Among the thousands of people who make up the graffiti/street art community around the world, there are few names that carry the same legendary quality as SABER. Born in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, SABER was raised by creative parents and discovered his passion for art at an early age. At 13, his cousins introduced him to graffiti when they took him to see the spray paint-covered Belmont Tunnel. From that moment on, he was hooked. After honing his skills on local walls, SABER joined MSK, and was later inducted into legendary piecing crew AWR.
SABER was already a fixture in the Los Angeles graffiti scene by 1997 when he completed the largest graffiti piece ever created. His piece on the sloping cement bank of the Los Angeles River was nearly the size of a professional football field, and took 125 gallons of paint and 35 nights to complete. In a famous photograph—taken by his father just after it was finished—SABER stands on the piece and appears as a tiny speck amid a giant blaze of color. It catapulted SABER to legend status in the graffiti world.
SABER began exhibiting in his fine art in 2002. His monograph, SABER: MAD SOCIETY, complete with stories of his graffiti misadventures, was released by Gingko Press in 2007 and has sold out its second printing. In October 2010, SABER released a video in which the year’s heated debate about health care was spray painted over the American flag. While some saw it as desecration, SABER advocated for health care reform in the video, revealing that he had epilepsy and was un-insurable. This work led SABER to create a large group of American flag paintings called the Tarnished series.
In 2011, SABER’s solo show, The American Graffiti Artist opened in New York to great acclaim. Additionally, his art was featured in two museum exhibitions, Street Cred at the Pasadena Museum of California Art and MoCA Los Angeles’s blockbuster Art in the Streets. Also in 2010 Saber took to the skies of Los Angeles to blanket the skies with a visual protest against the cities policies on banning legal murals. This massive spectacle was a success in bringing awareness to this cause and he was able to change the course of history in LA by forcing the city of LA to review their policies. This campaign was one of the first of its kind to integrate social media directly from the skies. Since then Saber has been extremely active via Twitter raising awareness about various causes he is passionate about.
In 2012 Saber was at it again, completely saturating the skies above New York City to call out certain politician’s policies of cutting government funding for the arts as well as create a rally cry for al artists to come together. This campaign again utilized social media via the skies to effectively spread the message.
In 2013 Saber had another great show at Opera Gallery New York consisting of hyper-graffiti abstraction. This signature style that has taken Saber years to develop. This style involves many layers of paper collage creating texture that interweaves detailed graffiti abstraction. At the end of 2013 Saber had a solo show “The Ugly American” at The Outsiders Gallery in Newcastle UK. This show consisted of Saber’s flag series as well as detailed abstract works.
In 2014 “The Ugly American” traveled to London Outsiders Gallery consisting of newer works. The two most important aspect of Saber’s work is the search for a deeper understanding of the creative process as well as continue to evolve engaging dialogue. Saber is passionate about translating his twenty years of painting complex large scale graffiti outdoor pieces into refined detailed mixed media canvas paintings. These abstract paintings exemplify this power, energy, movement and texture that can only be mimicked by someone who has been at the forefront of the graffiti/street art movement.