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For Taggers, A Canvas with Coils

La Roc Tagged MattressIan Duncan A discarded and graffiti-tagged mattress.

Looks like those discarded mattresses have become just another spot for graffiti artists to display their work. This was spotted outside Twigs salon on East 11th Street between Avenues A and B yesterday afternoon. A woman who identified herself as Kristy Q. who works in the salon, said she saw someone tag the discarded piece of furniture sometime Monday afternoon. The work, apparently executed in marker pen, depicts bed bugs taking over the mattress but she said that she doesn’t know whether it’s infested or not.

Closer inspection revealed that the work bears the inscription “La Roc Lower East Side” — La Roc being a nom de pen of Angel Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz told The Local last week that he was done tagging , but he seems to have made an exception for this piece.

“I just stopped to write,” Mr. Ortiz said in a phone conversation. “It was garbage. I always tag people’s garbage, it’s nothing new for me.”

“It was sitting out for two days,” he added, referring to the mattress. “Sanitation didn’t pick it up so I thought I’d paint some bed bugs and maybe they would.”

John Satin, a friend of Mr. Ortiz who manages some of his correspondence, told The Local, “He can’t stop. He’s like a drummer who drums his fingers when he’s not playing.”

La Roc tagged mattressIan Duncan The tag also depicts bed bugs taking over the mattress.

Packing Away His Spray Paint

Angel "LA II" OrtizStephen Rex Brown Angel Ortiz, the street artist known as LA II, has decided to stop producing street graffiti after a recent stint on Rikers Island on vandalism charges. Below: Mr. Ortiz with a recent piece.
Angel "LA II" Ortiz

LA II is taking his art off of the streets.

Angel Ortiz, the iconic graffiti artist known as LA II, told The Local that he’ll now only spray his paint cans in legal settings after spending more than a month at Rikers Island for a frenzy of tagging all over the East Village.

Mr. Ortiz said that his time in jail had essentially scared him straight — though the old-school graffiti artist who collaborated extensively with Keith Haring confessed that putting down his markers and cans would be tough.

“I’m hanging up the gloves,” said Mr. Ortiz, who’s 44. “No more spray painting in the streets. I don’t know how I’m going to do it.”
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