UGLAR Works is comprised of visual artists Evan Skrederstu, Christopher D. Brand, Steve Martinez, Espi, and author Ryan Gattis. They are each equipped with a unique set of skills and background; together they are able to collaborate seamlessly creating work that has a life of it's own. UGLAR Works (which stands for Unified Group of Los Angeles Residents) are pre-certified muralists for the city of Los Angeles, honoring the mural heritage of public works projects done by Diego Rivera, Kent Twitchell, Wiilie Herron III, Siqueiros and others. The skillful writing of Gattis—paired with the visual work established by the previous members—creates an aesthetic that has not been seen before, providing groundbreaking opportunities for pushing the boundaries of conventional storytelling and testing new artistic possibilities.
Above all, UGLAR is a group a storytellers, and they always have been. Their 2008 book, The Ulysses Guide to the L.A. River, Vol. 1, is a testament to that clear-eyed vision—not simply of where L.A. has been, but where it is going.
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A Novel by Ryan Gattis
A propulsive and ambitious novel as electrifying as The Wire, from a writer hailed as the West Coast’s Richard Price—a brutal and mesmerizing epic of crime and opportunity, race, revenge, and loyalty, set in the chaotic streets of South Central L.A. in the wake of one of the most notorious, incendiary, and racially charged trials of the 1990s, involving the severe beating of a civilian black man and three white LAPD officers.
At 3:15 p.m. on April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted two Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with using excessive force to subdue civilian Rodney King, and failed to reach a verdict on the same charges involving a third officer. Less than two hours later, the city of LA, a powder keg of racial tension, exploded in violence as people took to the streets in a terrifying orgy of rioting that lasted six days.
A gritty and cinematic work of fiction, All Involved vividly re-creates this turbulent and terrifying time, set in a sliver of Los Angeles largely ignored by the media during the riots. Ryan Gattis tells seventeen interconnected first-person narratives that paint a portrait of our prejudices, and our complexities. With characters that capture the voices of gang members, firefighters, graffiti kids, and nurses caught up in these extraordinary circumstances, this edgy writer catapults into the ranks of such legendary talents as Dennis Lehane and George V. Higgins.
The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River, Vol. 1
The culture of Los Angeles flows–both figuratively and literally–through its central vein: the river.
Born of a fascination with its concrete banks and the way they have shaped the look and feel of the city, this book documents the waterway’s impact on the flora, fauna, and citizens of the area.
Created exclusively by UGLAR, the book utilizes narration from a ficitious Angeleno named Ulysses L. Zemanova. Make no mistake though: the book was written, edited, and produced by Christopher D. Brand, Evan Skrederstu, Steve Martinez, and J. Matthew Brand.
The first volume focuses intensively on the biology and art of the L.A. River. Featuring intricately detailed illustrations of insects, reptiles, and amphibians, as well as photographs of cacti, algae, and plants, it takes the science of the ecosystem seriously–exploring its flora and fauna in beautiful detail.
Yet, the book contrasts these natural features with the man-made marks that a community of graffiti writers and fine artists unleashed on it over a period of many years, effectively turning its miles of bare concrete into canvas.
A number of these artists share their thoughts about the river and the way it was in the book, telling tales of comedy and danger, memorializing the life of the river and its surroundings during a time when it still wore the voices of its community on its banks like colorful bruises, each one more telling than the last.
Los Angeles-based artwork contributions include: Chaz Bojorquéz, ZES MSK, Jack Rudy, Chuey Quintanar, Steve Martinez, Gregg Stone, Espi, Jose A. Lopez, Robert Meinhardt, Christopher D. Brand, Siner LTS, Evan Skrederstu, Ako Castuera, Rob Sato, and more.