Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Profile: Acamonchi, graffiti artist

Name: Gerardo Yepiz aka Acamonchi

City: San Diego, California

What is your definition of "graffiti"?
To me Graffiti is a universal language on it's purest form regardless on how it's done and the reasons to which it appears on a surface. Graffiti is also a state of mind that is certainly hard to buff.

How was your first graffiti experience?
Growing up in the 70s in Ensenada Mexico, the "Cholo" gang style graffiti, although there was plenty of political graffiti like student rights and anti bullfight stuff around the city.
What's your dream achievement, if anything was possible?
Make enough money from this kind of art without having to sacrifice my integrity. To be able to keep doing street art all over the world.
What do you like about graffiti and making it?
I'm more on the street art, stencil art and postering, but I do enjoy graffiti as well. I like the fact is different in every city of the world,. Styles can be very unique and complex. I like "civilian" graffiti as much as I do enjoy political claims, not just hip hop related graffiti. I find gang graffiti also inspiring.
Tell us more about the graffiti scene
I've lived in New York and also travelled to Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Spain, Mexico City and always find something different to be interested in. I currently live in San Diego, California, even if the local graffiti task force keeps arresting writers and doing efforts to keep the city graffiti-free it just doesn't go away. So persistency of the writers is something that amazes me. People don't give up and always come back strong with a bigger, bolder message.

Which style do you prefer?
Personally I am focused in the use of stencils, stickers, posters. I do hand drawn random little things, I like a good mix of elements with strong compositions.

Where do you find inspiration?
I like subjects that aren't considered graffiti, ephemeral, deconstructed, weathered images found in the Urban landscapes, wastelands, Post-Consumer Society, arrogance, greed, the need to pay them back, Graffiti-justice! Places that are fast paced, colorful and intense like Tijuana and Mexico City.

Favorite graffiti artists, taggers, etc?
Seth Tobocman, Gee Vaucher, Twist, Phil Frost, as far other artists I like Pushead, Brute, Nick Blinko.

Have you ever been caught and locked up?
No, but I had a few minor issues, nothing too big.

What is the biggest risk you've taken for graffiti?
Just trespassing and walking by dangerous areas late at night.
Will you always do graffiti?
Probably, but less frequent sometimes.

Best thing about being a graffiti artist?
For me it is the pure artistic-political statement as much as it is the adrenaline rush of doing something that is consider illegal. To exercise my rights of individual expression.

Photo credit: Laurie Cat Bennet

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