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.
my name is: Mónica Bachué
i make: Clothing, and am a boutique owner
i’m sharing: A fashion design inspired by French prints from the era of Louis XIV.
what inspires me about the getty: The potential to make memories. I’m from Columbia and I didn’t grow up with the opportunity to visit museums, so when I finally was able to do it, I was always pushing myself to visit the most amazing museums. I’ve been able to take my parents to the Getty; we celebrated Mother’s Day there. Actually, I took my boyfriend there to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and that night he proposed to me. We are really connected to the Getty because it’s where we’ve been creating the most important memories in our life.
to me, inspiration is: When you’re sitting in front of the ocean and you have a lot of problems, but then finally you kind of realize that nothing is really important, and everything is going to be okay. That’s what inspiration feels like to me. When you’re free. That sensation that everything will be perfect.
When you can’t seem to find inspiration, it’s the struggle that is most beautiful part of the process. If you feel like you’re struggling, know that you are at the moment where anything is possible and you have no limits.
my name is: Eric Garcetti
i make: Improvisational jazz
You might not be surprised that mayor Eric Garcetti loves L.A. What you may not know is that he fills his office with the best of Los Angeles creativity—art by Ed Ruscha, furniture by Charles and Ray Eames, photographs by Julius Shulman.
The mayor is also a classically trained pianist, and his office features a piano that belonged to his grandmother. “I turn to this piano in between meetings, maybe when I have a little bit of desk time,” he told us. “Not often enough, but it helps exercise a different part of my brain… and inspir[es] me to get in touch with something that’s more transcendent.”
Hear the mayor’s latest jazz composition and stroll through the Julius Shulman prints outside his office in this #GettyInspired video.