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HI-LO

Guns, drugs, anti-authoritarian dragons give chase, destruction, death, and peace.  Spray paintings, clouds of smoke, the rumble of the bass, the broken window trespassing, dark figures in the alley.  These are elements of events that occurred this week, in an alley and on a wall, with my main man Vogey.

Located in the Grove neighborhood of Pueblo, the painting was the result of two days of planning, plotting, and shenanigans between Vogey and myself.  It had been a while since I teamed up with my brother and got busy, but as it turns out, we still make the killer combo.

Firearms, the needles, the despair, all shown here in one illustration, one spray painting to get the story rolling, and truth be told.  Our community has issues, just like all cities do.  But in my community, I bear witness to much violence.  With my eyes, I see gangs, rapists, murderers, thieves, liars and the whole lot of rotten apples.  Seems that the orchard has terrible soil,  lousy light, total neglect,  the necessities stripped away.  Those on the greener side see only the decay, not the need for the water to be shared.

Art is a form a storytelling, but more profoundly I believe that art is a form of therapy.  Self-expression is a desire that all humans possess.   I choose in much of my work to express the more brutal side of life.  This painting for example has references to many of the dark things present in our city as well as many of the dark things present in my own life, as always.  I find this to be a much more honest and effective way to communicate because we can all see through the bullshit.  It is through facing our fears of being honest that we can begin to heal.

It is fitting that we paint paintings representing such ideas in an area called the grove.  While the Grove isn’t a neglected neighborhood, it is an authentic neighborhood in Pueblo and a great place for art to be seen.  And for me to refer back to my earlier metaphor it is like I’m adding a bit of water, a bit of culture to the orchard.

This is my latest painting in the village walls series of paintings.  The Village Walls is a series of murals painted by numerous artists throughout the city of Pueblo.  The project is a citywide art project, urban renewal project, and placemaking experiment. My goal is to make Pueblo an arts destination within the state of Colorado and US.  I have been working for several years on various mural projects throughout the city.  Over the course of the next two years, I plan to expand largely on the mural projects within the city as well as begin doing other public art installations.  Ideas for sculptures and light projections are already underway and the work will soon start to take that shape.

The majority of the Village Walls projects have been donation based, and have served as a way to noticeably have an impact on the visual landscape of our community.  The biggest driving factor for the creation of the work is to inspire the residents of this city to aspire to huge goals and to express the power of one person or a small group of persons to accomplish very large projects.

In late spring or early summer of next year I plan to hold several mural events, including tours, live painting demonstrations, workshops teaching spray painting and large-scale composing.

Make sure to go exploring the Grove neighborhood and check this new wall out.  Don’t forget to stop by Blo Back gallery while you are at it. My favorite gallery in town.  The painting is located on the back of the gallery at 131 spring st. in The Grove, Pueblo Colorado

Support the Art!

The Village Walls is a donation based art Program in Pueblo Colorado. By donating to this fund you are helping to support artists working within the city of Pueblo toward social improvement through the arts. Donations are made in $10 incriments and the more we can raise together the more of an impacet we will have on the city.

$10.00

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SwitchKnives Reversed

Pull the blade, reveal the shank, grasp the shiv, unsheathe the knife, prepare for penetration; behind, behind, further behind, all the way back, the furthest way around. Sting, burn, drip, drip, drip goes the blood. The tip enters, thoughts occur, feelings follow. The pain, the deepest feelings. The out of sight slicing, cutting, slashing, sticking, shanking, the stabbing in the back.

Deceit, lies, betrayal, disloyalty, cheating, stealing, dealing the everyday occurrences, daily rituals. Inspirations; for living, for entire generations, one after the other. The sorrows, the anger, the disappointments, disagreements, and the jealousies. Fears, miscommunications, differences of opinions and blatant manipulations.

Every one of us sees the world through our unique perspectives creating immense diversity in our realities. Very rarely do any of us take actions we feel are wrong, yet so often, we all get the feeling of being stabbed in the back. From our point of view, we stand ignorant of the knives we so often stick in others backs. Without intent, a selfish act hurts another, penetrating so deeply. When our desires don’t align, and our actions reflect lies, we experience betrayals. Creating a distorted reality leading to ideas and feelings which we project onto others without even being aware. Inflicting permanent pains and injuries, unaware of our actions in the slightest.

This steel becomes burdensome on our spines, weighing us down. The sharp negativity we hold pinned, the lack of control, these are the ideas and things in life which hold us back and down. If we don’t learn to remove and leave behind the knives we don’t need, if we don’t take control of and dislodge these blades, life can become impossible. The mass of the pain, the gravity, can pull us down past the point of being able to rise in life. This weight can destroy the soul and make invisible our creative force.

So many knives we stick into our backs, pushing them in ourselves. Choosing the people we associate with and the decisions we make. We involve ourselves in toxic partnerships and tolerate them all the while. Other knives we have no choice, they choose us. When an energy projects its violent end towards us, we can often find ourselves with new reminders of our inadequacies, posted semi-permanently into our backs.

Life experiences, one by one, resembling a death by a thousand cuts, played out in reverse, leave punctures and scar, or bleed incessantly. Inflicted by the forged, sharpened, lengths of steel, the shivs in our backs, thrust so deeply. The pains begin to take form at the tip as our inspirations reach towards the handles. Our greatest achievements the result of the removal of blades. Growth, moving past the things that hurt us, learning the lessons that are pinning us where we are. Stuck in place until we cease to realize further the pains that we are harboring.

