Chacuatol is a graffiti crew from Managua, Nicaragua. Check out their pieces and read the interview with one of its members, Eyekone:
How come that you're into Street Art?
>> At the beginning, Graffiti was a kind of juvenile agitation for me. The absence of alternatives for the expression of myself made me turn my attention towards the city's walls. In the year of 2001, there already existed a group of youths that experimented with graffiti. Viewing this painting technique (which I never saw before, at that time) fascinated me and I started to imitate these styles in the pictures I was drawing at art classes in school, without knowing that it would define my artistic output 10 years later. The transfer from paper to walls took part intuitively, and thanks to a group of friends of that time, I started to paint in the streets. Time passed by, and I gained better knowledge of techniques, as well as a broader conscience of the communicative power given by the opportunity of painting in an avenue, a neighborhood, a park or in any public space. I got to know other artists with the same feelings, and we decided to form the collective “chacuatol”, trying to improve the aesthetics of our works and to develop the messages towards the rest of the city.
Please describe your own style in a few words.
>> My style is graffiti, my tools are aerosol, latex paint, brushes and scrubbers. I think that every graffiti artists starts by imitating the traditional graffiti aesthetics, meaning typographic works and characters inspired by the Hip Hop culture. While experimenting with the technique, I started to involve other influences in my works, for example impressionism, pop art, pre-Columbian art, Japanese Anime, illustration for children and cubism. If “style” is considered as a philosophy, the word “chacuatol” would be a very good definition of my style. This Nicaraguan slang expression means something like “disordered mixture” and for me, this refers to the process of creativity, carried out by every person. I don't like purism or people that set orthodox limitations on artistic production. The style of every single person should emerge constantly and develop new ways of capturing the observer with an art piece.
What is your perception of the Street Art - scene in the city where you're living?
>> There are many initiatives that aim to continue using public spaces as a scenario. Thanks to the international tendencies, which lead to an elevated promotion of urban art, the interest of some contemporary artists has increased over the last years. There also exists a cultural youth movement supported by the government which re-activated the interest of the youth in murals. The graffiti scene is emerging: Two years ago, there weren't more than about 50 artists, today we are seeing a new generation of adolescents willing to learn and produce art, following the ideas set up by the more experienced graffiti artists. Each city has an enormous diversity of cultural expressions on the streets which can be experienced by walking the main avenues: clowns, jugglers, ambulant food booths and hand-written signs. This whole universe of cultural phenomena reminds me of how important it is for the citizens to be part of their living environment and to think of how this environment can be used to generate alternatives for dialogue between all.
Are there artists who had (or still have) influence on your art?
>> The list is enormous: Since my beginnings in the exploration of graffiti until today, there is Dorian Serpa, one of the founders of the graffiti movement in Nicaragua. My friends Crow, Rek, Keyoe, Dog, Draw, Mikas, Nito, Layzie, Some, Shok, who, in a way of friendly competition, inspired me towards ideas and opinions to improve my work. Then there are exceptional artists like Da Vinci, Picasso, Van Gogh who long time back explored and transcended ways of representing their realities. To be honest, I couldn't mention all persons that had an influence on me, because I think that creativity comes from all the things that stimulate me in an aesthetic way. I try to study the majority of artistic expressions to build my own view of the things that surround me.
What meaning does Urban Art have for you?
>> In my viewpoint, urban art is a very powerful tool. The very fact of being able to paint in a public space transforms this situation into a setting of dialogue between the audience, the site and the artist. It feeds itself by popular perception of aesthetics and the historic memory of a place. Through individual experience, it permits to seek analogies to the feelings and ideas of others. Done sincerely, urban art helps to force specific cultural characteristics of a city and strengthen the ability of contemplation within the everyday uproar.
More about Colectivo Chacuatol on their Facebook profile: