Uh, wait. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?
by Jennifer Swan
Like many Angelenos, Carlos Herrera spends a lot of time in his car. His iPhone email signature even taunts, “Sent while driving.” When we speak by phone one afternoon, he’s driving to an art supply store on Fairfax to pick up spray paint for his next project. But 27-year-old Herrera, who once described himself in an Instragram photo as “Zac Efron without the hair,” is not an artist.
If you’ve spent any time driving the streets of Hollywood, Echo Park and Fairfax, you’ve no doubt seen his work. A comedy writer by trade (though he’s currently unemployed), Herrera recently took to the streets to make fun of the industry that’s constantly rejecting him.
In one of his more self-deprecating pieces of graffiti, spray painted on a temporary construction wall outside a new clothing boutique on Beverly Blvd., Herrera wrote the purposefully-misspelled “Just Looking 4 a righting JOB.” Next to that, he put an x next to each of the words “SNL” and “Conan,” both TV shows for which he had been turned down for writing gigs.
Lately, he’s found other ways to get his writing seen: short, witty phrases painted on discarded mattresses (“Rest Coast” reads one on a Hollywood Blvd. sidewalk; “I want celebrities to sleep on me” reads another outside Paramount Pictures) and scribbled across the ubiquitous white wooden fences that shroud construction sites all over the city. (“I miss Mad Men” is written on Beverly Boulevard.)
“Imagine you have this wall on Beverly Boulevard to write anything you want, and a million people are going to drive by it like three hours later, what would you do?” he asks, in a rare moment of artistic reflection. “I want to make fun of people.”
One of his graffiti pieces, for example, makes fun of an unnamed comedian whom he’s got beef with. “She’s really into yoga but she does a lot of drugs, and she tweeted or instagrammed her vision board one day,” he says, forgetting where he had first seen the inspirational collage. “So I wrote down ‘vision bored.'”