LA Originals – Mr.Cartoon & Estevan

In this Netflix film, LA Originals explores the rise to fame of Chicano artists Mister Cartoon and Estevan Oriol as they cemented their art in LA culture. Mister Cartoon started out as a graffiti artist that tagged the streets of LA and worked his way into tattooing. Meanwhile, Estevan was going on tour and photographing bands like The Bestie Boys, No Doubt and Cypress Hill. Together they wanted to make money in a way that wasn’t illegal and started the company Soul Assassin Studio. Here they turned their Chicano roots and LA Homebase into an empire. They started tattooing and photographing musicians like Eminem, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog. With their gain in popularity, they have even worked with the late Kobe Bryant, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake.

The film explores the gangster culture of LA and features a book of Estevan’s photography of these gang members and states how some of them die from living the gang life. It also touched on how they have to adapt to the changing times of social media and the struggle to maintain relevance in this modern age since the culture isn’t as prominent as it once was.

Overall, Mr. Cartoon and Estevan exploited their Chicano gang culture into an empire of wealth. They even have inspired and created a sub-culture in Japan that duplicates this Chicano gang lifestyle and inspired video games like Gand Theft Auto that features their artwork.

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Shannon Stump

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