By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
"I'm living in the D.C. 'burbs, near my mom," she confides. "It's different. Calm. I miss L.A. sometimes, but I don't have the overhead I had here, or the troubles."
Becca first moved to L.A. after the Rodney King riots and began pasting images of bloodied gamines all over the city, from the Strip to the hood, on snipe walls, abandoned buildings and gangbanger haunts. Under the Sixth Street Bridge, she affixed a host of little girls, fairies and Native Americans to the concrete supports. The homies from the Cuatro Street Flats especially liked the Native Americans, leaving them graffiti-free.
Stunts like that earned her ink and envy. Juxtapoz did a cover story comparing her to Basquiat. Her art sold to the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Leonard Cohen and Balthazar Getty. Whenever she posted a piece in Los Feliz or Hollywood, people would nab it, knowing they had free artwork worth a grand or more. Then the long knives came out, the cattiness and the gossip.
A year and a half ago, she decided to go back home to the East Coast, where she didn't have to explain herself. There had also been a string of disappointments, romantic and otherwise. Personal demons to wrestle. Tactical retreat was the order of the day.
"I just want to do what I have to do and not be in contact with that vibe," explains Becca, in town for the week. "I'm in a much better place now, and I think the new stuff reflects that."
The darkness of her earlier pieces is largely missing in her current show; there are no boys with bloodstained hands or girls with gore running down their shins. Okay, there is a painting of a placid little gal in white — on her head an arrow-split apple à la William Tell. And there's a SARS-inspired self-portrait with Becca's mouth swathed in black cloth. But these seem more humorous than creepy.
Everything else is playful, feisty, fetching: A Japanese woman in a vermilion kimono with gold trim plucks a shamisen banjo; a blue-eyed boy stares at a pool of aquamarine; a woman in black bikini and boxing gloves hits us with a one-two combination. The signature piece is a pair of red boxing gloves on a black background.
Apparently, those who actually came not to be seen, but to see, liked what they saw. Twelve pieces sold that night. Of course, you can't please everyone. A young woman straight out of the pages of In Stylecarped into her cell phone that she "didn't recognize the vodka," though there were "some cute guys" present. One dude, who looked like Moby, seemed genuinely befuddled by Buddha Kitty, a painting of the Buddha with a Hello Kitty head.
Becca seems happy, even if there's something in her green eyes that's always a little morose. It was in L.A. that she made a name for herself, and started the rise-fall-and-rise-again narrative the art-damaged rags (the latest being Nylon and The Face) love to tell. L.A. helped her reach venues in Tokyo and New York. Still, Virginia is undoubtedly far more salubrious.
"For better or worse, I'm usually identified as an L.A. artist," she says, sliding on her jacket as someone blinks the lights. "I guess there are worse places to be identified with. Tijuana, maybe?"
We Have Our Issues
25 YEARS OF L.A. WEEKLY
We never thought it would turn out like this. The only people who can afford to buy houses are the people who already own them. According to the city housing director, 95 percent of current renters will never become homeowners. In the more desirable parts of town, when a tenant moves out, rents go up as much as 20, 40 and 60 percent. New apartment construction has been virtually stopped dead. Poor people have been forced to double up, triple up and often a good deal more. In many neighborhoods, vacancy rates range from minuscule to nothing at all, a problem made worse by a flood of immigrants from the other 49 states, Mexico and the entire Pacific Rim.
—Paul Ciotti "Last Gasp for Housing," May 23, 1980
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