The warrior cares for their blades and is defended by armor. By learning to protect ourselves, to armor ourselves, we can learn to take even greater control of our experiences. We can develop defense strategies and ways of thinking that act as armor. Through controlling our thoughts, we can block ideas and experiences from remaining in our psyches without our allowing. Through exercise, learning, and practicing, we strengthen and shield our backs from knives. Learning to block attacks and deflect stabbings without hesitation. Take control of our emotional reactions and therefore take control of weaknesses before sharpened steel penetrate the space opposite our breasts. Resistance is the essential as we must learn to resist daggers. Train to harden skin, become the swordsman, the hack masters. Learn the skills, techniques, and tactics which put your knives, your lovely sharpened sabers, into your control.

Pay Back Time!

Vengeance enters the equation, fresh; new ideas come to the mind. The wheels begin turning; faster and faster and faster. We have a bright idea of sticking knives in the backs of enemies, the decadence of revenge The getting back of some misfortune, the disastrous results of some disastrous result. The plotting, planning, self-talking, and visualization of hatred flowing outwardly. This occurrence, the loss of blood, the loss, the loss, the loss. Either by causing ourselves mental harm, inaccurately hurting others, and giving our powers to another in a negative way. Killing relationships, murdering friendships, and destroying human connections, as an act of self-indulgence intended to increase a sense of power.

The knives are just beyond sight, invisible. We must make sure who, what, where, and why each knife exists. Take precautions to avoid misinterpreting these stinging reminders. Failing to see others points of views, we perceive knives in our backs inaccurately. Look at things, especially wrongdoings, from as many angles as possible to develop the clearest view. Look at the pains inflicted upon us as communications of suffering from others. Realizing that the pains others inflict on us are ours only if we accept them as so. Remove pain and suffering by refusing these unwanted, unenjoyable delicately sharpened gifts. Controlling our pains, healing them, or killing them we take control of our weapons and harness their energy. The attainment of this gives the power to discontinue the process of backstabbing, a cycle in which we can no longer be participants.

Pain can inspire us and also defeat us. Pain carries with it the potential to be transmuted into expressions and creations. When pain appears it is important to begin to work, force movement, discover the motivation, and express life. Willpower, our strength of mind, must always be trained to be stronger in this way. We must force ourselves to accept the pain and to express the feelings. Obtain the strength to remove the knives. Heal the punctures, the pinholes, the pokes in our backs. It’s through expression and creation and forgiveness that we can pull out the thorns and begin heal. The pain is our gift, the suffering our greatest source of strength in our pursuits of creative ideas. The point where feelings become expression is acute and instant. Finding form when it becomes necessary. The place where we balance our pain with our pleasure, and we can create freely. The flow state which we maintain through the focus of the mind towards the physical manifestation of some inspired or egotistical idea. Bring forth this concentration by making pain an ally and harness it’s healing power.

 

Having taken control of our knives, our pains, our betrayals, and deceits. With weapon in hand, we must move with caution and strategy. We must pay mind not to stab unnecessarily. We must keep our knives sharp and safe. We must never stab in the back unintentionally. Use knives to learn and create and teach and share. Use your knives to your advantage, or dispose of them and let them go. The shanks stuck in our back become ours, our weapons, our greatest strengths and tools for life. Each day should be spent reaching for the grips to the blades in our backs, pulling, removing the wrongs that we carry along with us.

 

Knives can be the fuel for the positivity that exists. An essential piece of the puzzle of life. The inspiration for growth and change and success.

 

 

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Home Less

The Construction of a cardboard village had my mind running, my imagination turning. First, the excitement of making new things and then the sadness of the state of our community would come to mind.  From seeing all the trash that we discard daily, to confronting issues of use and re-use, and each of our “places” in society.  Building cardboard houses most notably lead me to think about homelessness.

Homelessness is a state of being, a view of reality very relatable for me. The sense of having a home is a feeling that has eluded me for my whole life. In so many ways, I yearn to know the comforts of being in my place.   For as long as I can remember I’ve had anxiety about the places where I live.  When this tension began I do not recall, but it started when I was very young, then adolescence manifested into a reality which has become the true story of my current situation, adulthood.

Meandering debris in a jet stream, going on a couple of decades now.  From place to place, from one room to another, from one temporary residence to another, the current never stops. This lifestyle has come to suite me. At first, it was something forced upon me by my circumstances and experiences, and now its something that I choose to go along with.

When memories began, every day I was in trouble for something, sometimes deservingly, sometimes not so much.  Daily I lived in fear of punishment. So for me, the home I grew up in wasn’t a place to call home but more of a place where I go to be beaten down and made to feel like a prisoner. This feeling is the modern America I’ve come to know; this is just the way it is now.  So few live the ideal impressed upon our minds by a previous generation who knew not what they did. We grew up abandoned, reckless; growth forced not nurtured.  A young adult is coming of age too fast, actual adults, maybe never.

Common ground, we come together, like vagabonds we move, we drift, we move on to new ways of living, being, seeing, thinking, and living.

Coping mechanisms engaged, our bedrooms become hideaways, practicing art obsessively, escaping reality. My home, my box with a door, became just the place I avoided.

The 18th rotation around the sun, the countdown begins, I begin the departure of my resting place and began drifting, already accustomed to having no comfort. This way of life has its ups and downs, its freedoms and restrictions.

This way of living has both enabled me to be an artist as well as made it very difficult to sit and make things

Over the past 15 years, I have moved every four months with only a few exceptions. The only thing that has been consistent is the change.  I’ve gone from glowing with enthusiasm and success to the depths of hell.  I have slept in king beds in mansions and have spent nights on skid row.

