James De La Vega
James De La Vega was born in East Harlem, the son of Jaime De La Vega and Elsie Matos, and graduated valedictorian at York Preparatory School and attended Cornell University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1994 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He is a former art teacher at York Preparatory School.
James De La Vega was a member of the Latino Greek Lettered Organization Lambda Upsilon Lambda (LUL) He was disaffiliated from the organization in May 2012 after speaking out against members advertising hazing, alcohol, and marijuana use through social media.
James De La Vega (aka De La Vega) is known as a community-inspiring artist. Those who come across his work know him primarily for his murals and sidewalk chalk drawings. His murals can be found mostly in East Harlem, and his chalk drawings may show up anywhere in Manhattan. His street drawings are usually accompanied by aphoristic messages such as "Become Your Dream." Legally, his outdoor work qualifies as graffiti, although many put them in a separate genre. James De La Vega was a recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant in 1999.
Christie's auction house has featured some of his work, and fans were able to view his more intimate work in his East Village gallery until the location closed in 2010. He has since opened a CafePress online shop.
In 2011, De La Vega collaborated with Tory Burch to create a line of accessories that benefited the Tory Burch Foundation.
Street Art vs. Vandalism
In July 2003, De La Vega was charged with vandalism for a mural he painted on a blank wall in the Bronx. He was offered one year’s probation in exchange for a guilty plea, but he refused to say he caused “damage” to the property and thus sentenced to 50 hours of community service.l
- Become Your Dream by De La Vega. Harper Collins, 2009. ISBN 0-06-118923-5
- Stewart, Ronald. "Headmaster's Thoughts - May 2007". www.yorkprep.org. York Preparatory School. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "Street Muralist May Soon Be Looking at Jailhouse Walls" by Ian Urbina, The New York Times, June 12, 2004.
- "James De La Vega, an Artist From El Barrio" by Alejandro Ponce, harlemlive.org (unknown date).
- Richardson, Clem. "The Journey of James De La Vega: from El Barrio street artist to champion of Latino empowerment". New York Daily News. New York Daily News. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- "Marked Man: Guerilla Artist James De La Vega Leverages his Street Smarts to a Fashion Career" by Colin Fleming, Smithsonian, October 2007.
- De La Vega Museum, New York Magazine.
- "Street Artist James De La Vega Closes East Village Museum After Five Years" by Patrick Hedlund, DNAinfo, August 13, 2010.
- "Writing on Walls, and Looking to Right Wrongs" by David Gonzalez, The New York Times, October 5, 2004.
-  Spotlight On: James De La Vega Spotlight On • September 7, 2011