Stinkfish is a Colombian street artist getting international reknown for this psychadelic depictions of human faces. Most of his inspiration comes from walking the streets and finding pictures of people on the ground, which he then adapts for whatever surface he is painting on- walls, shutters, the back of a truck or a submarine.
He has recently been over in London for a show at the High Roller Society, and travelled onto Paris where he continued painting. Below he talks about where he gets his influences, the realities of living in Colombia and his favourite street artists...
You have said you have gained all your experience from walking the streets. Can you explain this?
For me, the walk in the city is something fundamental, you get to know it, to understand it, you can find places to paint, you understand how life is on the street. When you walk you encounter all kinds of information, sometimes pictures thrown on the street. I then use these pictures on walls.
And how long were you doing this before you started spraying?
Since childhood, I always liked walking without direction- walking for hours helps me understand the cities.
Where in Colombia are you from?My brother lives in Cali and said there’s one of your murals up the road from him in San Antonia?
I was born in Mexico City, but since my childhood I live at Bogota, tha capital of Colombia. Here at Colombia I have been able to paint at Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Pereira, Barranquilla, Manizales, San Andrés Island and other small towns.
Have you had much exposure to Colombian street life and drug-culture?
Colombia is a country that has many facets, the little information outside of the country that is usually abroad is about armed conflict and drug trafficking, but in reality we have issues as common as in any country.
Has this influenced you at all?
The portraits I make on walls come from photographs I find in different cities. Different countries influence me too; the realities that exist not only in Colombia. Every face is a story, a moment, some are shady other colourful as life itself.
Street-art is becoming more and more popular in the UK- is there much of a culture of it in Colombia?
Our scene is quite young compared to Europe or the United States, but increasingly we are more painting on the street, in the future Colombia can become a big name of street art and graffiti.
Are you familiar with street artists from the UK like King Robbo, Stik and Banksy? Is there much knowledge of them back home?
Today there is much information to hand about the street art around the world, The UK is one of the caipitals of street art around the world, there are many names that I know- Banksy, Eine, Roid, Sweet Toof, Gold Peg, Discreet, Petro, just to name a few.
You have painted some murals in London. Is it easier to get something painted here or back home?
It is totally different, each city has its own ways. However, wherever I go I'll always paint.
Have you ever had someone cover up your work, or been told to stop painting a mural by Police?
Of course, anything can happen on the street, I have been covered, stopped. In my city I have been detained several times, but in comparison to other countries, is not very serious; you are just stopped for a few hours and you should not pay a fine.
When you paint on shutters, or on a truck (like in Paris), do you get permission first? Do you see a difference between painting on something more personal like that than, say, on an abandoned wall? Which do you prefer?
I paint with and without permission, I like much more without permission. Each time is different, I like to get to different places, different surfaces, sizes, places that have life, a story-that's fundamental.
Where else have you painted?
I have managed to paint diferent abandoned places, once a boat on the island of San Andres here in Colombia, a submarine in Amsterdam, a railroad car in Mexico.
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