The Cartoon in your face: interview with Re-run

Mural Hermosillo
Art by Re-run. | Photos by Nathan Solis

Try to make sense of the cat staring back at you from the street. It’s art, graffiti, vandalism. It’s a sign of the times and the public canvas of a local artist.

Meet your neighborhood cat, Re-run.

A calling card in plain sight Re-run’s signature cat stands out among the blocks of letters and gang tags. Re-run’s work gets notice, because it’s cartoon art and it’s non-threatening. Only on private property, and defacing local businesses.

The cat poses an interesting question to people who complain about graffiti: Do you hate graffiti or art in general? Where do the two separate and why is this artist going through all the trouble?

Re-run calls North East Los Angeles home. He has an Instagram. This interview was conducted via email over the course of one week. I don’t know Re-run personally, but the way his work seems to find its way into my everyday peripheral makes me think that he’s around the corner.

* Why’d you choose a cat as your tag?

Re-run: I chose the cat because they come easy to me to draw and I’m not so great at my letters at the time. Also cats are amazing creatures.

* Los Angeles allows murals now. Does that take away from the community of artists hitting up walls? This person gets to put their art up legally, but you might not be able to do that, so they get to white wash your stuff.

Re-run: Eh. It doesn’t bother me so much, because I like doing it illegally. It has more of a sense of a voice in the streets and every week there could be a new message.

* Do you want to make a living as an artist later on in life? Are you going to go to art school?

Re-run: Yeah, I would like to make my art into a career. Thats like my dream. School? I don’t even know, I’m still thinking about it.

* What do you think of Banksy?

Re-run: He’s cool. Not one of my favorite artists. But cool work. Respect the guy.

Slap

* How has the changing Highland Park impacted you?

Re-run: It didn’t really impact me so much. But the streets seem more safe.

* You get around. I’ve seen your work in just about every corner of the neighborhood. Are you ever afraid of getting caught?

Re-run: Afraid of getting caught? Eh. Yes and no. But who likes going to jail?… I try not to think of it, because I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not hurting anyone it’s just art and art is what I love doing.

* What goes through your head before you slap a tag? Are you thinking about placement, visibility or is it just a whatever type of thing?

Re-run: When I put up a tag or slap I look for visibility for the cars and people to see. Sometimes I’ll just go around anywhere and post up on a boring day.

* With your art being out in public everyone gets a chance to be your critic. What have you heard of your art from other people?

Re-run: Well I haven’t heard anything bad so that’s good. The feedback I get back is very positive. They love the cat and it motivates me to paint the streets.

* There are the taggers who simply tag for crews and then there are those who paint toons. Do you consider those two people the same type of tagger?

Re-run: Yeah, I consider the two the same type of tagger. But some of them do it for different reasons fame or for the art.

* How has the gang violence changed since you started painting the cat?

Re-run: The gang violence is chilled but still around, like I’ve been chased by a few gang members and hit upped also. I’ve heard it was worse at one time not so much now.

* You painted a memorial for your mom. Did you do anything else to honor her?

Re-run: Well my mom always wanted me to finish school. So that’s what I’m doing. I know that would make her very happy. And also painting, getting better, trying to make a name for myself in the art world.

* You mentioned creating a message with your art. What do you think the cat represents to you?

Re-run: The cat I think represents me inna way and also it tells the people I’m here in the community. I’m not just another ant in the ant hole. I try to be different leave a piece of me to the public.