Graffiti Artist Goes Legit: Solo Exhibit Opens Saturday

LA graffiti artist Chaka (Daniel Ramos) moves his work from the street to the studio. His solo show "Resurrection" opens Saturday night at Mid-City Arts.

Chaka was arrested in 1990 at age 18 and charged with 48 counts of vandalism, trespassing and causing $500,000 in property damage. At the height of his tagging career, he left his mark in 10,000 locations from Orange County to San Francisco.

Here's the LA Times article that chronicled his arrest:

Ramos was arrested the morning of Nov. 28 by Los Angeles police officers who say they caught him scrawling "Chaka" with a marking pen on a traffic light pole at San Fernando Road and Humboldt Street in Lincoln Heights.

The prosecutor who has charged him with 48 counts of vandalism and trespassing calls him the most prolific tagger ever in Los Angeles. Ramos allegedly has inscribed his tag in fat looping letters taller than his 5-foot-4-inch frame and also has scribbled smaller versions of it on lampposts, concrete curbs, brick buildings, Southern Pacific railroad cars and, it would seem, every available nook and cranny in the city.

"That idiot has managed to paint everything in Southern California that I've seen," said Lt. Rob Waters, of the Los Angeles Police Department's Northeast Division, where the arrest was made. "He considers himself an artist, you know. In the L.A. area alone, this guy is good for half a million dollars in vandalism, bare minimum."

Well the tagger has become a bona fide artist, and for Chaka’s fans as well as street art collectors, Saturday night will be a rare chance to meet the man who moved graffiti from NY's "wildstyle" to his clearer, block lettered style.

Chaka's "Resurrection"
Mid-City Arts
5113 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
Opening reception from 7-9 pm on Saturday