hard work in other cities, also makes me go harder out here. Seeing the homies go hard pushes me too.

What advice would you give to up and coming graffiti writers?
Do you and push yourself to be better. Don't listen to the haters and bad vibes because at the end of the day they fade. Don't do graffiti to look cool or be a part of a trend, do it because it is what you love and because you want to live it. Remember graffiti is a lifestyle not a trend. It comes with a lot of bs and troubles. Just be prepared because it ain't all pretty. It does bring you down, gets you into fights, chases and busted. But only you can keep your game going no one else. Always keep pushing, don't be satisfied on with what you’ve done. Stay true to yourself not to what others want you to be.

Thanks for the interview. Any shout outs to end with?
Shout to all of my crewmates! Special shout out to Sleez, Hael, Volt Roc and rest in peace to my homie Erie, Evak and Eroe.

Photos provided by and Erwin Recinos.

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