My home is my heart,  it is my mind.  I drift, but I remain with my dreams, they have become my home and the place I go home to at night to feel in my place.  As an artist, my creativity has become my castle.

This way of life wears thin. The things I once desired had now come and passed yet still I remain with this lack of a place to put my trust, lack of comfort, lack of places to be. Homelessness affects too many people in our city. Some have no choice; some are stuck, some make this decision, some would rather not. Mental health, sanity, addiction, fear, poverty disease lead us here.  This topic is one that needs to addressed and ignored no longer. It has become a prevalent issue, and we need to quit ignoring it. Many children in this community have no place to go, and this is something that must change.

Even though I always felt unwanted and uncomfortable, I did always have places to go. Friends and family still offered me an escape. Then one day, I decided to go exploring, and I discovered the comfort under a bridge while I spent several hours under a bridge painting my name.  From this moment on I always felt most comfortable hidden away in the underside of the city, on the streets and beneath them. But I am a fortunate one who now always knows a place to go; not everyone knows how to find these sacred sites.

These streets will always be home, to me, to so many.  I paint in these streets because I take pride in the places I live.  I want to make our community a better more enjoyable place whether you are seeing the art from a car, or a bike, on foot or behind a shopping cart. I want to create work which will uplift and engage people. I want to create work which makes people want to stop and observe or even go out looking for it.

This was one thought that I had while making the “Villagers: Layer1”.  Layer one was an installation art project in Songbird Cellars.  These buildings were a collaboration between Olms, Vogey, and myself.   The installation was the first part of a new series of art installations and murals in the city of Pueblo. This current project is called “The Villagers”.  “The Villagers” is a series of painting which is being painted throughout the city of Pueblo.  Some  Villagers will appear in nice places and some of them hidden in alleys in less desirable sides of town.  I hope to create a public art project which gets people exploring and also interacting with one another in parts of the city that go mostly unseen.  I plan to document this whole project with as much detail as possible and create a narrative of truth in Pueblo never before seen.

I am raising money for this project currently.
I would like to raise at least $2000 to start.  With this money, I will create an art experience within the city which will be unique, engaging, community-based, and made with love.

Support the Art!

The Village Walls is a donation based art Program in Pueblo Colorado. By donating to this fund you are helping to support artists working within the city of Pueblo toward social improvement through the arts. Donations are made in $10 incriments and the more we can raise together the more of an impacet we will have on the city.

$10.00

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The Villagers: Layer1

Cardboard dwelling of the darkest figures in a part of town that you might not want to wander through by happenstance.  The dark alley’s, the graffiti, the buff squad, the war on free speech vs. the war on the property.  The characters, the villains, the heroes, the village has stories written on the walls and stories written in the hearts.

The “Villagers: Layer” is a collaborative art project designed by Matte Refic, with Olms and Vogey taking the lead on giving the piece the style street credibility needed to make a piece of art like this have relevance.

The “Villagers: Layer1” is a found art project constructed almost entirely out of recycled materials. All of the structures are made from cardboard and leftover paint. The only materials purchased were tape and razor blades.

Being made out of cardboard, the idea of homelessness was brought to mind many times. Our community faces much homelessness. From those who wander to those who have no place to go. Ages, races, and genders of all types face this issue, we as a community face this matter. If it were up to me, all the abandoned buildings could house those with no other place to go. I would make villages free of charge so all those who need a shelter can have one.

Cardboard has so many possibilities of use with its versatility and ease of manipulation. With minimal effort, we constructed an entire miniature village out of the material in two weeks. All of the cardboard is recycled, most of it was found in the area surrounding the gallery.

The villagers themselves are the characters in the story. They are made out of cardboard and loosely represent a few of the characters that live in our community. Nothing inspires me more than the streets of Pueblo, and from that point of view, I see an authentic side of the city that often goes unnoticed. These are those characters and watch how these stories unfold and shape up.

The Village tells a story of rebellion and suppression, of resistance and an unspoken war on free speech, vandalism, property, and neglect. We see throughout our village, graffiti and the dulled paint squares that cover these marking. Then more graffiti, and until this day, so the story goes. And when the final government cleaning crew has been sent the final tags will be thrown up. We don’t often pay attention to this scene, but if you look close, you can see an entire story taking place.

The villagers: Layer1 will be on display until Wednesday, October 11th at songbird cellars 129 e.Abriendo Pueblo Colorado. The piece will re-emerge as part of another installation in the near future.

Check out the new “Vagosprayer” Teeshirt and support the art and the movement.

https://teespring.com/vagosprayerfront

 

 

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The Crystal thief

Villager3 copy

Stealing the magic of our days this little thief appears out of thin air.  Taking our days and our nights and making our time worth less than the breaths we forget each day. Depression, anxiety, stress, all these names, perhaps one monster, perhaps many.  All the forms of darkness take one form and take the forms of many.

Powerful emotions have flowed through me my whole life.  Highs and lows from the happiest to the saddest.  My life, this rollercoaster on a trampoline in an airplane crashlanding during an earthquake, and all its bits and pieces, it’s what I’ve made of it.

The darkness and despair have always found me, they have always found their way into me, into my art, and my heart.  In many ways the sadness, the quiet moments of wishing death that only the most personal of persons could know, this is what drives me.

Am I the darkness that inspires me on the one hand to create works of art to inspire and affect people, or is it the lies I tell myself that keep me making one questionable decision after another. These and many answers I do not know, but I do know that I do know this demon, these demons, and they often tell me what to say and how to act.

