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  • Writer's pictureEdward Gutierrez

My First Crush, Vol. II

Updated: Apr 7

"My First Crush" released Sat. March 2, 2024

Introducing "My First Crush," the second volume of Graff Stories, a collaborative project that transcends the boundaries of conventional storytelling. This project, in the making for seven years, takes place decades ago, in a version of Los Angeles that the media forgets.

At its core, Graff Stories is a celebration of all backgrounds and underrepresented voices, told by underrepresented voices. It welcomes creatives of all sorts from highly-trained creators, to self-disciplined and self-taught artists, to share their truth. The vision is to show the world the multitude of tales that exist inside the world of street art. Purposefully drawn in black and white to act as a coloring book, “My First Crush”even invites the reader to become part of the story and paint it their own way.

This nostalgic coming-of-age tells the story of many firsts, including first loss, through the eyes of an unexpected Latina character, based on the upbringing of Rosario. A lifelong friend of the author, Rosario recalls the way in which art helped her overcome hardships and deterred her from what could’ve been a predetermined life of gang culture. Growing up in unforgiving neighborhoods, Rosario credits her love of art & community for sparking her ambition to seek a more stable future.

Rosario’s relationship, between both her partner and her craft, unfolds via the character of “Babs,” whom the reader follows through an accurate depiction of Rosario’s experience in graffiti culture. “My First Crush” dives into the concept of self-exploration and touches on the intersections between love, art, loss, and passion.

“My First Crush” shines a light on the narratives of women in artistic spaces, particularly within the often male-dominated realm of street art. Furthermore, what sets this project apart is its commitment to authenticity and diversity. From conception to completion, the illustrations were brought to life by three remarkable women. From Char, the Portlandian with years of technical training, to Yessica the – LA-born but Seattle-bred – illustrative powerhouse, to Rosario, this project is truly a melting pot of skill and life experience. As Char explains, “the way ‘My First Crush’ resonates with the reader is truly a testament to the resilience and strength of the people who bring these stories to life.”

Each illustrator, so unique to the world, contributes perspectives from their backgrounds and artistic influences. Together, they hope to weave a narrative that serves as a testament to the multifaceted brilliance of diversity. All in all, this zine isn’t just a collection of illustrations; it's a manifesto for a change in narratives. It demands recognition for the people who have shaped society with their creativity. Flipping through this zine, you'll be immersed in a world where resilience and dreams know no boundaries.

"My First Crush" is a movement; a celebration of diversity and being a tenacious artist. It beckons you to join the conversation, embrace the richness of underrepresented stories, and challenge the ideas that pop into your mind when you think of graffiti. In Graff Stories, every stroke of the spray can is a brushstroke on the canvas of change. This zine boldly declares, "our stories, no matter how simple, matter. We are here to be seen."

For any inquiries or questions, email:

Written by, Noonie Communications


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