A graffiti tagger as a teen, he now designs for Fendi and Mercedes-Benz

Unusual issues occur to on a regular basis objects when Joshua Vides applies his creativeness to them — one thing metaphysical, nearly magical.

With a couple of deft strokes of his Sharpie pens or spritzes of spray paint, Vides blurs the road between two dimensions and three. A plain footstool jumps to life in trompe-l’oeil black and white — each a tangible artifact and an artsy abstraction. A mass-produced ‘70s-vintage Chuck Taylor sneaker mutates into a singular collectible that fetches a number of Benjamins.

Inanimate stuff — a skateboard, a visitors cone and a bottle of Scotch — out of the blue emits a bizarre vitality, as if possessed by spirits.

His creations have turned the previous scofflaw graffitist into an illustrator and visible artist wanted by a rising checklist of worldwide manufacturers, together with Adidas, Converse, Warner Bros., Google, Pink Bull, EBay, Fendi, Ballentine and Mercedes-Benz. Requested how his Pop Artwork brushwork yields such eye-popping results, Vides presents a deceptively unremarkable reply:

“I feel it’s the simplicity of it. A number of the most lovely issues on the earth are the best concepts.”

Joshua Vides is an illustrator and visible artist who designs for main manufacturers together with Fendi and Converse, together with placing artwork installations.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Instances)

In a method, what Vides does to quotidian actuality is what rising up in exurban Southern California enabled him to do: see the world anew.

The youngest of three kids of Guatemalan immigrants, he was regarded by his mother and father and academics as a hard child, mischievous at college, with poor grades, no faculty prospects and a nasty perspective.

“At the moment my conduct didn’t present a brilliant future for me, did it?” says Vides, now 31.

However the man who dropped out of design college now seems to have a blazing future forward of him.

Jon Roy, vice chairman of worldwide vitality model advertising at Converse, stated his firm is continually on the lookout for younger creatives who additionally need to engender optimistic change of their communities.

“Josh is a recreation changer who has an uncanny knack for taking one thing basic, if it’s a Chuck Taylor sneaker, an Eames chair, a baseball card, or a tarp, including a seemingly easy but sudden twist and creating one thing distinctive,” he says.

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But it wasn’t so way back that Vides felt trapped in a special form of immersive surroundings, a labyrinth of melancholy and self-doubt. To search out his method out he needed to retrace his steps — again towards the straightforward and the attractive.


The windswept metropolis of Rialto, 50 miles east of Los Angeles, immediately a hub of huge distribution warehouses, was the right inventive backdrop for the youth with darkish, alert eyes, who was launched to skateboarding and graffiti via pals at Kolb Center College.

Throughout his early teenagers he earned cash by customizing pals’ skateboards. He rapidly transitioned from sketching in notebooks to tagging streets, bridges, sidewalks and visitors indicators. He left his mark in squiggly letters lifted from Looney Tunes, photographs of males with gasoline masks and riffs on the Dodgers emblem.

Armed with a backpack and black-and-white spray paints, he’d sneak out of his house at evening, hop on his bike and graffiti the streets of downtown Rialto.

“I might add a bat to my backpack in case I bought into bother with another graffiti artist and I would depart,” he remembers. “Getting across the authorities and my mother and father was thrilling.”

Joshua Vides is sitting.

As an adolescent, Joshua Vides unfold his illicit handiwork throughout the Inland Empire — Pomona, Colton, Bloomington, San Bernardino.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Instances)

His religious Evangelical mother and father, Oscar and Eva Vides, labored all day, leaving Joshua and his older siblings, Carlos and Melissa, at house for lengthy stretches.

“So my maternal grandparents, Eva and Juan, took cost of taking good care of us,” Vides says. “My siblings have been about 5 years older than me, however I used to be the one troublemaker.”

When Vides was nearly 15, his mother and father moved the household to Rancho Cucamonga to get their kids away from their unwelcoming neighborhood. However their youngest son saved spreading his illicit handiwork throughout the Inland Empire — Pomona, Colton, Bloomington, San Bernardino.

He didn’t worry operating afoul of the police, however he fretted over his still-generic fashion.

