Rafael Reyes (artist)

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Rafael Reyes
Rafael reyes (artist).jpg
Other names
  • Leafar Seyer
  • Nite Ritual
  • Author
  • artist
  • musician
Kat Von D (m. 2018)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
  • synthesizer
Years active2010–present
Associated acts

Rafael Reyes, also credited as Leafar Seyer, is an American author, artist and musician raised and credited with creating the Cholo goth genre of music,[1] which lyrically explores the harsh realities of gang and street life over throbbing beats and swirling synthesizers.[2]

Reyes frequently mixes Western esotericism with the Olmec magic of his ancestors.[2] This admixture is also seen in his artwork, notably including the sculpture Southland.[3]


Reyes joined the Sherman 27th Street Grant Hill Park gang when he was a teenager in order to save his father's life after a skirmish at a local market.[4] Upon graduating high school, Reyes opened San Diego's first vegan/vegetarian Mexican restaurant, Pokéz, with his father.[5] After running the restaurant for eighteen years, and after his father's death, he sold Pokéz to his younger brother.[6] In 2011, he wrote and published Living Dangerously,[7] a roman à clef about his life as a gang member, and toured California to promote the book.


Looking for a more direct way to interact with an audience, in 2011, Reyes formed his first band, Baptism of Thieves, followed by Vampire.[6] With the break-up of those bands, he created Prayers (credited under the pseudonym Leafar Seyer) with Tijuana-born Dave Parley.[8] He also performs solo as Nite Ritual.

Prayers released their debut album SD KILLWAVE in 2013, with two videos, "From Dog to God" and "Ready to Bleed".[9] Prayers then released a EP entitled, GOTHIC SUMMER, in mid-2014.[10] Prayers opened for the Cult during that band's 2014 tour.[2]

Reyes conceived Prayers' video for the song "Gothic Summer," the title track of their first EP, released in May 2014,[11] which won the 2015 San Diego Film Festival Award for Best Music Video. Gavin Filipiak, the video's director also won for Best Editing in the music video category.[12]

On May 26, 2015, Prayers released the title track of the Travis Barker-produced second album, "Young Gods" as a video single, through Noisey/Vice Magazine.[13] In the song, he references Aleister Crowley: The lyrics "do what thy will shall be the law" is an homage to the English occultist's "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," while Crowley's Magical formula for Tetragrammaton is explicated in the song's final lines.[14]


He also began to focus on his artwork, showing in San Diego.[15] He has since shown in Los Angeles at Coagula Curatorial with John Fleck and John Roecker as part of the successful "Two Johns and a Whore" group show.[16][17]

Reyes developed and then left Diamond Dogs, a group of retired gang members with an interest in art and music, as an outlet for young men looking for an alternative to gang life. Diamond Dogs provides outreach, emotional and artistic support in a positive environment while stressing the importance of community and family.[5]

In January 2015, Reyes was included in a special exhibition at the LA Art Show, "Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising" which included important Southern Californian Chicano, Cholo and street artists.[18] "Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising" was the first international showing of this uniquely Southern California genre.[19][20]

On February 24, 2018, his first solo art show in several years opened at These Days, in downtown Los Angeles, dovetailing with the release of Prayers' video, "One 9 One 3".[21]

Personal life[edit]

On February 21, 2018, he married Kat Von D.[22] The couple formally met in 2016 when Reyes asked if she would appear in a video for one of his songs. She agreed, and inspired, he wrote another song specifically for her, the electronic dance music track "Black Leather," and asked if she would add vocals to it. The track appears on the album 'Baptism of Thieves'. Von D is featured in the video for the song."[23][24] On May 8, 2018, the couple announced they are expecting their first child. Although they were married in February, they held a wedding ceremony for family and friends on June 2, 2018, and announced the birth of their son Leafar Von D Reyes on December 2, 2018.[25]


  1. ^ "Cholo goth". San Diego Reader. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  2. ^ a b c Lisa Derrick (2014-03-25). "Prayers: Cholo Goth Is 'Ready to Bleed' and to Rock | Lisa Derrick". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  3. ^ Bernard, Diego. "Dark Progressivism: Southern California's Street-Smart Art". Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed.com. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  4. ^ Noisey. "Prayers and the Cholo Goth Movement". Noisey.Vice. Vice. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b mikemaxwellart. "Live Free Podcast #62 W/Guest Mr Rafael "Baby Boy" Reyes | Mike Maxwell Art Blog". Mikemaxwellart.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  6. ^ a b Holslin, Peter (2012-05-23). "Former Pokez owner Rafael Reyes new band Baptism of Thieves plays experimental rock". Sdcitybeat.com. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  7. ^ "San Diego Community News Group - San Diego's underworld finds light in new book". Sdnews.com. 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  8. ^ Holslin, Peter (2014-01-20). "Killwave > Chillwave — An Interview with Rafael Reyes of Prayers". I Heart Goat Meat. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  9. ^ "Prayers are ready to bleed". San Diego Reader. 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  10. ^ "The sonic redemption of Prayers". San Diego city Beat. 2014-06-18. Retrieved 2014-06-19.
  11. ^ d'Ebre, Rodrigo Ribera. "Gothic Summer". Huffington Post. Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  12. ^ "2015 SAN DIEGO FILM AWARDS WINNERS Official Announcement". San Diego Film Awards 2015. Film Consortium San Diego. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Premier: Prayers "Young Gods" Official Music Video". Noisey.Vice.com. Vice. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  14. ^ Crowley, Aleister. "Magic in Theory and Practice". hermetic.com. Hermetic.com. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  15. ^ "San Diego Community News Group - Urban gallery shakes up art scene". Sdnews.com. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  16. ^ "Lina in L.A.: Two Johns and a Whore | Los Angeles | Slideshows | Los Angeles News and Events". LA Weekly. 2014-01-15. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  17. ^ "Lisa Derrick and Rafael Reyes with his sculpture, Magdalene's Temple | The LA Beat". Thelosangelesbeat.com. 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  18. ^ "LA Art Show Dark Progressivism". LA Art Show. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  19. ^ RGN Staff (2 January 2015). "Cartwheel Art Debuts 'Dark Progressivism: Metropolis Rising'". Rich Girl Network. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  20. ^ Darling, Decadence. "The Dark Side of the LA Art Show 2015". Beautiful Bizarre. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  21. ^ Lina, Lecaro (February 23, 2018). "Prayers' New Video Celebrates the Pansexual Underground in Our Dark City". LA Weekly. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  22. ^ Kaitlyn Frey (February 21, 2018). "Kat Von D and Her New Husband Got Matching Manicures For Their Surprise Wedding Day". People.
  23. ^ Lutz, Christopher Ian. "The Loneliest God: Lucifer in Leather". Disinformation.com. Disinfomation. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  24. ^ Blue, Jeannie. "Interview - Leafar Seyer of Prayers". Crypticrock.com. Cryptic Rock. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  25. ^ Juneau, Jen. "Kat Von D's Little Man Has Arrived! Beauty Guru and Husband Leafar Seyer Welcome Son Leafar". people.com. People Magazine. Retrieved 29 November 2018.

External links[edit]