Thursday, December 9, 2010


A walk down this street off of Oak or anywhere from Indian School to about....shit at least Mohave and farther(which is about 5miles down the road going south), you'll find yourself immersed in a rich community. I dont mean rich by monetary standards or fancy buildings and your typical boring Starbucks/Borders/PeiWei bullshit strip mall. Im talking rich in culture, history and diversity.

Like any neighborhood in any city around the world, there are ups and down on this street. There are tags and scrawls by local neighborhood kids all up and down the street. You got families and people of all ethnicities who have been in the area for years, and some who came just in recent years. You'll see Paletas, tire shops, 99cent stores, little restaurants that sell delicious Tortas, Carne Asada burros, and bomb buck 50 happy hour tacos... Kids coming and going to school. Regular blue collar workers. Users and abusers. Homeboys. Panhandlers. Cars with rims and loud stereo systems. There is the occasional liberated homeless guy who can be seen walking by with a 40oz at the end of the day, which he probably copped after doing what little odd job he could find that day that probably paid him just enough to get something to eat and a beer.

People are working, hustling, living and just plain surviving the daily grind that we all go through. And at least 50percent of all the business signs are in Spanish and even a few in other languages...

Welcome to 16th Street.

Being born and raised in Phoenix, I have many memories of 16th street because I basically grew up on it. There are several landmarks, from the Phoenix Indian Hospital, to the Lucky Cue on Mcdowell, even down to the no longer existing original Food City on Mojave, not far from the once "Golden Gate" barrio which no longer exists because of development from the airport. You also have Eastlake park on Jefferson. Ranch Market on Roosevelt(which just opened up in the past few years). Moe Allen Auto Body Shop near Osborn. Hell, even the Phoenix House of Karate near Palm Ln...Im amused and amazed at the same time because its still around after all these years.

My Stepdad tells stories about growing up in the Duppa Villa Projects back in the 60's and 70's. And even my real father spent his last days living near the same neighborhood which borders 16th. I myself went to school just north of the Phoenix Indian Hospital at Madison Park Elementary on Campbell.

In the last 6months, a genuine group of locals who run Barrio Cafe, just off of Thomas rd, have spearheaded a project called the "Calle 16 Mural Project". The idea for the project is to get as many walls as possible painted by local artists, community members and activists etc etc. A big push for the project was not only to inspire and rejuvenate the area between Thomas and Mcdowell(for starters anyway)with artwork, but also out of response to the whole SB1070 controversy, which if you've been paying attention, I do not have to explain anything about.

Lalo and I have been busy with several projects individually and collaboratively. This was one that we were not going to say no to. Steve Helffrich runs an artist workspace on Cypress and 16th st called the "bee's knee's". A mutual friend and artist, Chadwick, had recommended myself to Steve, and I automatically brought in Lalo. We initially discussed painting the mural back in October. It wasnt until this past first friday in December that both Lalo and I had time to donate and the same schedule to link up and Collaborate once more.

We pretty much spent 3 to 4 hours a day on it for 7days. For that week, we got familiar not only with Steve, but with other locals from the neighborhood on Cypress.
Everyday we had mothers walking their kids by the mural. Random people pulling off 16th just to stop and admire the work, in some cases almost causing an accident once or twice. We got to know "Rudy" who lives behind the bee's knee's in a make shift corner in the alley with nothing more than the clothes on his back and a blanket.
The last day we met "Tweety". Tweety isnt very tall, has a thin build, probably mid 40s with jail house tats to the sleeves. A homie who spent 16yrs in the pen, and is now just doing the best he can day to day by working under the table for the tire shop across the street, as well as doing other random odd jobs up and down 16th. He shared with us that he learned to draw portraits while doing time. Although he expressed "I wasted a big chunk of my life away, thats why I aint tryin to fuck up now and just do me". Lalo and I both shared with him that at the very least he was able to attain a passion for art and encouraging him to keep up with it.
He showed his love for it as he stood and watched for a good half hour with nothing but good things to say about our work.

