Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles // Book Review


“Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles” was released recently by Dokument Press of Sweden. The editor is Francois Chastanet. The photographs can be attributed to him and Howard Gribble.

This book is a very comprehensive documentation of Cholo art / gang graffiti in the Southern California area. Many people may think that gang graffiti is only some ugly scrawls there to mark the particular gangs turf. While it may be true that in some instances the graffiti is marking their turf, this book really does a great job on outlining the history of Cholo writing. The foreword by Chaz Bojorquez details the origins of Cholo writing back to the 1940s and the “Zooters”. After reading the foreword you realize that this form of art arose out of necessity for the Zooters and Latino/as to protect themselves from Anglo-Americans racist attacks at the time.

After the informative foreword there are about 35 pages of black and white photos of gang graffiti from the early days. In the middle of the book Howard Gribble and Francois Chastanet write two essays dealing with various stories about the culture of the early days and development of letter forms within the realm of Cholo writing. After these two informative essays the book continues with over 100 pages of great color photos of gang graffiti.

I would recommend adding this book to your collection if you are an artist, graphic artist, graffiti artist or anyone who is interested in Southern California or Latin culture. The book is very informative and educates that there is much more to the world of gang graffiti than one would ever realize!

Buy this book at

Publishers website

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