Video and text by Daniel Lir from Dream Team Directors
We first met Chaz Bojorquez while creating the award-winning hit short documentary "LA Aboriginal" on dynamic artist, Dave Tourje. Having just moved to LA from NYC we were committed to showing in a film that Los Angeles had a rich art culture, style and compelling world of its own. Dave made the movie easy because in addition to being a powerful character, he was a sort of walking encyclopedia of LA art and cultural history and brought such great understanding to our purpose.
Dave had grown up in Highland Park and we were fascinated that Chaz was from the same neighborhood but the two had never met until much later in life. They were both into surfing, hot rods and graffiti and were living parallel lives.
When I, Daniel, was a young skateboarder living in South Pasadena, it seemed that there was danger everywhere in the early 90's in nearby Highland Park. I would feel a certain terror when I skateboarded there with my friends. So Dave's stories during the filming of "LA Aboriginal" about being chased by guy's swinging motorcycle chains was so real to me.
To think that Chaz was there way back in the day, influenced by the gang culture there and creating images in the LA River and conceiving his legendary Señor Suerte was fascinating. Señor Suerte later became tattooed on the necks of gang members and Chaz certainly "burned a whole with his images into the culture" as Dave would say showing that he was indeed influential. Meeting Chaz gave us a whole new context and appreciation for Highland Park, LA art history, gang culture and graffiti in general.
It was when we interviewed Chaz during his seminal "Art in the Streets" show at Moca that we really discovered as filmmakers the true depths of this fascinating artist. It was shocking and amazing to discover that Chaz had worked for decades before really attaining the respect in the art world he deserved. This amazing creator was actually painting in the LA River alone with no real audience or appreciation for his work for unbelievable stretches of time . I think most artists would have given up because don't all artists really want validation or acknowledgement for their work? Chaz persisted for years despite his work being called "garbage art" and even rejected by the Chicano Art Movement.
So being fascinated by Chaz, we invited him onto our new inspirational show "The Dream State" to talk about his journey. Having him on the show is a rare gem because we learn from one of the greatest creators how to build a career, how to overcome obstacles, how to promote one's work and perhaps most importantly, Chaz gives us a life changing definition of success-"Success is being influential." This blew us away in the context of a culture centered around money, fame and material success.
This is the beauty of "The Dream State", we learn from legends what really matters that can help one achieve one's dreams and goals in art, film, fashion and creativity.