Jose "Prime" Reza
Our River: city floodplain
An American graffiti artist born and raised in the Pico-Union District of Downtown Los Angeles, Prime is considered one of the most influential artists in the history of Los Angeles public wall writing.
Photo courtesy of Jim McHugh
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jose "Prime" Reza (b. October 5, 1971) is an American graffiti artist born and raised in the Pico-Union District of Downtown Los Angeles. Prime is credited with being a founding father of Los Angeles stylized graffiti lettering, a hybrid of Cholo lettering and East Coast style graffiti that is often bold, aggressive, and monochromatic.
In 1989, Prime survived a gang-related shooting. The artist was shot at point blank range by two different assailants with two separate firearms, losing full movement of his right hand for many years. Prime responded by training himself to write and paint with his left hand, which is how he primarily paints today, although he has developed ambidextrous skills and at times switches hands.
Prime is considered one of the most influential artists in the history of Los Angeles public wall writing, combining "traditional east coast painting techniques with geometric gangster-style blocks."
Complex Magazine included Prime on their list "25 greatest L.A. Graffiti Writers" noting that, "...his pieces from the early 80's still shit on most stuff today. The Vibe History of Hip Hop 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