Everyone from the neighborhood that walked or drove by, expressed how much they loved the new mural, and how they hope to see a lot more.

With so much history on this street and with so much personal meaning to myself and my own experiences growing up seeing 16th change and evolve, I couldnt think of another wall or location in the city I would rather do work in. Im looking foward to doing much more with Lalo and others in the future.

At days end...No amount of money can compare to the satisfaction of doing a good job, especially when the people who your painting it for, genuinely appreciate it and embrace it as a new chapter in their daily lives on 16th street.....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black and White ink drawings

These prints are from a series of original ink drawings that I made for the group show "Indian Ink" in Santa Fe back in August.

"Be" 8.5x11 Print $30 unframed $60 framed

"Desert People" 8.5x11 Print $30 unframed $60 framed

"Crossover" 8.5x11 Print $30 unframed $60framed

"River People" 8.5x11 Print $30 unframed $60 framed

**$5 shipping and handing fee for out of state residents

Monday, November 29, 2010

Recent Photo shoots

Photoshoot with Brenda Davis-Bombino(Photographer), Tondra Dene and Penny Benally Model: Penny Benally Model: Penny Benally Clothing by Tiffe Fermaint. MUA: Sina Urias. Flowers by Jenn Burden Earrings in this photo by Gjewelry These are the two most recent collaborative shoots Ive worked on. They were actually done earlier in the year. The shoot with Tondra was used as promotional material for the Saturday night "Solstice" at Barsmith in downtown Phoenix, where Tondra is the Hostess for the evening upstairs. Shout out to Pete Salaz for brainstorming and bringing everyone together for the shoot. The photoshoot with Penny was the 2nd attempt we had done a couple months later. The first trial shoot with Penny was actually right after Tondra's on the same evening. However I was rushed for time and was not able to execute exactly what any of us were hoping for as far as the art went. I made up for it with the 2nd one. Special thanks to Pete Salaz, Penny Benally, Tondra, Brenda Davis-Bombino, Sina Urias, Tiffe Fermaint, Jenn Burden and Tina Goodson(GJewelry) -B

Monday, November 15, 2010

Simply the West/ Red Bull n more

Up next, "Simply The West" at 5 & 6 Gallery, Thursday November 18th 2010 in Scottsdale, Az. I believe this show will be up for a month. Also, a few pics of a recent Red Bull project that Lalo and myself painted on Halloween for a Day of the Dead party that Red Bull sponsored. Coming soon...Indian Ink II March 2010.

Gallery show Nov 18th 2010

Recent commission work.

Red Bull commission

Lalo starting it off

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Under the influence

Conversations come up with other artists and art lovers about who inspires or influences the work I do today. Many times during discussions about famous or influential artists, many people will automatically say Da Vinci or Michaelangelo for the classic renaissance reference, or Dali (surrealism), M.C. Escher, and or Keith Haring, Basquiat, etc for the "graffiti" artist era from the 80's. These are some of the more famous artists in recent years with the exception of Da Vinci and Michaelangelo.
I don't knock people for whom they choose to like, and I can appreciate all of the names I just mentioned above.......But it doesn't mean I like their work. As a matter of fact, I dislike the term "master painter" thats associated with Leonardo Da Vinci and Michaelangelo. I dislike the term because its giving the title of "master painter" to a a selected group or style of painting that automatically cuts out all other styles of art around the world, most of which have been around far longer than that traditional renaissance style. Why are they the master artists? What about the Egyptians or Mayans? Or any Indigenous culture that has been creating something out of nothing for centuries. On to the next artist. I find most of M.C. Escher's work boring. Haring and Basquiat's work were far from the true expression rebellion known as "graffiti" that was truly living and thriving on the subway trains and in and around NYC in the 70s and 80s. For the record I cant stand Basquiat's artwork.

