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Santa Cruz Bolivia

In late may i had the pleasure of being asked by the CBA, an organization in Santa Cruz de la Sierra bolivia to come and participate in their cultural exchange program. It was put on not only by the CBA but also by the United States Embassy in Bolivia. I was specifically asked to go paint Graffiti, here's what happened.....

I've traveled around the country (USA) before painting with friends and friends of friends like many other people involv ed in this lifestyle / culture and travelling overseas to paint is also on the list of things done, however upon getting there i realized this wasnt going to be the same as that. I had originally gone with the idea that i would be painting "graffiti" but a few days before going i was told the idea got ixnayed and if i would be okay with painting a mural instead, which i was totally okay with, enter some american ignorance when told it was between 40 - 50 meters and me saying, oh yea, okay. and not knowing how much feet that actually was. It was the typical flight, other then losing my breath on a layover in la paz and all that, the interesting part to me was the immigration and customs in santa cruz which consisted of a Wooden Desk, as opposed to the monstrous machines we find over in DC.

Day 1.

Airport was about 2 blocks long or so it seemed to me that way. and rolling out of the parking lot everything reminded me of my home country of El Salvador, the way the air smells and even the way the air feels in particular. 
 I liked seeing the construction of buildings, they still use wood as braces as opposed to metal structures as they do here in the U.S. im always amazed by the engineering feats of people in other countries and how they get things done.
 The architecture was amazing, from hundred year old churches to homes and businesses resting inside hundred year old shells, i was told that there was a time when many of the graduating college students travelled around south american and brought back architecture from other countries, however at this time there is an effort to preserve the buildings and identity of the city.

 I got picked up later in the day and taken to a studio where i would meet the rest of the people that were going to be helping me. I was introduced to the men and women that would not only become my co-workers and assistants but also my friends in the coming days.

I was impressed by the artwork that they were creating especially a copper orb that produced visuals along with different sounds thru the center based on the position that it gets touched. it reminded me of those electrostatic crystal balls that follow your hands and attack it with electricity.

 This is the initial meeting with ARTERIAS URBANAS, it was on this first night that i was there that we planned out the idea for the mural. Since i wasnt only going to be painting the mural and doing workshops throughout the city i knew beforehand that i would want to have help to complete this, i could not have asked for a better and amazing group of artist as the group that Mrs Petty found.

 Me with the paint, this was a grip of paint there was approximately maybe 400 cans or so, maybe more, im not sure, all i know is that it was comparable to the worst brands that we have here (New Krylon with the fan tip i.e. water and paint )

 Me in the Town Center (where the wall was located) I didnt get a super good view of the wall but knew that there was some buffing that needed to be done.

 The great part about even taking photos of what was there before was that i eventually met Most of the Other Graffiti writers in the city. many of whom i buffed out the next day.


The second day of work started pretty great, i met up with everyone early in the morning and almost immediatly started working.Interesting part here, those tags and throwy's in the pictures are from two of a handful of bombers currently active in santa cruz, i later met them and eventually painted with them a few days later.
A few of the Arterias Urbanas kids.

This is the side of the wall i would get, it was cornered by the City hall and also the main catholic cathedral.
Front of the Cathedral.
The amount of pigeons was awesome, i took more photos then i should have of these birds. The ones on the left remind me of cows.
 So when i finally used this paint, i realized two very very important things, this is going to be interesting, and this is going to be toxic. This paint "ABRO" is made in indiana, in the united states, but i have never seen it sold here, upon returning to the united states i did some research and all i could find was that the E.U. banned it because of it's toxicity level. Interesting.

The other thing is these tips are huge, not like the regular ones that we use here, and the valves (female nozzles for these) are huge, they were a centimeter bigger then the ones that come out of american accents / rusto / etc etc so the female tips (thank you TUC msp.dotcom.) i got didnt work, so i had to pull the techniques i learned when i was a kid to make myself a thin cap.
Plastic, plastic always works, and if you've never done this, then i suggest you get a lesson in how shit was done ( i sound like an old fogy but these techniques are a part of this culture that are no longer done , at least in the us of a) 
Boom, thin cap.

El diablo getting down

These were the people i worked with from day up to day down, couldnt have asked for a better group.

Me trying to explain the concept.
we were actually stopped by these military police before we started, their comments of  "these kids were tagging here the other day" made me chuckle, by the end of the week we were all eating together and cracking jokes on each other.