Maybe it’s ego, a part of ourselves which gives us this darkness and glimpses of the light. In comparison to our selves this lack of seeing seems as though it is the enemy, but in reality, it is the inspiration.

The lack of light is the way to see. The lack of understanding is what gives us the ability to have faith. For as we walk, by choice through the dark we end up in the places where we never knew, and the places we only imagined.

Peer into the darkness and begin to see the light. These demons are my inspiration, giving hope for a better tomorrow, of my own doing, exactly the angel that I seek.

Today was an energetically dense day and as I contemplate my life, my worth, my commitment to living until death, I realize that in all of my years of making art, being driven by the darkness. I never let the darkness speak. I filter the sadness through a socially acceptable filter and present it as my hunky dory life when in reality it’s the despair that wishes to sing. It’s deep in the depression that my voice has been both lost and forever found.

I love my demons and adore my failures. I love the parts of me that tell me; I’m, no good, and the part of me that says that I fail and fail and fail. The parts of me that see no good in me.  This demon though it may not be my friend it is my ally.  A partner that allowed me to face oh so many fears and reach potentials which I have always felt the need to strive towards.

This part of the story is about the demons, there are heroes too, but the demons, the monsters make the story take place. Not to celebrate the bad in people or the bad in the world, but to acknowledge it and transmute it into another form. The darkness inspires the light when persuaded and allowed

The transmutation of negative to positive has become the basis for my work. And the goal I have is to begin confronting the monsters, my monsters, and the monsters that have taken hold of this city. And through art and participation, I aim to take a few of these cities demons and begin to make them serve us instead of destroying us.

The Villagers is an art project in which a team of artists and I will create socially conscious works of art and organize participatory events which will have a noticeable effect on the landscape and culture of the city of Pueblo.

I give almost all of myself to my art, and now I wish to give that self to the city of Pueblo in the State of Colorado. Pueblo is the Village, our Village, and it’s time we take control of the village and stop letting it be controlled by the fear we have of monsters, but by the way we interact with the monsters themselves.

The Village Walls project has begun and is taking place in a New Building, over the next weeks more and more will be revealed. Stay tuned. For now, though I move forward with this work with all the energy I have.

The series of characters which I am working on in conjunction with this project are called “The Villagers”  This shirt represents one of the “villains” in the series, stay tuned for much more to come.

The work is made possible through donations, sales of merchandise, and commissioned art pieces. Any and all donations and purchases are so very much appreciated and used in ways which serve the community through me and my dedication to working towards making Pueblo a more enjoyable place to be.

Support the Art!

The Village Walls is a donation based art Program in Pueblo Colorado. By donating to this fund you are helping to support artists working within the city of Pueblo toward social improvement through the arts. Donations are made in $10 incriments and the more we can raise together the more of an impacet we will have on the city.

$10.00

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The Birds

Up in the sky, through days and across the night, these winged creatures dominate the skies. All shapes and sizes, interacting with the wind in such a fashion as to experience a freedom that few humans can or could ever understand.

Birds come in all shapes and sizes, temperaments, and colors.
Beautiful, loving, aggressive and curious, each bird has personality and adaptations, producing a species as unique as the universe could create.

I dream of being a bird, I pretend, arms open, the wind across my skin the freedom and the feelings. This is exploration, artistic freedom, the ability to move, wings spread. Floating through life with the total interaction of environments.

To be a bird, the liberation and daily experiences unlike anything that we will ever know. To live in a world where all of the existence can be interacted with must be the most magnificent of feelings.

“The Birds” were originally commissioned by “Songbird Cellars” to be an art installation/mural within their music venue. The concept developed when figuring ways to paint a ceiling which would be manageable for me to execute as well as be aesthetically pleasing. The idea also came from the venues name. As a result, I painted numerous types of birds flying around, giving the impression of sky overhead filled with these beautiful winged creatures.

The simplicity of working with just black and white was a joy in that it allowed me to focus on the painting and the composition more than that of choosing the colors. However, birds are very colorful and beautiful animals, and the use of color would have been a great joy when painting many of these birds. The painting took seven days to complete.

Songbird Cellars has since moved locations, but the birds on the ceiling now take flight in a fresh new establishment.

The Neon Alley Bistro is the buildings new tenant. The Bistro is a restaurant and cafe serving coffee and European cuisine. The Neon Alley Bistro is one the finest places to eat and socialize in Pueblo. The coffee and food menus are world class. The staff is quite enjoyable to match the fantastic location. The Bistro pulls its name from its location inside of the Neon Alley. If you are in the downtown area or are visiting Pueblo for the first time, make sure to check out the Neon Alley Bistro, you are sure to be pleased.

The food at the bistro is tremendous. I highly recommend anybody that visits Pueblo or the Neon Alley should experience the Neon Alley Bistro. It really is a must.

“The Neon Alley” is an art installation in the heart of Pueblo. Situated in the alley between Union and Victoria, it stretches from B Street to C street. The Neon Alley of Pueblo is one of the coolest art installations in the state of Colorado.

If you walk down the alley to the Riverwalk, you will see many other murals which I did in conjunction with other businesses as well at the Pueblo Urban renewal Authority.

My favorite thing to do is explore the city, and what a wonderful addition to my life that this building and this particular alley have been.

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The Villagers

villager1Look… Look Closer…

The Villagers are there along with rising and setting of the sun and the moon in a cycle of light and dark.

