When I met HERA, one of Bogota’s (Colombia) highest profile female graffiti artists, I was struck by her friendliness, and her relaxed attitude to a North American showing up to watch her paint.
She is confident and colourful, equal parts grounded & girlie. She is friendly, smiley and a pleasure to know. When I came across the following interview with her I knew it was going to be good. She is a great ambassador for the culture. The interview starts out strong, so I have copied the first few paragraphs here and linked to the full article below. Enjoy a look into the mind of one of Bogota’s strongest female graffiti artists.
In the year 1882 the Irish writer, poet and flamboyant dandy Oscar Wilde, made his first visit to the United States of America. The purpose of his trip was a year-long series of lectures on aesthetics, Wilde was the godfather of what is today known as interior design. After he had been in the States for some time, Wilde was asked by a journalist why America was such a violent country? His response was typically succinct and eloquent, “Because your wallpaper is so ugly!”
It seems at first a flippant response, but taken at its base level the interpretation is clear, if you put people in an ugly environment they will do ugly things – they will become uglier. And so, as Wilde was aware of the impact of interior design, street artists today are aware of the value of exterior design. Graffiti art gives our environment a little more creativity, colour and style – and perhaps makes us all a little less ugly as a result. But what drives these beautifiers of our city walls to create this oft-maligned-yet-magnificent public art? Why do they dedicate themselves to such a creative cause, despite the obvious risks?