The www.nohoartsdistrictcom motto: “NoHo is only as great as its people.”
This is true for our local buseinesses. We’re lucky to live and work in such a vibrant and creative community as the NoHo Arts District. The owners of The Juice Parlor, Sarina and Dima, have a passion for art (and healthy fare and libations!), specifically street art. Since opening day last year, they knew they wanted to contribute a very special and meaningful piece to the North Hollywood community.
The Juice Parlor's regulars are in the music scene of NoHo - from producing music to being singers and dancers. The owners felt a major need for a mural to represent music. While thinking of who to use, they immediately thought of Prince, someone who isn't represented in the street art world, and is a strong image of power and not fitting into a mold.
They found an artist, Alex Ali Gonzalez, whose work really stood out to them, and knew he was the one to produce the piece. They were impressed with Alex's passion for street art and his talent.
“The Juice Parlor looks forward to providing more pieces to the community!” – Sarina and Dima, creators/owners of The Juice Parlor.
We asked artist Alex about how he got started and why he gave us the Prince mural.
What is your art background? How did you get started as an artist?
So my art background started with my mom sticking me into art classes in middle school. My mom has always been a big fan of arts and crafts, so I was always around it. I've always been attracted to art, driving on the way to my grandma’s house on the 134 freeway seeing all the graffiti on the walls was so eye appealing. The pop of color, design and contrast always caught my attention so I started doing graffiti as a kid from middle school to college. My older brother started taking me out to art exhibitions. Banksy and Shepard Fairy definitely inspired me to become the artist I am today. My brother took me to Banksy's first exhibition L.A. and I remember my mind being blown away with his art. So I started just painting canvases for fun and switching up my style of art.
The funny thing was I was trying to go the safe route in life and get a city job so I was going to school for fire fighting, passed all my courses all I needed was to join the fire academy. Unfortunately, that’s around the time we were in a recession so the city was not hiring for another five years or so. I stopped school and had to find a job and I started cleaning pools with one of my best friends, his dad owns the business. With that little bit of income I was barley making week to week so on my time off I started painting small canvases and posting them on Facebook. People eventually started reaching out to me about purchasing custom commission paintings and I would sell them for about $50-100 per piece.
After about a year of that I said to myself “I need to step it up and do a mural somewhere.” So I did a free mural at my high school where I painted our ex-president John F. Kennedy to give back to where I came from. From there on out I got hired to paint the four coaches on the T.V. show on NBC "The Voice." I painted for them for four consecutive seasons. I also painted for the Spanish version of the show "LA Voz Kids." I started getting more commissions, people started taking me and my art more seriously since I was staying focused and consistent. Then season 8 came around on “The Voice” and I was commissioned to paint Pharrell Willams and Missey Elliot for their new single that came out with the day of the finale of “The Voice.” Painting has been quite the fun adventure, I now have five outside murals, one store design in Burbank, one store design on Fairfax, two murals in Cuba, three murals in the DTLA Arts District, and some graffiti in Florence, Italy. I've painted custom commissioned work for Blake Shelton, Scott Storch, Tommy Lee, Kid Cudi, radio station Power 106, GoPro and my most recent Prince I did in North Hollywood at "The Juice Parlor."
How did you choose to do a Prince tribute?
Me, Sarina and Dims all agreed on the Prince mural to commemorate his legacy in a city where there is a lot of musicians and artsy people who will appreciate his presence on a huge wall that needed some life. I'm very happy about the mural I've been getting a lot of awesome feed back from the mural of prince and I'm very thankful to the people who are showing the mural love and respect.
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