Hello Marka27, how would you describe your latest production?
My latest creation for the Richmond Mural Project is titled “Givers. Of. Divine. Sound” an acronym for Gods. It’s a multi cultural mural celebrating indigenous heritage from various cultures. The center focus of the mural depicts a powerful woman who represents creation while the two figures to the left and right are a mix of African and Olmec influence. They are offering music to the world as a form of unity and connectivity. I believe music is a universal language that anyone can understand. I wanted to leave Richmond V.A with a mural that offers a bit of serenity because we are living in some difficult times and also a reminder that lives of ethnic backgrounds have rich history and tremendous value and are to be cherished and not eradicated when miss understood.
Hundreds of artists out there make pieces every day, how do you think could be your style defined?
I let my work speak for itself. I developed a style that I coined “Neo Indigenous” and it’s my personal take on ancient indigenous culture meets modern street culture. That’s a great question because it takes a long time to develop your own voice and it’s exciting when you find a lane your passionate about. I’m constantly looking at how I can evolve and grow but without loosing myself in the process.
What are your main influences – art and otherwise?
My faith and spirituality is a huge influence. I’m also influenced by my childhood and growing up in a difficult environment. I’m Mexican so of course you see a native influence in my work but I also grew up in the U.S so you see pop culture, graffiti, and even fashion influences in my work. The masters from back in the day like Sisquieros, Orozco, Rivera, have always been inspiring for me. I also spent several years in Los Angeles and had the honor to meet and exhibit along side Chaz Bojorquez who is also someone I look up to. My wife and kids also give me the support and balance I need to continue my journey as an artist.
A lot of artists want to be published on art blogs, It seems that in these days a painted wall does not exists without re-blogging. What’s your Pov?
I came from a generation that grew up without the internet. I honestly care more about the direct impact my public work makes with a community on a personal level. The upside to social media and blogs is the platform it provides on a global level. It’s crazy that now someone in Hong Kong, Dubai, Mexico City can be exposed to my work instantly through the web. It’s helping artists express there work to a much larger audience and for me has created opportunities to paint murals internationally and through out the U.S.
Someone said: “a wall is a very big weapon”. Do you find the same nowadays, while we’re surrounded by millions of billboards? I mean, don’t you find even thinner the line between art and ads?
Someone also said “if it’s not political, it’s not art”. I believe there are artists who just want fame and fortune. They will paint a huge mural that serves as a billboard for their artwork and stick to a formula similar to an add campaign painting the same thing over and over establishing a brand more than expressing a unique point of view. There is an audience for those artists and you can’t knock the hustle. I believe for me it’s more personal and I rather crate work that is not just eye candy or a gimmick. We have enough advertisements and billboards from corporations so let’s not paint “Corporate Art”.
What role do you find galleries can play in helping an artist to emerge from the streets?
It’s not up to the galleries. I believe it’s up to the artists. Once you decide that you want to create work that’s meant for collectors and have it sold in a gallery, then you have to create a body of work that a gallery can support. The gallery can help you gain an audience that buys art but the audience that admires murals is completely different. I know a few artists personally that kill in on the street but have a difficult time showing in galleries.
How has your work evolved over the years from when you were beginning, when you look back, how do you feel about your beginnings?
My work has evolved from being a kid painting freight trains and bombing to getting down with crews from New York, Boston, L.A, like Fly I.D, 3A, C.O.I. My time with those crews who are like family helped develop my skills with spray paint. It was time alone in my studio that helped develop my skills conceptually. I was like everyone else looking to get my name out and respect from the graff game. I’m now only looking to grow and evolve as an artist and not concerned with anything else.
Of all the projects you’ve done, which has been most satisfying?
None, I’m truly my own worst critic.
What would your dream project be? I mean theme, location, size…
I’m living it brother, just keeps getting bigger and better.
What’s next for you? What shows or projects do you have planned?
I have a solo show in Boston at LOT F Gallery this September and I’m participating in this years Murals in the Market in Detroit. I’m constantly keeping it moving. Peace and blessing everyone, stay up!