cholo arte

When I was in la secundaria
I falled in love of
a little morra que se llamaba Liz
I was catorce años
y yo no era nada guapo
I was fat
I didn´t know vestirme bien
en aquellas épocas
estaba trending
be a cholo
I wanted gustarle a Lizy
but no sabía cómo
I watched her and noté
que ella prestaba
so much atention
to the bad guys
empecé a ir a la plaza
donde se juntaban los cholos
y entré en la gang
my clothes now eran
pantalones Dickies
and limas tumbadas
maybe she doesn´t know
all what I made
just para que me volteara a ver
but su actitud
fue changing
and I remember that she
invited me to the partys
then she told me
Que no le gustaba por ser cholo
sino por la manera en que la trataba
—  La alegría es un roadtrip, Quetzal Noah 
That was going to be
un viernes de party normal
I weared my chaqueta Fubu
my tenis Tommy
quedé de verme
con mis compitas
always the weekends
I was bien prendido
por si se armaban los putazos
one friend called by celular
and He asked to me
que fuera por él
a la entrada del barrio
I went with mi compa Ubaldo
y el Alfredo
de pronto
We watched un chingo
de vatos locos
my gang had fallas
with them
and they me vieron
y se dejaron venir
I ran en chinga
los dejé atrás
but the street era
una bajadita
then I felt que un puto
me metió el pie
y me fui rodando
when I wanted pararme
me llovían putazos
they broken una caguma
on my head
la putiza duró como 3 minutos
because se escuchó
la ley
and all corrieron paniqueados
but it was an ambulance
and when I walk
I looked me in the mirror
of a car
and I was cubierto
de blood
—  La alegría es un roadtrip, Quetzal Noah


Cholo writing originally constitues the handstyle created by the Latino gangs in Los Angeles. It is probably the oldest form of the graffiti of names in the 20th century, with its own aesthetic, evident long before the East Coast appearance and the explosion in the early 1970s in Philadelphia and New York. The term cholo means lowlife, appropriated by Chicano youth to describe the style and people associated with local gangs; cholo became a popular expression to define the Mexican American culture. Latino gangs are a parallel reality of the local urban life, with their own traditions and codes from oral language, way of dressing, tattoos and hand signs to letterforms. These wall-writings, sometimes called the newspaper of the streets, are territorial signs which main function is to define clearly and constantly the limits of a gangs influence area and encouraging gang strength, a graffiti made by the neighborhood for the neighborhood. Cholo inscriptions has a speficic written aesthetic based on a strong sense of the place and on a monolinear adaptation of historic blackletters for street bombing. Howard Gribble, an amateur photographer from the city of Torrance in the South of Los Angeles County, documented Latino gang graffiti from 1970 to 1975. These photographs of various Cholo handletterings, constituted an unique opportunity to try to push forward the calligraphic analysis of Cholo writing, its origins and formal evolution. A second series of photographs made by Franois Chastanet in 2008 from East LA to South Central, are an attempt to produce a visual comparison of letterforms by finding the same barrios (neighborhoods) and gangs group names more than thirty five years after Gribbles work. Without ignoring the violence and self-destruction.