On this day, I get the privilege to dig into the mind of a dear friend, an entrepreneur and Los Angeles based Graffiti artist Pesky Oner, well-known for her usage of colorful vivid characters; letters and dragons. But not only does she elaborate her skills on walls; she does some amazing body painting as well. For the first time ever she will sit down and talk about her lifestyle as well as fond memories of the Belmont Tunnel and where it all started. Enjoy every bit of it because let me assure you that it was a challenge to have her open up and speak about herself as an artist and her involvement in this Graffiti Art Movement; she is a very humble person and I admire that about her the most.
Pesky Oner was born in Monterey, California at Fort Ord Army Base to mother from Costa Rica and father from Mexican-Filipino origin. At only months of age her parents moved to Echo Park, California where Pesky spent half of her life living there until the age of 16 when she moved to Cypress Park and eventually Highland Park which is where she still resides at the time. Her childhood was influenced by both artistic parents as she reminisces on her mother painting and her father playing music. I must say that it is always inspiring to learn that the best traits and influences are learned by artistic parents as role models. Pesky’s mother was the one that taught her the usage of colors and acrylics before she even entered kindergarten; she always advised Pesky to never copy anybody else’s styles. Therefore she took it upon herself to always stay original with her styles and characters. For Pesky, one of her early memories as her interest for art evolved at an early age. “I remember being young and in school I would always draw during breakfast and lunch breaks, I would always have a little crowd around me, watching me, asking me what I was drawing. I would always say the same thing: I don’t know, I’m just doing it. And then after being done some random person asking for it; while everyone else would be sad and mentioned that they also wanted it. It was nice!” (Pesky).
The Beginning of Graffiti
Her first interest for Graffiti began after she met Aone an ex-boyfriend of her sister, whom Pesky still sees as a brother till this day. So this was around the age of 12! Her sister would have to take Pesky along as she was younger more like a third wheel, so Aone would bring a friend to distract her while her sister was trying to kick it with her friends. Hahaha. “Those were the DTW’s and I always remember them “catching a grill” or “hanging a grill” and catching spots, I loved it! But it was more of a fantasy for me to do something like that; I was young and dumb so as I got older my sister was the one that had a strong influence on me because she had “real Graff Writer friends” from FCT that would always be doing pieces for her at the Belmont Tunnel along with BBQ’s and good times”(Pesky).
This was the beginning of Pesky’s real exposure to the Graff scene and as many remember, the Belmont Tunnel was the place to be when it came to bombing yards, many fond memories for a lot of Graffiti writers from previous generations as well as to becoming a historical landmark for new Graffiti generations to learn about. “I remember going to a “battle”, I can’t remember who it was against whom but that battle, that moment was it for me, right there! After that, I was going to Melrose and admiring Graff buying can control, hanging out with my generation of Graff writers at Virgil, Belmont and Franklin. Buying piece books and claiming to be a writer because I had some means streaks and my BF at the time would hit me up; whoever that may have been ha ha ha . But at this time yes, my art was Graff but just in books or would catch spots on the RTD’s”. (Pesky)
Shortly after she began getting up around her neighborhood and that was as far as she went during the first stages. She used to go to the Belmont Tunnel and hit up because she knew she could get away with it there. Pesky would search for scraps and hit up her name and would start doing small characters outlines on bridges, sidewalks and anywhere where she felt she would not get busted for. The Belmont Tunnel was at times a scary place especially for a female writer, she used to go paint and take her sister along and would have to be quick and get out of there before the sun would go down. Pesky mentioned that there were times that if some of the fellas were there; they would wait for her to finish up so she could get out of there safe. Such homeys that would do that for her would be Fearo, Pryer and Phib from UTI among many others that looked out for her.
I think I was about 21 years old when I finally said to myself that I needed to really start getting up!! So I talked my EX into going to the infamous “River” with me and I busted a dragon, it was really whack but not bad for my first real character piece, after that it was nonstop whether it was Belmont, Venice, an invite’ mostly Keo and Visions. Then I started to work at Crewest Gallery and meet all kinds of peepz and connects. Man One would take me to “hired walls” and show me techniques and I would help him do fill ins. I learned a lot from him and a lot of other peepz and legends I was getting to meet.” Pesky.
Body Art Painting Phase
I call this my “body painting phase” this started when the Belmont Tunnel was literally taken from us. Body painting had always been something “guys” did on some random female as something sexual to brag about as a “flik” and show off their hoochies; it was never something I really wanted to get into but the only reason I did was because I had met some ladies that were in the process of making a Graff magazine called “Piecez” a little group of cool chicks, it was Rosa, Chelly, Jessica Rabbit and Daniella. (Pesky) They had offered her a spot and article in their magazine but they wanted to know if she also did body painting; she was offered to do a section of body painting for the magazine. Once this picture was posted on MySpace, Pesky had both males and females making requests for her to paint them. Even friends and family wanted to partake in this new experience. Pesky saw this as an opportunity to make money since she had previous experience in working on Halloween events and painting faces and what not. Body art painting became a profession for her while it lasted.
“Body painting was the thing to do, it started to grow and it really began to blow up, as Huskey Radio had shows on the regular and had me as a guest painter almost every week; it was fun while it lasted. But in my opinion it just blew out of proportion with the whole Graff scene, EVERYBODY who was anybody was doing it. Then it wasn’t fun anymore because it lost its class. So I said to myself either I make a career out of this or I abandon ship before it sinks. I think it sunk when I decided to paint a very muscular man at a graffiti event. I think me and Ezo were disqualified because we never got judged or considered for a prize; I honestly think because he was a man. I don’t know I could be wrong but he never made it to the stage for judging. So after all that, I kind of just said I’m done, this is a man’s world anyways. Guys don’t want to see that but the females didn’t mind at all and that is what I was aiming for; I think I made my point!. It’s not just a man’s world. So anyways, I don’t really do it anymore but if I do is for a favor for a friend or getting paid at an event, that’s the only way I really go there anymore. -Pesky.
2007 to Present
So you might be wondering what Pesky Oner has been up today, well today is the year of 2013. She had countless art shows, live wall painting, live body painting and many opportunities to express her love for the arts in all mediums and venues. She is well-known and loved by the Graffiti scene not only for her talent but her humbleness to the Graffiti sport. “I am trying to get back into painting again; I had to settle down for a bit doing the family thing raising my 13-year-old, 6-year-old and 2-year-old. During home time I had begun doing more canvases with acrylics. Now I want to start using some different mediums like oils which I have never used before but willing to try. And maybe gets some more hands on air brushing and pin stripping. My plan is to go back to school and maybe have a nice career by the time I hit 40. So that’s my story. I just want to say thank you to God my kids, my family and Gordo, Fridge all my friends and acquaintances who have been supportive through this journey. Those of you that have had my back and still do! It’s because of you that I am ME! Because of all of you I will succeed, ha-ha thanks for the love and support! Pesky Oner.
We can all agree that we are all happy to see her getting back in the Graff scene, as she is gradually preparing herself for art shows and events; we are all eager to see what else she brings to light!. Thanks Pesky for letting me dig into your mind for a bit and share some special events of your life as an artist with us all.
Stay posted with me as I will keep you all updated with any of her on going projects coming soon to a city near you!
You can also follow her on her Fan Page on Facebook. Pesky Oner
Monica Smiles Tobon