K74 is one of the more active LA-based street artists, and he's done some great stuff recently in LA, Bristol (at Upfest), and in Tel Aviv. I wanted find out more about him, so here's the interview.

Your work covers a lot of themes, from the headless chickens, to the charm of Yuli, to H1N1. What drives your choice of topic?
My topics come from my everyday life; stuff comes sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes walking down the street. I am very inspired by my surroundings.

I'd love to know the story behind some of your pieces;
what are the headless chickens about?

When I first went out putting stuff up, I was running around without a clue... it struck me one night I was like a headless chicken, so I went home and cut the stencil that night. At one time I'd paste up to 50 a night, 3 times a week - they were all over LA. The oldest ones are in Laurel Canyon, and are still there.

What's the thinking behind Moses bringin' the noise?
A friend of mine wanted to start a record label... he's Jewish, so I started playing with mixing symbols from each. I ended up putting that piece on a wall in Laurel Canyon, so Moses is coming down from the mountain, and it's actually Rick Rubin's house - it fits perfectly.

Recently you've created several pieces about swine flu/ H1N1; what's that about?
I'm a big conspiracy theorist; I'm into the idea that we're all being played somehow, by powerful companies, governments. If you think about the start of H1N1, it shut down Mexico for a time; it shut down the pork industry. You wonder why it happened like that - who'd pissed who off, or who stood to gain. We have a pharmaceutical industry that only wants to treat symptoms, they don't want to find cures.
I used Elmo because of that idea that if you want to change society you get in through the kids, so kids education is a big thing. That idea that the H1N1 scare could be introduced into society through kids TV.

How long have you been active on the streets? Which artists originally inspired you to start putting up work?
Three and a half years. Banksy, obviously; Blek le Rat influenced me to do more stencil pasteups; Nick Walker's cutting technique; Logan Hicks for the scale and complexity of his stencils, and Blu for doing huge things that are perfect in concept, execution, everything.

You're based in LA but you've spent time travelling and putting up work in other cities, including at Upfest in Bristol and in Tel Aviv. What do you think of the LA scene at the moment, and what do you like about the scene in other cities you've spent time in?
The Tel Aviv scene is great - the police are much less aggressive, and work stays up much longer if it's good. It's much more tolerant. I think LA suffers because nobody's really organized the scene - nobody's created a big collab event and marketed it so that it goes mainstream. Most people don't notice street work - it takes a while to become aware of it. We need more artists out there putting up a lot of stuff - when it's hit you a hundred times you start to get it.
If you walk down the street in Bristol you'll see 10 pieces in 5 minutes. You don't get that in LA - partly because things get buffed so fast.

What would your ideal project be? (theme, collaborators, location etc.)
I'd love to get the balls to do what Blu does; find an enormous wall, get a massive cherry picker and do something huge. To do that you really need balls - you need to know you can pull it off. Everyone starts out putting up small stuff because they don't have the confidence to go big.

If you could buy any three pieces of art, what would they be?
Jose Parla's 'World Destiny Written'
Albrecht Dürer's 'Adam & Eve' (K74 did a version of this at Upfest this year)
Banksy's Smiley Coppers

Other than art, what are your passions?
Music, travel, and of course my family.

What's next for you? What shows or projects do you have planed?
I've got some pictures in an event at the William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica (Bergamot Station; Sunday Oct 4th), supporting a documentary about Tibet called 'State of Control'. I'm going to Amsterdam in November to paint - that city's freedom makes you free to create; if I could, I would live there. I'm going to do something on the theme of the Gilder & the Euro...

What everyone should know is...
K74 is here to stay

Check out more work here, and check K74's website.

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© unurth