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  • Words and Photos by The Echo Parker

The Lookout: A Night Out with Jake Merten

“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. This is my “Look At Art” story:


Last year I had the opportunity to photograph muralist, Jake Merten AKA Look At Art, as he painted a mural in my neighborhood of Echo Park, CA.

The colorful mural of a strong female anime character drinking coffee is located at Andante Coffee Roasters, a coffee shop Jake frequents. The mural sits prominently within the bustling urban streets, is eye-catching, beautiful and makes me smile each time I see it!

We chatted about art festivals and shared the same admiration of the Pow Wow World. Jake is a 2018 Pow Wow Worchester muralist, and is feeling the love.

As we continued our conversation, he mentioned a mural on Melrose Boulevard he would be painting soon, and invited me to photograph him. I was genuinely excited especially since the mural would take place in the late evening hours, and of course - Anime.

On a late February evening, I walked up to Jake as he was painting the Melrose mural. Jake was creating a mural of “Broly” to celebrate the release of Twentieth Century Fox Anime Movie, “Dragon Ball Super: Broly”.

He then introduced me to his friend b4flight, who was set-up across the boulevard; they were collaborating on a video!

b4flight greeted me then continued to pepper me from across the boulevard, with witty comments and admiration of my photography set-up. Leaving me no choice, I had to join him across the busy Melrose Boulevard where we immediately engaged in a fun banter about photography techniques, gear and the amazing experiences we had with Pow Wow World Wide, and the various Pow Wows throughout the country. Our exchange had no boundaries, one of the most fun and exciting conversations I've had in awhile.

b4flight is no ordinary videographer/photographer; I knew I was in the company of a unique and cutting edge video director, videographer and photographer. His work tell an inspirational story that looks deeper into the skills and dangers involved in the world of renowned artists and street art renegades.

He is an extreme adventure explorer when it comes to urban art documenting. b4flight creates cinematic videos and photographs of muralist and artist all over the world. In collaboration with Chop ‘Em Down Films, he's worked with Hueman, Christina Angelina, Adnate, Saturno and Alexis Diaz to name a few. He created and directed videos for singer Molly Moore, and continues to document and create videos of Thrashbird’s extinguisher and billboard takeovers to documenting train graffiti artists in Bangkok, Thailand.

I am proud to know Jake Merten, and can’t thank him enough for introducing me to b4flilght who has inspired me to push my own photography skills and persue new adventures.


Check out @LookAtArt's IG for the final video I am proud to have been a small part of!

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