By Lea Lion
It’s no mystery why Echo Park is a favorite setting for detective novels. There is something about ramshackle Victorian and Craftsman-era architecture combined with the soundtrack of modern-day gang battles that just screams whodunit. But while Echo Park has its share of squats, hideouts and business fronts, the pint-size chocolate brown structure at the corner of Echo Park and Scott Avenues is a safe haven of another sort.
Despite its mysterious façade, the sign-less structure belongs to poster artist Trevor Tarczynski who, it turns out, does have a secret alias. Formerly known as Destro Escobar in partial homage to Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, Tarczynski churns out posters for a smattering of Los Angeles-based record labels, indie bands and dance parties under the pen name Destro. You may have seen Destro’s artwork hanging outside of The Echo, where he designed posters for bands including Hercules and Love Affair, Jamie Lidell and Pantha Du Prince. He is also the man behind the stylized party flyers for A Club Called Rhonda and L.A. Record’s Psycho Beach Party.
“Originally I was attracted to the name Destro because of the chrome-headed character from the 80s cartoon G.I. Joe,” Tarczynski explained. “He always had a cool style and bad guys are more fun. In English it’s similar to destroy which has an aggressive ring to it. But the actual word translated in Italian means skillful, clever, artful, agile and dexterous. Perfect!”
Considering that Tarczynski counts everyone from Stanley Kubrick to Too $hort to Frank Lloyd Wright as influences, it may come as no surprise that his aesthetic mixes 70s era psychedelia with jazz-age art deco and what he refers to as “supertight” typography. The effect, he hopes, is one hundred percent Eastside L.A.
“I want to represent L.A. and the Eastside. I want everyone I know and everyone I work with — we are all kinda in a group together — I want to represent us and everything we do from the shows that are being booked and the parties being thrown,” he says. “I love Los Angeles. I want to stay here forever.”
Of course, whether Tarczynski plans to stay in his hideout on Echo Park Avenue remains a mystery.