Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Los Angeles 2013/ What Tribe Project. Self Help Graphics.

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

The What Tribe project…created and curated by Douglas Miles of Apache Skateboards…began as a response to perpetuated stereotypes and racism in American main stream media against Native American people.

Opening night of WHAT TRIBE LA. Self Help Graphics.

On the outside of SHG facing west towards DTLA.1st & Anderson

What began as platform to discuss and counter attack false portrayals against Native people..in my personal opinion, has grown into and beyond.. a larger discussion about race and stereotypes against all people as well as a conversation on social identity and most importantly the contrasts between social statuses…the ascribed vs the achieved…the wealthy and systematic power vs a balance of intense and humble struggles and survival among(all)people. Having the opportunity to showcase specific works of art in a place like the legendary Self Help Graphics was and is an honor. It was also a privelage to leave behind a gift of art by painting an outdoor mural.

59' Chevy Apache long bed. Originals Car Club East LA.

As the sun sets. Photo by Eriberto Oriol

Photo by Eriberto Oriol

The day after the opening, a discussion took place and hearing the frustrations, optimism and different perspectives by people during a round table discussion at the venue(Chicano, Meshika, Mexican, Mexican American, Indigenous etc)living in LA...showed the similarities of everyday struggles and triumphs that parallel those of Indigenous people living on Reservations. A mentality of tribalism exists the same as it does anywhere...with people living by certain codes of Respect, pride and loyalty to where they live and where they come from. A strong beauty and balance. No need for gains of pretentious abundance and material possessions. Something I can hear my own grandmother saying over and over again as we were growing up..."No need to live beyond simple means, we are a simple and humble people, we dont need to make a spectacle of ourselves in public. We only need to do our very best each day". Words of wisdom and truth.

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

Photo by Erwin Recinos of L.A.Taco

The need for education and knowledge is the greatest social achievement…and is one way to uplift and empower the people back to their feet. To shed truth and light about the way worlds work and why we can and have the infinite potential to make our own world. Finding common ground and acknowledging situation and place. With the platform to speak, express and relate by creating art.. is an extremely potent and complex way of communication. Mental and physical barriers fade away once people begin to let go and unplug from an illusionary reality and get back to the state conscious being.

Downtown LA on the East side of the 1st St Bridge

Once again...The power of creation/The power of art: I cant say this enough.. Art is a weapon, a tool, a resource…a way to engage with communities and identify itself on a physical and metaphysical levels. In East LA and the greater Los Angeles area…Graffiti has been the purest form and tactic whether its messengers realize it or not. It has a time and place and although not all graffiti speaks in those tones, it is a perfect way for people not questioning other forms of graffiti such as product advertisement as psychological manipulation..to possibly and hopefully reconsider what is placed in front of them daily.

In a country and society where people are born and taught to follow directions and ask no questions...art may not the end all be all, but remains a tool, when used and viewed properly will and can provoke new thought and question an existence. Do your best daily. Also question your existence daily.

Big respect and thank yous to all who participated and or contributed or supported in some way: Katie Beltran, Avis Charley, Jazmine Rozales,Douglas Miles, Eriberto Oriol, Mike Miller, Joel Rage One Garcia, Vyal Reyes, Angel Diaz, Werewulf Micah Wesley, Renelle White Buffalo, Luke Dorsett, Jonathan Nelson, Fishe One LTS KOG, Defer K2S, Plek UTI, Estevan Oriol, Erwin Recinos, L.A.Taco, Evonne Gallardo, Dewey Tafoya, Joe Apulche, Stephen Siaz, El Mac, Jimmy Oballes, Rosalind McGeary and everyone else who came through.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Santa Fe 505 2013

Last month was a trip out to Santa Fe New Mexico for the annual Indian Art Market and Fair. My artwork was recently picked up by a gallery called Blue Rain, which I am thankful for. Aside from the gallery, if you know me, Santa Fe and these "Indian art markets" have never been my thing. Over the years I have gotten to know many new friends and extremely talented artists, jewelers, designers etc who I admire very much. Peoples whos work stand out on their own without the need for any labels such as "native art", "contemporary native art" etc...more like good ART.

