Big Sleeps Changed the Street Art Game

This month, LATV Network proudly presented a new era in LatinX led docu-series entertainment with the premiere of it’s re-invented, reinvigorated series, LatiNation. Airing on LATV across the nation (check the schedule on this on LATV.com and your local listings) LatiNation takes viewers deep inside the world of today’s LatinX leaders in art, activism, and extreme athletics. It is “Life, Art, Vision, Translated.” And on every episode we offer an extended, documentary style look inside the lives of people you should know about, but probably don’t.

This season’s landmark episode focuses on the artist primarily known as Big Sleeps, who has been making art out of letters for as long as he can remember. Growing up in the gang-infested Pico-Union of the ’80s, and ’90s, Sleeps was surrounded by prison tattoos and territorial graffiti. While some may not know how the slim jail-house-inspired West Coast letter style differed from the bubbly letters of East Coast graffiti, the young artist viewed it as the calligraphy of his people and his neighborhood.

“Lettering has always been a huge influence on me,” Sleeps says. “I grew up in a neighborhood where everything was gangs and shit. You came out your door and it was on the people, the walls, the sidewalks, everything. It was something I’d see every day, and I just started practicing it. It could’ve been markings for gang territories or whatever, but I more appreciated the art in it and the form of the letters on the wall.”

Below we check out an in depth documentary piece from our homies at LatiNation, where we follow Big Sleeps from his studio to his moving tribute for a fallen friend.




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