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My Favorite Taco ~ Smog City

Smog City was one of the first street artists ever featured on L.A. Taco back in 2006 and has been an inspiration to us ever since. His political message combined with menacing art and perfect placements make him an LA original that has inspired tons of other paste up artists in this city and worldwide. Currently you can see his latest project and prints at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Venice. We sat down with the man behind the Smog to discuss LA, tacos, and death by fumes.

TACO: First things first, what's your favorite taco?
SMOG CITY: King Taco's Lengua tacos, or the hard shell asada tacos from Taco's Por Favor...

TACO: When did the first Smog City get up? How has the Smog City project evolved and changed through the years and what's happening now?

SMOG CITY: 2004 in West LA. Back in those days I was all fired up about political issues, and what effects artists can have on society. As the years went on I was sorta accepted into the street art fold of society, and lived that sort of lifestyle. Getting up and just being an artist sorta became more important and fun than staying true to the to reason Smog City ever hit the street in the first place. It became more about the Hollywood experience, and the horrors of such a glamorous place...all based around the premise that smog was facetiously to blame. I can't say I ever lost sight of what the project stood for, but I feel like this period of Smog City has to go back to the roots of what I wanted it to be. The factual evidence and information available on air pollution is reason enough to be alarmed, people are all mad about the effects of cigarettes, why aren't we warned and upset about the state of our natural environment?

TACO: What impact do you think your art has had on the city of LA?
SMOG CITY: I realize that people who look for graffiti and street art are their own breed, and so in that right I feel like I still haven't reached the full demographic. But I can say that, I've been given huge opportunities by people in this town just from them seeing it on the street for so long. (and they are NOT graffiti involved) So I guess I feel like it's somewhat recognized symbol for air pollution, but it could go way further. People definitely have taken note of it, and I am always more than pleased to overhear strangers talking about it or even people who I know, but they don't know that I'm the one doing it.

TACO: You're a master of finding broken down decaying spots that set off your art and message, how do you choose the perfect placement?
SMOG CITY: I'm just drawn to decay and rot. I find something really beautiful about some of the worst places. I've tried to recreate rotten texture and roughness in artwork, but its just not the same as what happens naturally on the outside world.

TACO: You've done collaborations with a lot of various street artists, is there one you especially liked?
SMOG CITY: At the time and even now I feel like the issues of Restitution Press was really special to work on. It was so punk and D.I.Y. that I couldn't resist. Doing signage with Tiki Jay was a great experience, how often do you get to plan a project with a man recognized by TIME magazine for his street art? And there is no way I could leave out my good friend Euth, I feel like every time we get to work together it turns out amazing, and is the most fun.

SMOG CITY: What's your favorite neighborhood in the city?
That's not fair, there are so many amazing neighborhoods in this city....Top 3 would probably be Echo Park, Hollywood, and Santa Monica.

TACO: Do you have a lucky number?
SMOG CITY: nope.

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