When the worlds get reversed and the daydream walkers sleep and the night walkers begin to rise. The underworld becomes the outer-world as the dream world washes over. DMT trips silence the sight, and the Devils run free.

This city has characters that live in the shadows Continue reading The Villagers

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Dreamy

While you were sleeping the nightmares showed up.

When our eyes were closed the monsters moved in.

Our village is consumed with terror.

We are the villagers, and we must wake up.

We must arise.

It’s in the places that we don’t look, at the times when we can’t see that the darkness has set in. We pretend it’s fake like it’s invisible like it’s not real.  We wait for a source of light to manifest and remove these evils, but it never comes.  Not in years of waiting Continue reading Dreamy

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Drippy Pueblo Fundraiser

pueblodrip2

Pueblo Colorado is our Village. “The Village Walls” is a public art project in which numerous murals will be painted throughout the city. The goal of the project is to address many of our cities problems through art and to create more interesting public spaces. Proceeds from sales of these shirts will go towards making murals throughout the city of Pueblo. Murals range in price from $100 to several thousand depending on the size and complexity. With your help we can work together to make Pueblo a more beautiful place for ourselves and future generations. Keep up to date with the project at www.matterefic.com “Drippy Pueblo” is available in 3 styles, women’s, men’s, and a hoodie for the cooler winter and fall which is quickly approaching.

SUPPORT HERE

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The Village Walls


If these walls could talk, they might tell a different story.  If we had laid our eyes on what these walls had, we might a hold a different vision.  If you had given ear to what they had heard, you might feel a different feeling.  Echoing sounds upon their sheer faces, reverberating stories of pasts, presents, and futures.  Cracks upon their faces reveal lifetimes of growth and learning.  Smile lines and wrinkles reflecting time itself upon the flat vertical surfaces.  The entire range of emotions shown through the sun-beaten patches of paint and plaster.  The love these walls have felt, the violence they have experienced. T he moments of human expression they have been a part of and worn so proudly.  Beacons of our community, standing proud, holding firm.  Generations have passed, times have changed, and here have stood these walls.  Grasping our community, holding us together.  Creating labyrinths which dictate the directions we travel and the places we see.  They so often are exactly, the things we see.

What are walls? Walls are the spans between pillars that support our roofs.  They are made to support our art. Walls shield us from the wind. Walls have the ability to keep the unwanted out and hold within the things that we hold most dear.  Walls contain within their confines worlds mostly unknown to those on the outside. Inside these walls are where ideas are born, where family’s are grown, where secrets are kept, and babies are made.  They hold our secrets and allow us the comfort and privacy to be ourselves truly. Walls help shape our neighborhoods, our communities, our nations, and our world. Walls have the ability to separate and divide us, and at the same time they hold and group us together.

These walls, our walls, the village walls, constructed of brick, wood, concrete, plaster and a multitude of other materials. The walls are as diverse as the communities they stand within.  Look just beyond the surface, and you can begin to piece together a story of these walls and their involvement in the world.  Spills, crashes, gunshot wounds, chalk lines, graffiti, graffiti removal, the good times, the bad times, through rough weather and calm.  Each mark, another experience, another story that otherwise would go untold if not held and carried on by these walls. So many stories unheard so many memories are unseen.  Stop, look a little closer, and you can begin to understand the stories put on display.  Like detectives at work, we start to look closely and observe, a story starts to unfold.  A more clear picture of what our community consists of begins to show itself. Visual and structural parts of a community that change simultaneously with the community itself. Tough enough to take bags of nails to the face and keep standing, sturdy enough to be the thing that no matter what, alway and forever has your back.

Stop. Look. Listen, the walls do talk, they show the whole story, in a language all their own.  A language all of us see and understand, but not all of us choose to give our attention.  Layer upon layer of paint, plaster, pollution, and caring. The natural decay reveals the days of the years that have passed.  You have to look close, at the scratches, the scrapes, the drips of paint that reside below, the south facing, sun faded story of how life once must have been.  Look right there and listen close for the stories.  The story starts with a purpose, of love and beauty, the attitude of growth with the aim of comfort and function.  The walls share and experience the same growth and failures as the individuals in the community.

Standing as representatives of the community, peering at all newcomers face to face. They are often the most visible part of a neighborhood.  It is with this in mind that we can aim to uplift a community through communicating through the walls.  Through allowing the walls to carry our expressions, and our messages.  Through thoughtful decoration and intentional manipulation, the village walls can be a tool in shaping our communities and expressing our deepest thoughts.  We can begin to create a community with an uplifting presence simply by paying mind and giving attention to the walls of our community.  Thoughtfully, publicly, by the way, and by what, our walls display.

New paint, new colors, applied to a few walls is often all it takes to change the appearance of an entire neighborhood.  Murals are an even more powerful way of modifying walls to create more aesthetically pleasing and appealing environments. An entire city full of blank canvas.  Art is language, a universal language which can be used to create a dialogue between members of the community and the city itself. mLet us create clear communication and begin the conversation.  Let’s us look past the many socio-economic barriers which often divide us as a community and furthermore as a species. Embrace the art, the surface, the walls. Let these walls bring us together and divide us no more.  Pueblo is our village, and these are our walls.

Support the Art!

The Village Walls is a donation based art Program in Pueblo Colorado. By donating to this fund you are helping to support artists working within the city of Pueblo toward social improvement through the arts. Donations are made in $10 incriments and the more we can raise together the more of an impacet we will have on the city.

