hometown: san diego, ca
Albus Cavus: How long have you been painting and how did you get into it?
Crol: I've been painting since 1993. I got into piecing and bombing by
chance when I was 15 years old, living in El Paso TX. And I was
heavily into death metal music and I noticed that in concerts and in
parties the people I was hanging around with, most had an alias like
Metal Man, Death, Wicked, etc. So, it just made sense to me to acquire
one too. I came up with Bastard, lol... It didn't apply to me but I
thought it was cool, so I would write my alias all over my room and
gradually it made it out to my local neighborhood. That was inspired
mainly because of my friends that where in gangs and I'd go with them
to see them paint their "placasos." One summer, a cousin from Los
Angeles came to visit the family, as he came into my room he was like
"Yo, you write!?" I was like "What?" Soon he gave me the basics of
writing, piecing and bombing. I was amazed that such a movement
existed. So without realizing it, I was producing what common man
AC: So you've never been part of gangs or anything like that. You just
did your thing and found other people who did something similar...
C: No, I never joined one, although several of my good friends from both
sides of the border, El Paso and Juarez Mexico where involved in gangs. It must be my aura or good fortune that they themselves would avoid me
being part of any gang activity, yet they would invite me to go and see
them paint their gang block letters in the middle of the day. I remember
my friends Shortie and Vule where the first ones to introduce me to a
spray can, and the use of it on the walls. I was 11 years old at the time
and I knew then that I was gonna paint my own letters some day. Again
it was not until I was 15 years old that I started to paint with a spray can
mainly to vent out my emotions since my father and mother recently had
divorced and listening to death metal music, well it would just get me
pumped up! Thatís exactly what happened, when the summer was over
I went back to school and I met several kids that had either moved from
Los Angeles and where writers or kids like me who somebody from out of
the city broke it down to them, like my cousin did for me. So we connected
and thatís also how I met my boy Werc. Come to think about it, Werc and I
were just in the same state of mind, we wanted to conquer every wall in
the city, no matter the consequences, I guess we felt we had nothing to loose
and a lot to gain.
AC: Now you work with other muralists such as Victor Ochoa, how would
you relate to his work? Do you both come from the same background?
C: Ochoa by nature is a teacher, a guide. Ochoa amongst other Chicano
Muralists like Mario Torero, have been a true inspiration and
authentic examples of what I stand for, and that is consistency, these
two cats have been painting murals since they were kids, and have kept
at it since! I don't know if our backgrounds are similar or not but
our passion for art and how we implement it; as being a weapon, a
solution, a voice, that is what I would say we share in common.
AC: Weapon implies violence, but your art has contributed to a lot of
positive changes in places where it appeared...
C: I use the term "weapon" symbolically. In order to make that positive change, we must be prepared with our armament (knowledge, tools, skill, etc.) and our defense system intact (being focused, centered, yet flexible). For us to have the required tools ready when it comes to the action of creating a positive message or movement.
AC: How is your design work related to your artwork?
C: When creating artwork of any type, I aim to implement everything
I've learned through life experiences, work and education and use it
all as one. For instance, I use to work in construction of homes, where I was under the tutelage of master builder Jose Guillen. He taught me how to read architectural plans then how to build a home
from the ground up. At first I felt as if I was wasting my time working there since I felt that building of
homes was not my passion, yet what I realized after I left was, I had a good amount of knowledge on
how to build things, use power tools, and work long laborious hours. A couple of years ago,Werc and I sculpted our names out of wood, fiber glass and painted it with coats of automotive paint, which we couldn't of done it if it weren't for Jose's teachings. Eventually, these sculptures made it to a couple of art exhibits, one of them being the Automotive Museum in San Diego, California. I have many of these types of examples in which I incorporated previously learned skills into my artwork, another one is our most recent project we finished in a low income community in San Diego, I implemented my learned skills in computer software and tile setting which are two skills I never thought I would merge in one environment.
AC: What would you like people to take home when they see your art?
C: My true aim is to create a movement through my body of work not artwork alone but work. A movement for people to recognize as an example, therefore creating there own. No matter what it is, as long as itís positive. Many of us have been dormant for years, although we have our dreams we've placed them on hold so we can live our lives according to what our teachers, counselors, friends, family, etc. expect our lives to be. I'm currently working on a manifesto that encompasses all the arts. The main focus is for artists to collaborate in a positive cause and whatever is created, for it to be donated to raise funds for that particular cause.
AC: Where do you take your inspiration from?
C: My inspiration comes from all directions, friends, associates,
family, dreams, thoughts, history, but what really fires it up for me
is my two children, I study them, I analyze how they move, talk, enjoy
life. I study their paintings, how unconditioned they are about
guidelines and rules of painting, they just paint, raw. To me, that's
where I want to be.
AC: So going to an art school is useless?
C: No, not at all. I am attending an art school, I consider myself a person who is always willing to learn yet, I only use what I learn as a guideline, not a rule, and therefore it can be and should be broken and bent as desired. I will explain it to you how it was explained to me by my mentor: "In order to create your own movement, you must first understand the ordinary world, break it down to its smallest cell, once you have a grasp on that the next phase is to experience the surreal." "Only then will you be able to go in and out of your core, as you please." My father/mentor is a warrior of life, his messages, guidance and mentorship is a based on multiple variables, so I take what I find to be true to me and the rest I dispose. I suggest you do the same with my words.
AC: Your favorite artists you work with...
C: I have a list of friends I truly enjoy painting with and a list of
artists I would like to someday collaborate with...lol What's gonna
sound surreal is when I say that the Concrete Alchemy Tour has just
fulfilled that desire. I mean seriously, Pose2, Cern, Vyal, Chor
Boogie, Demer... shoot, the list goes on!
AC: Artists that inspire you...
C: That list is short yet long... Well I'll tell you this
much. Back in 93 when writing and bombing were at their infant stages
in El Paso TX, both Werc and I would feed off of each other's energy
to keep things fresh and interesting. Then in the later part of 93 a
writer from LA came down and taught me a true lesson in "Getting Up"
without him even knowing. That writer was Oiler COI LOD, respect!
Then that same year I ran into a graffiti magazine, and I found a dope
character. I would go back and forth through the magazine to see if I
could spot anymore of this writer's work but no dice. So I remembered
the name, Man One COI. I was like "yo these cats from COI are putting
it down!" Years later I met Marka 27 COI ALA, and took notes. Again
with the surrealism. Somehow, someway I ended up in COI! Life
AC: Everything is the way it's supposed to be in this world.
C: Ye, itís crazy because when I was younger I didn't want to believe that
my life was full of wealth, and abundance, I felt as if I didn't deserve it,
I even tried to join the service at one point in my life, just to go against my
truth. For some reason or other the recruiter asked me, "I'm sure this don't apply to you, being that
you're so young but, do you have any children?" I was a 17 years old kid that had to mature quickly to be a man, at-least thatís what I kept hearing. I responded, "Yes! that's why I'm joining, so I can be a good father to my child, unlike my father who is broke!" The recruiter looked at me and said, "Son, I never do this, but I want you to go home and follow what it is you're meant to follow, because this is not it." "Your son will grow fatherless if I put you on that bus." I ran home weeping to my father, I told him the whole story. He said "I just don't understand why it is you keep running from your truth!"
AC: Anything you want to add...
C: I wouldn't be painting, writing, or creating, today if I didn't
have the strong support of my family and friends. If I didn't have my
friend Werc, who we've shared half of our lives together with the sole purpose of creating public art for the masses. If I didn't have the girl that has believed in me from the day we met, my wife, Karina. Lastly, my mentor in this life, my father, Matiaz Macias Lopez.