For me, my personal influences have come mainly from people that I have actually known in my life, other painters and graffiti writers. Like I said, I can appreciate well known artists, and there are a few that I could say who's work I genuinely do like and may have had an influence on me.
But to actually interact with artists who are my peers and who Ive known, painted, laughed, cried, argued, ate dinner, shared a drink and just plain out discussed life the most important interaction and influence I could ever experience and attain.
Ive had influences in my life who were my friends....some who stopped and gave up their talent, others who chose a different medium, some who've actually "made" it, and even a couple who've passed on or ended up behind bars.
In the last year I lost a very close friend Mike Carter aka "Base", who was a huge influence on me when I was first starting out doing graf in the early to mid 90's. When he died, apart of me died inside. But Ive kept his memory and legacy going on by continuing to make art, and to make it to the best of my ability, which is one thing I learned from him.
Another close friend, who was also good friends with Base, and who I actually met at the same time is Ishmael. Ishmael and I have remained close after 16 years, and Im thankful he is still here, and that he is still making art. Both him and Mike influenced me so heavily that it was the fire I needed to want to become a better artist.
Today I have many close peers and friends who have been there along the way to influence my work in some way shape or form. Lalo Cota who Ive known for over 10yrs... and who ive been working a lot with in the last couple years. Douglas Miles Ive known for quite sometime as well, has been a heavy influence in a lot of ways other than actual style or medium.
Other people who have come along in my path are very talented individuals such as Mando Rascon, Miles "Mac" MacGregor, Noe "Such" Baez, Oscar Page, Adrian Dominic, Mike 360, Matt Dickson, Pablo Luna, Tato Caraveo, Adam Dumperfoo, Josh Rhodes, Adam Closer Wenger, Banding Hendrix, Tariq Sabur, and a whole lot more.
With such good people and talent around, the inspiration is always there. Seeing artists at different levels and hearing thought process and personal philosophies about numerous subjects is great knowledge shared.
I'm thankful for the path that Ive chosen, and Im also thankful for the experience that Graffiti has gave me, not all good either, but even the bad times I would never take back. Its molded me and helped provide a hard exterior. Any graffiti artist/ writer will tell that the real art of hard knocks.
To add to this blog Ive posted photos of recent motivation from a studio visit with Miles Macgregor better known as El Mac. About 2 weeks ago, Lalo and myself stopped by to get a sneak preview of the work at Mac's studio before he sent his new work out to NY for an art opening.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gtown New Mexico/ Window Rock Part 1

Back in Gtown aka Gallup New Mexico. This time a nice quick roadtrip with Lalo Cota, Closer, and Jenn Burden. We got in Thursday night and Lalo, Myself and Closer painted live at City Light for Dj Abel and Cloudface's night called the Beatbox. The next day we headed to the Juggernaut wall in Gallup. These are some of the process shot along with a couple random and finished shots.

Gtown New Mexico/ Window Rock Part 2

We headed to Window Rock for the Navajo Nation Fair and an event called Ceremonial Elements hosted by Foundations of Freedom crew along with Cloudface, Randy B, and other guest judges for all the events. Boogie T (Style Elements Crew), We:whum, Ras K Dee of Audiopharmacy from the Bay Area, Marvel, Saba, and myself as a guest judge for a graf/ art contest. There were some technical difficulties in the organizing, and it took a bit for the event to kick off...but when it did there were some good bboy battles, as well as some awesome art created by the participants in the Art contest.
Respect to the winners of all the contests, Triple Threat bboy crew, Def I of Def Rare for the MC battle and extra props for serving 40cal from St Louis who tried to call him out for an extra battle. Also congrats to Lalo for winning the graf/art contest. I didnt see the Dj battle so I forget who they said won?

Def-I and Lalo and myself leaving Gallup with Closer and Burden ahead of us somewhere...

Lalo, Burden and Closer....after eating roasted corn on the way to the event...

Shots from the graf/ art contest....

"Pez" Winner of the graf/art contest.

Bboy battle....

Brotha Def-I serving 40 cal from St Louis. You can look this up in 2 parts on youtube as well...

Fresh Window Rock Sunset...

Homie We:whum aka TomahawkBang catching a House set on the tables out front of the event.

A stop in Flag with the crew on the way back to Phx.

.....and then...we head home to be greeted by an Arizona desert sunset.