Jose PRIME Reza

PRIME was born Jose Reza in 1971 and raised in the neighborhood of Pico-Union, Los Angeles. Prime is considered to be a founding father of Los Angeles style graffiti and one of the most influential artists in the history of Los Angeles public wall writing. Jose began writing the tag “Prime” in the early 1980’s. Prime is one of the original members of the “Kill 2 Succeed” (K2S) graffiti crew, established in 1985 by Rick One.

WORK
Prime gained international exposure in 1987 when his work was featured in the seminal book Spraycan Art. Spraycan Art is one of the earliest documents of graffiti culture and inspired additional movements around the world. In the book, “Graffiti L.A.” Steve Grody writes of Prime that “His battle piece representing K2S crew against WCA crew in 1985 is arguably the single most influential piece in the establishment of L.A. style”. Prime’s pieces and characters from that time were considered highly original and creative.

Complex Magazine included Prime on their “25 greatest L.A. graffiti writers” list, noting that “...his pieces from the early 80’s still shit on most stuff today”. The Vibe “History of Hip Hop” [3] acknowledges Prime’s vital contributions to L.A.’s distinctive graffiti style in a chapter titled “ Early Los Angeles Hip Hop” written by Ben Higa. Prime was an artist included in the “L.A. collabrative wall”, part of the Art In The Streets show exhibited by MOCA in 2011.

LIFE
Prime’s work has had a major impact on the graffiti community and is widely recognized for having influenced many writers and crews in L.A. at that time and for generations to come. Prime has collaborated with Gajin Fujita and his tags and throw ups are visible in many of Gajin’s paintings. In 1989, Prime survived a gang related shooting and as a result lost full movement of his right hand. Prime responded by training himself to write with his left hand, which is how he paints today. Some anecdotes from this period of Primes’s life are documented in Ruben Martinez’s book The Other Side.

ARTICLES: 50MM Los Angeles, Complex Magazine, LA Weekly, Wikipedia

 
Jose PRIME Reza. Photo by Jim McHugh.

Jose PRIME Reza. Photo by Jim McHugh.

Roll Call - Curated by Gajin Fujita at the LA Louver.

Roll Call - Curated by Gajin Fujita at the LA Louver.

 

 

Works by PRIME