Gil Veni Vici Presents "East Side Story" / by Alex Young

 Gil Veni Vici photographed by Wain Tan

Gil Veni Vici photographed by Wain Tan

Gil Veni Vici, best known for his image in streetwear campaigns for Los Angeles stalwarts like The Hundreds and Menace, is about to level up in the creative industry. The young, East L.A. native appears poised and ready to embark on his career as an artist and businessman, but first, he celebrates the city that raised him.

"East Side Story," is his multidisciplinary art exhibition on display at HVW8 Gallery in L.A. With large installations, a performance piece, and photographs, Gil shares his perspective on life and style rooted in the culture representative of where he is from. "Eastside Story" draws on his real-life experiences in L.A.'s El Sereno neighborhood, and his lifestyle while being influenced by his Mexican-American heritage and urban community. "Don't forget where you come from," Gil says.

The exhibit mostly features portraits of Gil taken by local photographers, like Castro Clifton, Adri Law, and Estavan Oriol. Leading the creative direction, Gil selected his friends and legends to capture the feel of East Los Angeles through his own natural persona. Inside the gallery, viewers become exposed to Gil's mind. The performance piece demonstrates a poker game sequence with the players being opposing gangsters and a mermaid card dealer. Here viewers are invited to visualize a fantasized scene from Gil's childhood. A large Virgin Mary shrine also stands surrounded by holy candles and rose petals. A wall tagged by Spanto of lifestyle label Born and Raised serves as a backdrop. "Details are important," Gil said about the curating process and inspiration for his exhibition.

Later into the night of the exhibit's opening reception on September 23, guests gathered in the gallery's parking lot which quickly turned into a party. Lowriders and quads added to scene. L.A.'s community was also out in full support - Jordan Clarkson of the Lakers, OverDoz's Joon, and Anwar Carrots were a few of the local legends in the crowd who came out and enjoyed the show. The whole experience was "overwhelming [with] so much love and positive energy in the air. I was really appreciative," Gil recalls.

On behalf of his efforts, he says, "I had to represent and show people you can do anything you want, just be creative."

Visual impressions, captured by Wain Tan, from the opening reception can be seen throughout this write-up, but experience Gil's "East Side Story" for yourself from now until October 16.

HVW8 Gallery

661 N Spaulding Avenue

Los Angeles, California 90036