Street artist, painter, Angeleno, father, husband, beach volleyball player, you name it, Keith, aka Teachr, has most likely done it. As one of the more prolific artists in Los Angeles, he’s done what many would not even dream to do. He was the first artist to work on a live installation within the walls of the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia as well as work with college art students in Zimbabwe. Teachr is currently one of the bigger names in the Los Angeles street art scene due to the consistency and the amount of work he puts in week by week. I recently sat down with Teachr in his Los Feliz studio where we shared half of a sausage wrap and talked about the path that has led him to where he currently is…
How and when did you get into street art?
My twins were born right around the same time budget cuts in schools were going into effect. At that point, I had already seen some street art by Alec Monopoly as well as Shepard Fairey and naturally it caught my attention. I wanted to do something similar but I didn’t have anything I was extremely passionate about. I knew I didn’t want to “brand” on the street. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to bring to light the fact that there was budget cuts in schools.
I didn’t want to risk my rights just to brand, but raising awareness for budget cuts was something I was willing to risk my freedom for. The first stencil I made was my daughter’s face with the words “teach”. The message behind this first stencil was “teach each child.”
I hold this philosophy close to the heart because I want my children to grow up in a well-educated country, not just well defended one.
Whats your favorite taco place in L.A?
“The King of Grill” on La Brea just South of Hollywood. Nice, simple, and fucking naughty.
What keeps you in Los Angeles?
My wife trying to get her career going as a film-maker. If she wasn’t, I would still be around Los Angeles but more in the outskirts of the city. I get road rage really easily just driving around running errands. I don’t feel I do well around such a huge population but for the moment, this is what it is and it helps make me that much more of an artist. You never want to have an artist that is too comfortable. It’s better to keep us constantly on edge.
What role does this city play in your life and the artistic part of you?
It is very inspiring because it allows me to reach a broader audience then I would anywhere else such as Sarasota, Florida where I graduated college. I like the thought of a huge number of people being exposed to my art, it feels like my message is being spread at a much greater rate than a small city in the middle of nowhere.
What do you think makes you unique, what makes your art stand out from the rest of the street artists in this city?
I think it is a combination of being constantly active and having my own unique stencil style. I keep producing new things week after week and feel like I grow as an artist with every new stencil I put together and with every electrical box I spray onto. I don’t repeat my art. I am not just a one topic artist. I am diverse in both my mediums and messages. My permit to work on a couple different electrical boxes is another way I stand out as well. I currently have two permits; one that allows me to work on a box in downtown and one on Hollywood and La Brea. But because I’m white and have a piece of paper, the cops let me get away with hitting up with whichever box they catch me at and I rarely have had any problems.
Currently I see politics is an emerging theme in your art. Are you currently angry or content with the current political atmosphere in United States?
I am discontent. Although I keep on hating and doing pieces on Donald Trump, we might have a better chance with him changing the way Congress runs than anyone else. I still would never support him because he has much more of a chance of doing bad than good. Hilary is not going to be able to do it and poor Bernie is not even going to get nominated. And Cruz? Are you kidding me? Hahaha!
Future people you’d like to see yourself collaborating with?
In the near future I see myself collaborating with more schools. I have a solo show going on in June at Fairfax High school. It’s going to be a model event because i’ll be working with kids and giving 25% of the proceeds to the school. I enjoy working with kids at the age where they are really curious which tends to be around 14 and 15. Yeah, I really hope to do more work with teenagers in the near future, both before and after my solo show.
What is the philosophy you spread with your work?
My message and philosophy is: teach peace. Putting faces out there with the teach peace symbol to get people to start thinking about teaching peace is how I got started and it’s still something I hold true to my heart. To me, teaching peace can be done by anyone who helps you learn how to deal with conflict.
Theres always going to be need for peace.
Find Teachr on Instagram.