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Meet Sidney Panelo of Xciyo in DTLA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sidney Panelo.

Sidney, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Been a photographer and calligrapher for over 13 years, but I actually never picked up a paintbrush until last year. To preface, about 90% of my work is hip hop related- specifically east coast cats. I went to the LA Art Show that January, I immediately bought paint before going home and then painted Big L’s eye that night. A few days later, just to see if I could do it, I painted Tupac’s face that didn’t turn out to be surprisingly terrible. Haven’t stopped painting since.

My hip hop billboards is my favorite project. They’re miniature size, so they’re no taller nor wider than nine inches. It started off by wanting to paint a portrait of Nas on a billboard for Illmatic’s 25th anniversary. Then I completed the Big L billboard and placed the two billboards side by side, I immediately envisioned an entire wall of these. Eventually, I painted Jay-Z, Biggie, all of Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Kool Herc, Tupac, graffiti writer CornBread, b-boy Crazy Legs. My goal is to make 50. They’re going to display in the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Going from a tech career to being an independent artist sounds fun and great, but I’m fighting this internal tug-of-war in my head where I should go back to my tech career. I could list a few more reasons, but I just paint to cope with my overthinking. Kinda works out for me.

Please tell us about Xciyo.
I’m a painter. Known for my hip hop portrait billboards.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I only started painting a year ago… I honestly can’t imagine how I would’ve done anything differently.


  • One billboard: $200

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
My photo, Amir Ebrahimi. My art work, me.

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