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  • Words by The Echo Parker

Good Trouble in LA with Adam Fu and Surface of Beauty

“Photos, Not Snapshots” is what I live by and what drives my passion. It has given me friendships and inspirational stories that have affected my past and inspires my future. My name is The Echo Parker and this is my “Good Trouble” story:

Last Summer I was lucky to photograph Beah Romero, and her sister Cecilia Romero, as they were painting a mural next to my favorite restaurant, Trencher, in my neighborhood of Echo Park, CA. Their animal portrait mural, “Coyote Fever”, with soft florescent colors, and a blue night skyline was inspired by and pays homage to their childhood growing up in Echo Park. That mural puts a smile on my face each time I see it.

So when the opportunity arose to capture Beah working again, I jumped at the chance. She was working with a team on a mural in Downtown LA and here is where I met two of the most amazing artists, Natasha May Platt and Adam K. Fujita.

When I walked to the downtown mural, I quickly picked up on the chemistry, professionalism, and commitment of the entire team. Natasha May Platt and Adam K. Fujita showed me how a true artistic, professional environment worked; and I see why other artists enjoy being a part of projects alongside them. Beah and Gabriel S. Sanchez had been recruited to help meet the tight deadline.

“Lucky” doesn’t justify how I felt meeting and collaborating with Adam Fu. I've loved his work for so long, and I was nervous to rise up to the occasion of capturing his work. Adam quickly put me at ease and engaged with me as an equal to get the best images possible, and for that experience I will forever be grateful.

Natasha May Platt is a well-known BK based artist and designer specializing in murals, textile and embroidery design with a dedicated IG following. One of her IG followers from LA reached out to Natasha proposing a new downtown mural. At the time, she didn’t realize that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary mural, but the cornerstone advertisement mural for the Disney network Freeform, launching a new television series Good Trouble. Natasha quickly learned that her dedicated follower was a Disney executive who loved her art and from there she reached out to her friend, Adam Fujita, to collaborate!

Adam and Natasha did such a fantastic job pitching the first project that it led to an additional mural for Freeform soon thereafter...

I captured Natasha and Adam creating a dynamic 40-foot city wall space amongst the restlessly transforming energy of the city. I was simply amazed at the energy the city gave them and what they gave to the city. The 40-foot mural sits prominently on the corner of the busiest intersections in LA: Flower Street (nice, right?), and 8th on “The Bloc”. “The Bloc” is a vibrant, open-air, urban center encompassing a full city block along Los Angeles’ iconic 7th Street corridor connecting the financial, fashion, jewelry, and theater districts.

The photos speak for themselves, but what they don’t show is how the residents, tourists, and local business people were affected. Compliments and support flowed out of the city and onto its creators from law enforcement, the homeless, local businesses, and all sorts of passers-by. This love and affection was reciprocated by Natasha and Adam as they took the time to chat with everyone who approached. I also witnessed some meetings taking place in front of the mural by business executives discussing future potential projects.

On the morning of Natasha’s last day before returning to New York, we met for one last photo opportunity. Natasha boldly blocked heavy LA street traffic, as I carefully placed my yellow eight-foot ladder in the middle of the intersection. I bribed a parking attendant in the adjacent parking structure to give us full access to photograph from all floor levels. Natasha and I took turns running up and down the stairs to move trash, asking the homeless to move, and waiting for the right people and cars to enhance the perspective of the four-story mural.

Natasha then treated me to coffee and accompanied that with the best conversation of my life. Sitting at the IHOP directly across the street from the mural, she told me how murals had changed her life, giving her the confidence to pursue her dream of being a full-time artist. Natasha shared an inside view of the fashion industry and how her career influenced and cultivated her artistic dream. She revealed how Adam Fu was approached by Monster Energy Drink about becoming a sponsored artist for 2019. She also explained how one “Good Trouble” mural project had quickly turned into two after working with the Disney and Freeform creative teams.

During our conversation, Natasha was peppered with compliments from IHOP regulars and employees. With grace and gratitude, Natasha warmly thanked every single person. Like me, they were able to enjoy the mural come to life and transform the city landscape in the most positive way possible. Most importantly, they were able to interact with Natasha and Adam and enjoy feeling like they were a part of a beautiful creation. What I saw was the impact of Natasha and Adam’s vision presented to those around them.

“Photos, not Snapshots” is at my core and has exposed me to the most talented artists in the country. I am proud to have been a small part of “Good Trouble”, and bring the story to Sold Magazine. Thank you Natasha, Adam, and Beah.

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