As comfortable on a skateboard deck as any mural wall, David Flores is an anomaly in California’s thriving art scene. The Tulare native mixes New York soul with a masculine cholo grit to depict icons from a golden of American history. He fearlessly subsumes classic celebrities—Beethoven, Picasso, and Mickey Mouse, to name a few—into soulful and essential L.A. street art that showcases the multicultural fabric of his place and time.
Born in the 70s, during the swell of California’s surf and skateboard explosion, Flores’ work blossom with an organic repetition. He studied graphic design in Santa Barbara before diving headlong into the local skate scene in the early 2000s and has worked as a freelance illustrator for the likes of Lucky Bearings, Spitfire Wheels, Black Magic and Shorty’s Skateboards, even gracing the pages of TransWorld.
Since 2007, Flores has been deeply immersed in his murals. Like a flower pushing up through the cracks of ghetto sidewalk, his pieces are one part celebratory violation, one part tribute to the space they inhabit. Many have called his style ‘stain glass,’ a term he has struggled with but now embraces.
“I really don’t see it that way. I see a natural evolution of my thought process breaking shapes and colours down into basic forms. Why would you say, ‘no, I’m not doing that; I’m doing this.’ Touch everything and see what you like.”
One thing is certain, the religious referent does recall Flores’ vivid cloisonnism. Littered with the sparse echo of a coarse Latino spirituality, he pops like old-school pinstripes on a Cadillac bouncing through south central, a new classic, like vivid cuts of coloured glass stained blue with the palette of a heroin overdose.