Speaking with Saber

May 2, 2013

Saber

Back in 1997, Saber achieved legendary status as a writer when he completed the largest graffiti piece ever created.  On the bank of the Los Angeles River, it was almost the size of a professional football field. Since, he has achieved great acclaim for the works that he has also created indoors – his mesmeric paintings that fuse his extraordinary calligraffiti techniques with his fine art painting skills. While visiting his current exhibit at Opera Gallery the day after it opened, we had the opportunity to speak to Saber.

When did you first get up in a public space?

I was around ten years old when I tagged a bench in Glendale, my home town. I got scared and I wiped it off. I did this about ten times.

What inspired you at the time?

The first time I saw Belmont tunnel, I was blown away by its complex wild styles.

Saber art

What about shows? When did you first exhibit your work?

Back in the late 90’s in a terrible t-shirt store.

You’ve sure have come a long way. How did you hook up with Opera Gallery?

Through Ron English. We’ve been good friends for about ten years.

Saber

Do you have a formal art education?

I tried art school briefly and soon realized what a waste of time, money and energy it was. It’s a scam. I got a crash course in art doing graffiti. Graffiti informed me. And my parents are artists. I was always painting.

Any thoughts about the graffiti/ street art divide?

I love it all. Street art is more accessible and graffiti is about style and getting up. Your signature is the essence of your life, as it lives on long after you do. Wild style is the true heart of street art. “Street art” is just a general term.

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

Having a child. She’s two years old.

Saber

What do you see as the future of street art and graffiti?

Street art is going far more mainstream. Graffiti goes in cycles; that’s what makes it graffiti.

What do you see as the role of artist?

To reflect back on society.

The exhibit continues until May 11 at 115 Spring Street in SoHo.

Photos by Lois Stavsky


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