“That was a thorn that bothered me: My artwork was neither recognizable nor distinctive.”

At Los Osos Excessive College in Rancho Cucamonga, Vides started promoting stenciled shirts. After graduating he enrolled in a graphic design course at Chaffey Faculty to learn to screen-print. His efforts have been in useless.

“I solely went for a few months and ended up dropping out as a result of it wasn’t one thing that appealed to me,” he says.

Underneath strain from his mother and father to select a profession, in February 2008 he entered a San Diego firefighter academy. He was recruited by the Riverside County Fireplace Division, however inside a yr Vides resigned his submit.

“I didn’t like my job,” he says. “I used to be bored and I assumed I had lots of creativity to be locked in a spot. It was a danger I needed to take.”

It was the second time, and never the final, that Vides would disappoint his mother and father, who fled Guatemala’s devastating 36-year civil conflict for the sake of their kids.

Eva, who was 20 when she arrived stateside, discovered work as a grocery store cashier. Oscar, 24, who had studied to be an agronomist in Guatemala, bought a foothold in his adopted nation washing dishes in a restaurant.

“If I take into consideration my ancestors, we nonetheless don’t understand how they achieved and created many issues. I didn’t have a lot college, however I had creativity and keenness.”

Joshua Vides

After marrying in 1982, the couple have been in a position to acquire their everlasting residence in 1987, because of the immigration reform legislation signed by President Reagan. Eva grew to become a nurse, Oscar a truck driver.

Two years later, Joshua was born.

“I all the time knew that he was a particular boy, regardless of being a stressed and humorous boy,” Eva says. “In his teenagers, he had unhealthy conduct at college. He faked his father’s signature and he was suspended for portray graffiti.”

However of her son’s inventiveness and tenacity there by no means was any doubt.

“He continues to shock us with all he has been in a position to put ahead,” his mom says. “It has given us super pleasure to see him develop and enhance.”

Joshua Vides stands folding his arms

Joshua Vides’ method facilities on making use of black-and-white accenting to on a regular basis objects.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Instances)

In 2009, at age 20, Vides shocked his mother and father as soon as once more by investing $500 to begin his personal shirt and insole model, CLSC, and ran the enterprise out of the household house in Rancho Cucamonga.
Over the following 5 years he held a wide range of jobs to immerse himself within the enterprise of road vogue: assistant supervisor at a Zumiez clothes retailer, truck driver (incomes $7 an hour) for the A whole lot, graphic designer and advertising supervisor for the Seventh Letter, a gallery.

“All these years I used to be studying concerning the market, the way it labored,” he stated.

In 2014, Vides determined to dedicate himself full-time to CLSC, which stands for Can’t Reside Fearful of Modifications, and established a boutique on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, promoting shirts, hats, headwear and different objects in his personal designs. However the rise of Amazon swiftly spelled doom for his fledgling enterprise.

“Then I assumed, possibly I don’t need to be behind the counter all my life. In brief, I used to be now not having enjoyable,” Vides stated.

By then he additionally was a father to a son, Cassius, born in 2013, and a daughter, Verona, born two years later. He and the youngsters’s mom, Elle, married in April 2017, and Vides discovered his feelings rocking and tumbling like a curler coaster.

Joshua Vides hugs his daughter

Joshua Vides hugs his daughter, Verona.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Instances)

“I needed to do one thing larger, however I didn’t know what, so I took one other main danger in my life — leaving my enterprise.”


Being unemployed whereas struggling to supply for his household plunged the artist into melancholy. However Vides by no means ceased brainstorming concepts, and he started to lengthy for the liberty he felt tagging the streets with graffiti, unleashing concepts as they flowed via his thoughts.

He determined to color an object with spray paint and a Sharpie to simulate a flat, two-dimensional sketch. He picked out a pair of Reebok Traditional sneakers that he by no means wore. When he completed, his physique was shaking with pleasure.

“A number of days later, I went out to color a fireplace hydrant and I felt that drug like once I was an adolescent. That’s the place the idea of actuality started to the thought for which I’m identified now,” he says.

Experiencing a newfound euphoria, Vides requested his spouse about whether or not he ought to submit his artwork on Instagram. The couple agreed that he ought to paint and submit a Nike Air Power 1.