$10.00

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THE STREETS KEEP CALLING

The silence between the buzzing sound of rubber on the road. The smell of asphalt stitched together with tar, exhaust, pollution, blood, sweat, and tears. The cracks widening, flowers pushing through the stone reaching for the sun, the black on black. The rough rock, sticky gross, bubbling hot slabs through the city and the townships. The streets are calling, and this is what they have say:

Welcome to the house of horror where daily the blood enters the drains to the rivers flowing. Beware of the drugs for they surge the hungry who guard my corners like light towers; actual warnings. Business hours are all hours.

Where shall we begin? Terrifying tragedies daily pass along this route. Steel and plastic clash, wrapped, in scenes of gore that the darkest thoughts could not imagine. While most of the world passes above, the view from below is a much better vantage point. The streets know how to steal people, how to deal people, and how to consume people. Look too close, and you may never look away.

From close and from afar you can see, hear, and feel that this is not the safe place which you seek, but rather a death trap that should be approached always and forever with caution.

The roads are veins, and the alleys are arteries where the drugs flow in and out with the consistency of human life itself. Gang members and affiliates stand at guard where the streets meet to deliver destinies both wealthy and poor. Perpetuating a culture of carelessness and blindness that only those who venture into these pathways dare to see.

We travel on the streets in steel buggies casting blind eyes over the destruction that inevitably fills our peripherals. The windshields block not just the fast-moving air but all the world around us. These streets are cut-off from the rest of the world. Humanity exists in set places like workplaces and shopping centers, but the streets have become the place where the lost wander, or so it seems.

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We see a gallery of graffiti, scribbles, vandalism; street art becomes the voice most widely heard. In the meantime, the masses see the beginnings as chaos and noise before the development into the beauty and the real aesthetic of this town. Layers of egos atop advertising for larger egos on top of structures of yet more massive egos have become the truth of our surroundings. The stacking of ideas of lives past lived have emerged as the predictions of the future. Shall we care to look now?

Scratch the surface and look and these are the just the beginnings of the layers that you see.

While they lie sleeping, lying dead, avoided, ignored, here exists the streets. These here lanes are horrifying, look away and do not see how the abandonment of growth for the past half-century or two.

Then it happens, captured by the grimness, the freedom, the escape routes, the bicycling space, the found objects, the routes of exploration.

Passageways for us all, the rich and poor, the straight and crooked, the old and young.

Crumbling concrete creates boundaries for decaying black asphalt to contain the blood spilled in countless misfortunes that come with the karma of this towns past.

We all use these streets and experience them on a daily basis. They are one of the most important parts of civilization, and they dictate the places we go and the people we see. These hot and sticky messes of an invention make our ways of life possible.

Joshua Soto and I collaborated on this mural “The Streets” in which we expressed conceptually, a moment in the streets. The inspiration is from on our experiences as graffiti writers and explorers. We began with a single layer, and then layer upon layer of flowing decisions became this painting. We had some other influence and artists making some guest scribbles in this mixed media mess. “The Streets” were painted inside Kadoya Gallery in Pueblo Colorado in spring of 2016.

Art is a form of therapy for individuals and cities. Pueblo is destined to be an arts destination within the state of Colorado as well as the nation.

These streets of this city will be fixed by changing the culture of poverty and scarcity to one of creative abundance. Pueblo is to become a creative and thriving city not based on money but on the richness of the culture.

With your help, we can elevate Pueblo and increase the level of peace and prosperity through addressing its problems through art.

Donations help support art to make Pueblo an arts destination within the state of Colorado and the United States through massive amount of community art and cultural participation. As well as by encouraging artists local and abroad to come and participate in the reshaping of our community.

Support the Art!

The Village Walls is a donation based art Program in Pueblo Colorado. By donating to this fund you are helping to support artists working within the city of Pueblo toward social improvement through the arts. Donations are made in $10 incriments and the more we can raise together the more of an impacet we will have on the city.

$10.00

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Violence in Pueblo, Violence in Art


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Our city is on fire; the dragon has laid it breathes upon us and the inferno is raging furiously.  This dark cloud of terror has come to call Pueblo Colorado “home’.

Pueblo has all the drugs, the guns, the opiate epidemic.  We have poverty and homelessness and welfare culture.  Penetentary life is pop culture, and gang activity is business as usual.  If a city can have and social disorder, Pueblo probably suffers from it.

Gangs, corrupt cops, cartels, biker gangs, absentee parents, hustlers and low lives, all live here.  So much so that we consistently make national news for just how far we have slipped.

LOCALIZED RADICAL

In February 2016 I was honored to paint a Mural within the gallery at CSU Pueblo as well as give an artist talk as a part of a curated art show titled “Localized Radical”  Localization, and how art and artists interact with environments and communities was the topic.  Choosing to confront the issue of violence in our community, the above pictured mural was my expression.  In this article, I will discuss briefly my ideas and experiences with the topic of violence in the community, and also how art can affect it.

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When exactly it happened, I’m not sure, but very early on I heard the streets calling out for me.  In 1992 I discovered graffiti art, and it became an outlet for my creativity and an inspirational force behind my love for exploring.  Often graffiti artists venture to the hidden and obscure places of the city.  It is here that we see much of the darkness. The undersides of bridges where the homeless sleep and drugs are in constant use.  Dead bodies get found in our artistic playgrounds.  Tunnels, trains, abandoned you name its ,all get looked over.

Graffiti artists get to pass through the world both high and low.  Being involved partially in gang culture and partially in the culture of high art.  Making for a very unique perspective on the world.

