Interview with Stinkfish

Stinkfish┬áis an artist from Bogota, Colombia and personally, one of my favorites. He does a little of everything from rollers to posters, stickers to straight up tagging, but he’s renowned for his vibrant portraiture. I was lucky enough to get to ask him a few question.

How long have you been with your crew, APC?

I created the Animal Power Culture (APC) with my friend Aeon (aka Lorenzo Masnah / Third World Pirat / El Peor – at some point, I do not remember exactly, between 2006 and 2007. We came up with the idea of make up a crew without rules or defined styles, which could grow and grow as a large family of animals of different races and backgrounds. There were only the two of us for a while; later, friends from different cities and countries join. Today we are about 30 animals in Colombia, Mexico, United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Guatemala, Spain, Holland and Argentina.

What did you like to do as a kid?

My childhood was spent between the typical TV addiction of the 80’s and 90’s, playing soccer outside my house and going for bike rides around the neighborhood. But one thing I remember with special affection are the cameras that my dad bought and sold frequently, I could spend hours “playing” with them, discovering how they work: framing, focusing.

What were your first few experiences with vandalism like?

Destruction of street furniture, but those are fuzzy memories of confusing days.

Was there anything specific that inspired your involvement in street art? Is there anything now that inspires you to keep doing it?

I liked being on the street and spent hours walking around aimlessly. I also made images that were stored on the hard drive of my computer without anyone to see them. But I wanted to show them to as many people as cheaper as I could. Then it all started. Now days I’m in this for the same reasons and because I believe in the sincerity of graffiti, street art or whatever you want to call it. I believe in doing what I like out of conviction, without permission. Doing what I wish to do with what I have at hand in the place I want and when I want to, without thinking about health insurance, a salary or a pat on the back.

The style you have is very recognizable. Have you always painted in this way?

I have used different media and techniques during these years of work in the street: stencils, stickers, posters, brushes, rollers, fire extinguishers, extenders, chalk, etc.. For a long time I worked with stencils until I decided to leave it almost entirely. Then I began to paint with spray, brushes and rollers, and make quick tags and characters. Later I return to stencil with new ideas, looking for other stories, closer ones. I think that is a part of what I do today but I dont think I have one only style. I like to create images in different ways, with the tools I have available in the place where I am. I do not like being tied to one way of doing things.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not painting?

Walking is one of the things I like to do. Walking aimlessly with loud music and accidentally find coincidences of sound and movement, between the lyrics of songs and what happens every day.

What’s the best part after you finish a piece?

The best part is that moment when I finish packing everything and start to walk away from the wall with complete certainty that I painted the wall I want as I wanted, at the right time and without any permission.

Some of the faces in your portraits are people you don’t know. Has this ever led to anything interesting?

Most are people I dont know. I have my camera always at hand and all the time I take pictures of unaware people. I also found pictures abandoned on the floor and others I have bought in street markets. The interesting thing for me is to give new life to these portraits, make a new larger scale picture on a wall, make them travel.

What countries have you put up work in?

Colombia / Mexico / Guatemala / El Salvador / England / Spain / Holland

What has been the greatest experience you’ve had doing street art?

To know the thoughts and feelings of some people.

What has been the worst experience?

To know the thoughts and feelings of some people.

Do you have any goals for 2012?

Paint and travel as much as possible / publish a new fanzine.

Photos by Stinkfish