To his shock, the work went viral on Instagram, selecting up 5,000 or 10,000 followers daily, together with messages from fashion-first actors and athletes requesting the magic sneakers.

“I used to be in a position to promote as much as 400 pairs in a single hour,” Vides remembers. “However I used to be nonetheless broke.”

In February 2018, Vides determined to hire a roughly 1,000-square-foot house on the nook of Melrose Avenue and Ridgewood Place to exhibit an assortment of three-dimensional objects that gave the impression to be black-and-white sketches. He put $8,000 of his financial savings into the present.

No wine and cheese have been served. No DJ spun home music. However some 3,000 individuals confirmed up for the free occasion.

“I simply needed individuals to see my work and have that optical phantasm. I used to be not fascinated about getting paid for the doorway,” Vides says.

The response persuaded Vides to take a position one other $8,000 and mount a second occasion on the Seventh Letter in Los Angeles, only a month later. Its centerpiece was a sketched-up 1995 Acura NSX, lent to him by a pal, parked in the midst of the gallery surrounded by cones and racing flags on the partitions.

Vides was exhausted, however ecstatic. And most vital of all, he had discovered what he longed for when tagging streets as an adolescent — his personal fashion.

In just some days Vides was contacted by Jordan Sneakers to work on a challenge, and the floodgate opened for commissions and requests to collaborate.

Vides has been busy ever since.

“Josh is bold, he likes danger, he’s good at gross sales and numbers and all trades,” says Ben Shenassafar, CEO of the A whole lot streetwear model. He met Vides when he labored with the A whole lot 15 years in the past and he remembers effectively the hungry younger man wanting to show himself. “It doesn’t shock me to see him on the high the place he’s immediately.”

At the moment, Vides’ artwork could be seen via Fb Messenger and Fb Open Arts, a challenge that highlights six artists from underrepresented communities. Vides contributed to the creation of Messenger’s first black-and-white, totally immersive, 360-degree backgrounds.

“He’s focused on pushing the boundaries of the place his artwork is proven,” says Emmett Dzieza, artwork director of augmented actuality with Fb Messenger,

In 2019 he and Converse labored collectively on ComplexCon, the place he collaborated on a customizable Converse Chuck 70 sneaker that performed up his distinctive black-and-white penmanship, however allowed for additional metamorphosis by way of interchangeable, coloured Velcro panels.

In 2020, Vides and the Museum of Modern Artwork Chicago created an exhibit that challenged him to color the longest hallway of his profession in his signature fashion. To accompany this piece, he labored on a 40-foot canvas that was lower and reworked into 30 pairs of one-of-a-kind Converse Chuck 70s. They have been auctioned, and the proceeds benefited the museum and its mission.

Vides thinks that his reward for imparting a magical-realist sheen to no matter he touches stems from his Maya heritage, his ancestral hyperlink to the Mesoamerican civilization that stretches from Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula into Central America.

“I don’t understand how far it goes again in my household for me to be thought of Mayan or Guatemalan,” Vides says, “However my mother and father have been born there, and I can say that in the long run I’ve Indigenous blood.”

He feels a deep affinity with that Indigenous tradition of huge and mysterious works.

“If I take into consideration my ancestors, we nonetheless don’t understand how they achieved and created many issues. I didn’t have a lot college, however I had creativity and keenness.”

His mother and father, who had tried to steer their son towards faculty, have lengthy since accepted that he discovered and adopted one other path.

“It’s solely occurs in america,” says Oscar Vides, “a rustic the place the immigrant dream is feasible if you’re persistent, resourceful and hard-working.”

His son agrees — with, as regular, a twist all his personal.

“I’m dwelling the American dream to some extent as a result of I’m a first-generation immigrant,” he says. “However I feel I’d take out the ‘American’ and say I’m simply dwelling the … dream basically,” he says — including a colourful modifier.

Not every little thing, in spite of everything, could be expressed in black and white.

A graffiti tagger as a teen, he now designs for Fendi and Mercedes-Benz Source link A graffiti tagger as a teen, he now designs for Fendi and Mercedes-Benz

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