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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 Shadows

The Shadows is an art therpay program aimed at helping the world to learn to express and let go of the dark parts of ourselves through art and creative processes. Donations help to further the video project, work with inmates and youth, and create art of my own to share the message.

$5.00

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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 Shadows

The Shadows is an art therpay program aimed at helping the world to learn to express and let go of the dark parts of ourselves through art and creative processes. Donations help to further the video project, work with inmates and youth, and create art of my own to share the message.

$5.00

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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.

REFIC

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 Shadows

The Shadows is an art therpay program aimed at helping the world to learn to express and let go of the dark parts of ourselves through art and creative processes. Donations help to further the video project, work with inmates and youth, and create art of my own to share the message.

$5.00

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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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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