In the presence of proper company the Santa Fe experience can actually be a good one. Once again, on the flip side of the coin, Santa Fe still trips me out though...perhaps its because of the bad mojo it carries...like the spanish hanging and impaling local Pueblo Indigenous over religion and who knows what else. Or the slight airy scent of superficial scumbag, pretentious, self entitled, Im seen more than you, attitude......I guess its safe to act like less than a human being in a place where nobody is going to rob you for your belongings, or sock you in the mouth...well maybe get socked in the mouth.

As a matter of fact, I think I was gasping for "clean air" the entire time. Really I wanted to be in some dark alley painting graffiti, somewhere unsafe with filled with my type of decay.

In the end I made it through. Again with the right company and friends, its not so bad...or maybe I was just trying to trick myself? But I got my wish on our way out. I purposely made a stop in Albuquerque to paint at a yard called the ACME where I had painted once before. A long, beautiful, graffiti filled alley with empty paint cans laying everywhere as well as signs of bums and other shady peoples activities going down. That was probably the most fulfilling moment...next to giving the abandoned house in Winslow AZ some leave on the way to New Mexico.

Winslow Az


A familiar piece. We meet again


Nice views and good weather at least

Collaboration w Doug Miles and Yatika Fields inside the El Dorado Parking garage



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer 2013 Part 2/SR youth Program and the Heard Museum summer mural program

Not only was the Salt River program able to work on 2 projects within the community of Salt River, have guest presenters, and take a mural tour in Phoenix, but they also were fortunate enough to assist in a mural project that was being catered to youth participation already. Many thanks to the Director of Education at the Heard Museum, Jaclyn Roessel, for allowing this indoor project to happen.

The overall design and concepts for this piece were put together through a collaborative effort between artist Jeff Slim and myself.

This smaller portion of the project was mainly the works and efforts of Jeff Slim and I.

Summer 2013 part 1/ Salt River Youth Program

During the 90's, it was a violent time growing up in Phoenix and Salt River. Myself, I grew up in fighting, getting jumped, being shot at etc. I used graffiti to the best of my ability as a way to escape. Unfortunately back then, a lot of the time you could not escape the tensions and had to survive one way or another.

It was being the oldest sibling of several that I knew I never wanted my brothers or sisters to experience what I did. Probably the reason why even at the age of 18 I chose to start sharing and teaching youth.

For the last 15 years Ive been to numerous Native communities and reservations across the country, including Sacaton/Gila River, San Carlos AZ(Apache), Window Rock AZ/Navajo Nation, Camp Verde/Yavapai-Apache Nation, Lac Du Flambeau WI/Ojibwe, Ute Mountain/Colorado as well as several public schools in the surrounding Phoenix area and workshops at community centers in neighborhoods such as Dupavilla Projects/East Lake Park. I have attempted to share and pass on inspiration and knowledge to the generations who will carry on our legacies. About 5 years ago I realized that I had been to several reservations in Arizona to do youth art workshops etc. But I had never really had an opportunity to work in the community of Salt River where I grew up.

After a long battle of dealing with Salt River's bureaucracy, something that seems to always be a thorn in everyone's ass, I found a small handful of people in the right places who were willing to collaborate and were open to hearing ideas about a possible alternative program for youth at risk.

This summer myself and my brother from another mother, Dwayne Manuel, were fortunate enough to be granted to lead a 12 week art project involving youth from our own community.

It is imperative to pass on life skills and resources to our young people. They are the ones who are going to carry on and continue the cycle of cultural survival and ensure our existence into the future...not just as O'odham or Native people...but as human beings.

In the class room

Angel Diaz as our special guest presenter..doing an airbrush and calligraphy and typography workshop.

This was the start of the final community project. Ideas and concepts created by the students themselves.