As a mural artist, I’m always on the streets with my eyes and ears open.  This perspective gives a unique experience of the cultures within the places I paint.  It is from the streets where I gain my greatest inspirations.

The Painting depicts a community of monsters and other items engaged in various acts of violence.  The wound’s drip blood which then evaporates into floating hearts throughout the painting.  The idea was to express the transmutation of violence into love.  The painting is done with acrylic and took a week to complete.  The composition draws from many experiences that I have had with violence both real and imagined. This is one artistic interpretation of these ideas about the condition of our community and always of myself.

IN PUEBLO

Pueblo Colorado has a distinct culture, one with vibrant characters and mysteries shrouded in glossed over stares.  A culture where darkness and despair have been commonplace, and for so long, that this misery has become the mascot of the city. The gang members display tattoos like billboards to inform the on-lookers that this may not be the safest place sit still.  Pueblo experiences trouble and fear and all of the misfortune that any American city could know.  Pueblo has been stricken with the opiate epidemic, which has come to define our city.  Day-Drifters lay sleeping in unseen locations, precarious orange lids line the gutters of the highest profile streets like glitter on cupcakes.  Syringes scattered upon the alleys, underpasses, playgrounds, schoolyards, and churches outside.  Murders and thefts give this community an infamous  reputation throughout the nation,  the gaping wound in the state of Colorado.  The complacency over the generations has made Pueblo the place to be if you dare to enter the underbelly and the shadier side of things.

One disastrous event after another brought us here and the rest has belonged the devils that took hold soon after.  A long documented history of violence and corruption plagues this city.  Attracting to it, all the forms of violence both inside and out.  Outwardly violence directed to others or the inward violence directed at ourselves. These two are partners, and they influence each other and help one another grow.  Self-hate mutates into hatred for others. And the hatred we have for others becomes the disgust we have for ourselves.

Pueblo is the village of broken hearts, broken families, broken promises, broken systems;  a broken fucking city.

Domestic violence, child abuse, physical and sexual assaults, drug related violence, money related violence, suicides all happen regularly in this city.

Making Pueblo the perfect place to incubate creative culture.

The Energy in this city is intense, and it has become very dark. It is time for us to reverse this energy and fill this city with light. And I aim to do this by shedding light on some of the most taboo topics, through art, which our community faces at this very moment in time.

Injecting art into communities is a form of medicine which forces its viewers to use their minds and often their imaginations.  Art is a bridge which spans the gaps between our differences.  Art allows communication between different classes and different origins.  Art is one of the greatest forms of communication for making impressions upon people. Art can be a healing force, and it is important to use art to convey these ideas to one another

The ability to bring people together is the power of art, and it is used for both good and bad.

Inwardly art allows us to confront our deepest struggles and move past them. Outwardly art shows that humans share the same anxieties and struggles and that these problems can be dealt with.

My artwork tends to express the high levels of energy which come from angst, depression, and narcissism.  In many cases, my art displays outright violent acts, and in other cases, it shows the ideas of violence subtly.

My goal is to work on art which reflects our communities current situation to bring attention, awareness, and education to these topics. Through public art, community participation, and the conversations that art gives rise to, we can bring a new aesthetic to Pueblo. which will help us to realize our potential and move out of the hole, the dark vortex that we are sucked into.

If you would like to contribute to mural projects in the city you can donate via paypal.

Support the Art!

The Village Walls is a donation based art Program in Pueblo Colorado. By donating to this fund you are helping to support artists working within the city of Pueblo toward social improvement through the arts. Donations are made in $10 incriments and the more we can raise together the more of an impacet we will have on the city.

$10.00

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Ghosts

Deep in our guts live terrible ghosts that disrupt our very beings in each and every moment. The ghosts, these invisible sources of power that influence our every behavior.

These beings come as gifts from loved ones and neighbors, from lives past, and circumstances historic.

So much despair is driven by the artist! The pain becomes the most powerful emotion, the highest form of inspiration. The transmutation of feelings into realization is the result of this tremendous strength gained.

Creativity exists within many circumstances two of which being anxiety and necessity. In anxiety, we create to escape the discomfort of reality. In necessity based creativity a problem is being solved.

While one affects the way we feel emotionally, the other often affects how we interact with reality.

Art inspired by anxieties have the most feeling and deal with the most ghosts.

The ghosts which affect us most are those which we ponder continuously but never actually see manifest.

A few ghosts to consider; which may be best not to consider; but mostly should be considered, especially in the making of art.

Anxiety, the devil delivers the vibrations of the death rattle of invisible morbidity about unknown circumstances.

Fear, makes our greatest opportunities seem like poison to be avoided at all costs when in fact the fruit is as sweet as you thought it would be.

Insecurity stabs from the genitals up a pervasive all consuming demon of bad decisions and deteriorating fundamentals.

Sadness, the dark-dark-darkness from the place unseen yet always present behind the curtains of ideas that may not accurately reflect reality but instead reflect ideas that we create to give rise to emotions so that we can feel.

Depression, the driving force for the desperate within the look at me look at me culture that has become the pop culture of our times.
Daily reminders that advertising is god.

 

GET YOUR GHOST TODAY

 

 

This darkness is the kind one, the revealing of the dust swept under the rug.

Always we must feel-feel- feel. That is humanity. As we prepare for the rise of mechanization, we must always remain with our humanity. For it is with our humanity, with emotion that the greatest ideas come to be. The fear is that within perfection we shall cease to find purpose.

