WTFIRGO — Daniel Moon

Daniel Moon is a hair artist using hair as a canvas for his signature strokes of vibrant color. He worked as a traditional stylist for nine years before realizing he had more to say. Influenced by the graffiti he painted as a teenager and the art world he became a part of later in life, Daniel sprays his client’s hair with unique patterns that draw inspiration from colors of the city. His unique freehand style has led him to work with Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, and Madonna, among others.

How would you describe yourself and your work?

I would describe myself as a an inventor, an entrepreneur, and an artist. I am a hair colorist but I've also created products such as the Major Moonshine Glitter Gel and the Major Aprons.

How did you get into hair?

I was kind of always into hair getting haircuts in my friend's garage.  I was in the Marines for four years and doing my own haircuts and doing haircuts when we were stationed on ship. When time was just about up, my girlfriend was going to hair school. She introduced me to the salon she was working in Beverly Hills.  I never saw it as a real job ever, because I never went to hair salons when I was growing up. I only went to barber shops which is like paying 10 bucks or 15 bucks. When I went to the salons, I saw that people were charging like 150 bucks or 250 bucks. I went to hair school right after I got out of the Marine Corps. I went to Citrus College in Glendora. I knew nothing about college. My parents didn't go to college. They grew up out here in Lincoln Heights. My dad was an industrial printer and my mom was a nurse at the USC general hospital.

Where did you grow up?

We started off here in Highland Park.  It was kind of rough. Then we moved to West Covina West Covina is a nice area, real safe. My dad wanted to take the family out of LA and West Covina is where he chose.  I grew up in the church. My parents were super strict. So I got into as much trouble as I could.

When did you realize you were creative?

I was interested in tagging and graffiti starting in like 7th grade. That was like early 90s when tagging was pretty active. Graffiti and tagging is all color coded and it's tied to drawing. Later in life, I realized I was doing something creative.

How did you develop your unique style?

Eight or nine years into being a stylist, I was introduced to art and started becoming more creative. I was around more creative people that I really identified with. I could identify with colors or creating something to provoke emotion. I really began to embrace that. Then I started realizing people are kind of afraid of color so I'm gonna start using it to make people feel something. I wanted to be a part of the world of painters and photographers, just people who made things that were interesting. I wanted to be able to share my point of view through hair.  

What inspires you about LA?

The colors in LA, all the light. The energy in LA is really strong right now.  People are really excited to be meeting new people. It feels very new. People are meeting each other and inspiring each other in different parts of the city. LA is the most colorful place in the world. People are open to experiment and wear color and be loud. After being in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills for 10 years, it's really inspiring to be back in Boyle Heights because my dad grew up here.

How is the city reflected in your work?

I think the energy of the place and the colors. You look a the walls and there's graffiti all over the bridge. Those color palettes are constantly in my head. Seeing so many paintings all the time, I think that kind of infuses my world. I like combining different worlds.

What are some misconceptions of LA?

That it's dangerous around here. Some areas are pretentious and some areas seem more dangerous than others. The misconceptions that people have of LA contribute to making LA what it is. If it's a little dangerous then it kind of weeds out a certain kind of person who doesn't want to take risk. If it's pretentious because it's Hollywood then that also helps people create these extravagant worlds. I think all the things that people think about LA are true but it's also part of the gasoline of the city.

What's your LA?

My LA is a feeling and staying put and rooting myself in this part of the city. I'm getting to know the people again. And getting to know myself in this space. I used to commute from Echo Park to West Hollywood so I never got to connect with people that much.

What's a perfect day in LA for you?

Going to the beach in Malibu and then the cemetery to watch a movie or a show and in between that you have a barbecue. You're hitting all angles. Getting in the water, refreshing yourself, hanging out with friends, and inspiring yourself. Then the next day after your perfect day you're infusing your work with whatever you put inside of you.

What's your favorite LA song?

Break On Through by The Doors.

What advice would you give a kid growing up in West Covina who's interested in doing something creative?

I would say choose something and then educate yourself on it. Go in a direction. Spend some time with it. What's being taught right now is creativity, and that's good, but also something that shouldn't be forgotten is structure and consistency, picking something up and sticking with it. That's how I was able to get to the next level. Also going to art shows and exposing yourself to the world of creatives and talking to people. Be an artist that focuses. That's admirable. There are experiences that are more intoxicating than any substance you can take like when you're interacting with an inspiring artist; it's like time traveling.