So turns out that santa cruz is really wet, the streets and the courtyards are made in a way that they swoosh the water away, that would have been great to know, we ended up waiting out the rain and running back otu once it stopped, we would do this countless times over the next week.

This was the first of many news reporters that would come out to interview me and everyone involved, like i stated before, what i thought would just be me going over and painting what i always paint, turned out to be something bigger, we were painting for the first time the first piece of public art that has ever been done in this and surrounding cities, not only was it big and public, but next to the cathedral and next to the city hall as well. The following days were a hub of news personal coming and interviewing me and all the people involved.

During the day we also went out to Barrio San Ysidro, a small barrio outside of the main city, about thirty minutes away. it rained the day before so we had to find a way with all the paint past the mounds and mounds of mud and streams of water flowing thru the streets. Heres a few shots of the area in getting to the wall. I was asked to paint this educational center by a friend of the group, we had gone the night before and seen all they do (art, cinema, theater) for all the barrio kids and it was something that i would not pass up given the opportunity. On a personal note, i was introduced to graffiti by seeing it on the street, a huge handball court mural by SMK and CYCLE in dc when i was a kid, and i know for a fact that public art makes your mind work in ways that it sometimes doesnt on it's on. So im all for it. im all for painting publicly, im all for showing people something they havent seen, and after a whole day of painting murals, painting my name was as familiar as coming home.

 And here we go. This Abro paint blows. (Sorry abro but for graffiti purposes the water quality of your paint isnt top notch) however given nothing else im not gonna complain and not do it, so i had to figure out how to do what i normally do with this type of paint. And let me tell you, if you cant paint your regular piece with shit paint then you're doing something wrong, call me a dick or an asshole for saying that but truth be told a rock and a wall is enough for some.

 The finished Production "LO MIO ES TUYO" , we ended up finishing right when it started to rain again, and we had to figure out how to get back to the city.


I started out painting normally here on this day, we were getting a lot of the mural done and i was running around managing all the other helpers, i would essentially be going home at night and planning out the following day depending on the schedule i was given. On the third day i started out by having a presentation to the Students of the CBA entitled "get to know an interesting person" , though i dont consider myself that interesting. I was trying to get some photos from online and the internet was so shoddy it only worked if my computer was pointed west and resting on the toilet basin. that was interesting in and of itself. 

Shout out to Paula Ibey and Jazirock for the stickers.

 It was pretty cool and i liked explaining to people what i do and the influences i had not only in graffiti but in art overall. Then as im leaving im asked if i could paint the CBA letters at the entrance to their building, so i hit up the handlers i was with and tell them what colors to bring me and a few minutes later i get to it.


 Freestyle is the new style. I love freestyling, ive never been able to paint from a sketch and doubt i'll ever start.
 I was a little bit nervous of all those kids around me, it was a nicely ventilated area but i was still nervous of those kids inhaling fumes.

 That's the Finished piece, sorta, there were still some snips and bits and irks and quirks i had to do.
 The director of the Center.
 Director of the Center and some news reporters.

Doing interviews .
The president of the center.

 That night i also worked with a group of kids at the center, so mornings, i would go work on the mural, afternoons, (depending on weather) i would continue working it or go to another location and do some graffiti, and at night i would have this group of kids that i was working with.

This was probably one of my fav parts, all these kids that signed up for this class were genuinely interested in graffiti. some even had their own tags down. I'll make another post about the graffiti graffiti there, which was awesome.


 Day 4 and Day 5

So rain kept us from actually doing a lot, for most of the time we would be painting and then a downpour would happen, so a lot of the painting was done during the nighttime, or if it was during the day we would wrap towels on one arm and then paint where we dried the water. it was pretty cool, the following two days were just painting, these are the photos from that, at one point there was a lot of reportes coming down but i didnt have the time to deal with them, so i just told either the kids i was with (i believed they needed more shine then i did, they are after all still living there while i was only there for a little bit) or the cultural director ms. petty requeno (the reason i was there) .


That night was the final night and we had a celebration with all the people involved, while i was there we did a lot of lunches, dinners, etc etc with most folks but i left that out since it's not excitingish.

Thanks so much to Petty Requeno, The US Embassy in Bolivia , The C.B.A Nadin, Carlita popo, noe and Bismark. a special shoutout to ARTERIAS URBANAS . I was put down in the crew after we were done and ive been repping it hard since. I'll post about the graffiti adventures that were taken in another post coming soon, it's taken me so long to do this one since life has been a whirlwind since this happened.


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