Joe Reza, better known as Prime, is one of L.A.’s most influential graffiti writers. He’s also a painter and the designer of the cover for the Getty Graffiti Black Book, a monumental collaboration brought together the work of 150 street artists.
Prime and the other Getty Black Book artists were inspired by historic books in the collections of the Getty Research Institute that showcase amazing scripts and geometric designs. The contemporary artists crafted letterforms, drafted perspective, and merged line, color, and form with the same techniques employed by Renaissance masters like Albrecht Dürer in their own book designs.
These books’ survival across the centuries made a deep impression on Prime. “They make me want to create something that will last,” he told us, “something that will be saved and cherished.”
#GettyInspired visited Prime’s studio downtown, then joined him to page through some of his favorite rare books.