To seek ghosts, to find failure, is the highest form of living, for only in failure shall we ever know success. Always seek the fears that bind us. For it is within our moments of defeat that we can find the strength to carry on. And it is with this strength that we can be free to create all that we could ever desire.

While ghosts take many forms, in this case, one form always remains the same, that of the teacher. For it is our ghosts which reveal to us our biggest fears and our greatest opportunities for growth.

 

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THE CHAINS OF ADDICTION

THE CHAINS OF ADDICTION; BREAKING OVER THE DRAGONS BACK

ADDICTION, THE BATTLE:

As some of you know, or as many of you know I am a recovering alcoholic. Alcohol has been but one of many of my vices over the years, but it by far was the one that had the greatest impact on my life. Alcohol induces me to make poor decisions on purpose seemingly. And through all of my many years of drinking I learned a lot of lessons, I created my fair share of enemies, and lost numerous friends along the way. Continue reading THE CHAINS OF ADDICTION

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WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING, you may ask?

Well, THERE WERE NO FUCKS GIVEN,
Or what better way could we say this?
It’s almost a delicate way of saying an impolite thing.

Do you often find yourself not saying the things you need to say?
Do you ever hold your tongue?
Do you speak differently around different people?
Have you ever burst out with a naughty word and an incredibly awkward moment?

The Fancy Book of Curse Words” is a celebration of these awkward moments. Inside Continue reading WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING, you may ask?

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Graffiti my Heart, Pueblo.​

http://www.chieftain.com/news/pueblo/pueblo-police-on-the-lookout-for-mop-taggers/article_732cd07a-9b68-571f-8ad8-c01945a05720.html My town has graffiti; I love graffiti, I love to see graffiti. As a youth it was graffiti that gave me my outlet, it gave me my voice, my freedom. Graffiti gave me my closest friends and my greatest lessons. Graffiti has defined me since my youth, and I am proud to call myself a graffiti artist. Continue reading Graffiti my Heart, Pueblo.​

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Bessemer locals, locos.

I had the absolute pleasure to be able to paint with two of my greatest friends I’ve known. Vogey and Grips, are among my favorite artists and crewmates. The painting is located in a part of town known for is lively characters, vibrant nightlife, exotic culture, and gourmet cuisine. The part of the city is Bessemer, Pueblo. My town, Creaturesville, the hood we claim, and the community that supported our rise. Continue reading Bessemer locals, locos.

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Cruisin Pueblo Street Art Ride

The Cruisin Pueblo Street Art Ride on Thursday was incredible.  We had nearly 60 riders come along for the experience.  It was such a  great pleasure leading a group to view murals and some of my favorite parts of the city.  Giving the tour on bicycles was the perfect way for experiencing the murals.  Bicycle exploration of the city is such a large part of my creative process.  From my bicycle, I find inspirations and new locations for paintings. Continue reading Cruisin Pueblo Street Art Ride

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Meet Your Monsters

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“Meet Your Monsters” is a coloring book/self-assessment that I created in 2016. My intention was to create a book which gives’s people an opportunity to be self-reflective in a fun, non-judgmental way. The goal is to encourage growth and healing in a way which is fun and inspiring. Confronting problems is the best, and perhaps the only way to ever defeat them.

Continue reading Meet Your Monsters

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The Village Walls

The Village Walls ladies tee 

The Village Walls T-shirt

Pueblo Colorado is our Village, and the walls in our village are special.  Our village takes pride in their walls; our village supports the arts.  Over the past several years I have been painting murals throughout Pueblo.  The vast majority of the work has been donated by my friends and I.  Much of the work many have you have seen, and perhaps much of it, you have not.  I am aiming to raise money through sales of this shirt to finish up a couple of projects that I currently have in the works and to make a map so that I can show the rest of you where all the murals are.

Continue reading The Village Walls

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Lake Havasu Mural Video

 

Lake Havasu, Arizona, is the location of a project that I completed in late November of 2016. The mural is painted at the vacation residence of my cousin Dawn. Dawn was a very kind relative that housed me during my transition to California from Colorado in the early 2000s. It was always the deal that I would paint a large painting in exchange for the housing. And 13 years later I finally was able to deliver my end of the deal. Continue reading Lake Havasu Mural Video

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Wall Of Wonder

In 2015 a call for artists was issued for an artist to paint the south facing wall of the Sangre De Cristo Arts and Conference Center and Buell Children’s Museum. In October 2015 I was awarded the commission, and in late October 2016 the Mural began its construction and was completed in the early part of November. Titled the “Wall Of Wonder,” the painting was completed over the course of 16 days. The original concept of the work formed a year earlier when I met with museum director Jim Richardson. After the call for artist went out and I received selection as the artist, then Jim and I went back and forth on the design until we arrived at this final version. Continue reading Wall Of Wonder

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Refic

Being my first blog post, I thought that I should dedicate it to describing a bit about myself to begin getting used to the process of blogging.   This blog will be utilized as a means to distribute my art and also as a part of my collective body of work itself.  I will be showcasing projects through essays, videos, photos, and any other relative medium.  I will also be creating content exclusively for the web and distribute the work through this site.

As an artist, my artwork varies widely in applications and mediums.    For the past few years, I have focused mainly on painting murals in the city of Pueblo Colorado.  I am also a multimedia artist using cameras, computers, and various programs to create books, videos, and sounds.

Blogging and sharing culture has of recently has been the primary focus of my interest.  I hope to use this medium to grow as and artist and to share my ideas, opinions, and creations publically.  I hope that you all find some interesting things here. Thank you for looking.

Refic