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?
I first came across ZOER’s graffiti work on the Internet a few years back. His style stood out as not following rules or trends. It had a personality of its own.
From there I learned more about how deep his artistic talents went. This guy is freakish with acrylics, pencil, Illustrator, and presumably anything else he touches. I won’t bore you with details, he reps CSX and if you like what you see I highly recommend you check out his Flickr page.
When I profile artists, I try to narrow the use of their photos to five to encourage people to further look into their work. In this case I couldn’t narrow it down beyond six. Again, I highly recommend you check out: ZOER CSX Flickr page.
REVOK (aka Revok 1, Revok one, REVOK MSK) has teamed up with Montana Cans, The Seventh Letter, 1xRun, and Contra Projects in an effort to beautify Detroit – a city which has lost 50% of the population it had in the 1950’s.
Working with fellow graffiti artists WANE, POSE, CES, DMOTE, NEKST, ASKEW, SEVER, ZES, VIZIE, … – the list goes on – REVOK is helping organise a beautification project aimed at bringing colour, pride, vibrance, and a sense of community back into Detroit.
Here’s a cool video that looks into the project a little deeper.
I’ve maintained that Bogotá, Colombia has some of the most under-rated street art in the World. Here we see four street artists (Guache, Dj Lu, Toxicómano, Lesivo) come together and paint a huge graffiti wall in Colombia’s capital, Bogota.
I’m providing a couple photos of one small part of the mural, and below is a video. If you want to see the entire graffiti wall, check it out.
A long-time graffiti legend, iconic graffiti writer RIME MSK did some work with Zoo York and they cut a video.
A huge inspiration of the OPEK LIFE crew, his voice over touches on some really important perspectives that one can only get after years in the game putting in huge work. We’ve put together an honest transcript of the video but watch the video and check out his blog to see what he’s all about.
Growing up in Staten Island being a graffiti writer wasn’t really something that was considered to be long-term… to be eighteen years old and still writing it’s like “Damn, he’s still writing”, or to be fuckin’ 22 years old and still be painting. Graffiti was this thing that you hid; it was this addiction that you didn’t want other people to know about. It wasn’t something that you celebrated or made public. It’s just funny how things end up and how y’know, it all changes.
This whole idea of being a criminal and doing illegal acts, but at the same time showing your face and, I dunno it’s kinda like a weird thing. You do it, and as you’re doing it… it’s just kinda funny, it’s like, “Wow,” y’know, “maybe I’m getting a little too comfortable” y’know? And then you just say to yourself, “Well you know what? For the longest time I’ve hid who I am, and I’ve never liked that.” You get kinda tired of that, and you just want to be you! You just start to get into this habit of living your life in a non-apologetic way.”