Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday ProFile: 3E

Born in Cartago, Costa Rica, 3E began exploring his creativity from an early age. He recalls, “I always had artistic tendencies but always in a mischievous and troublemaker way. I liked playing with a lot of different materials like matchboxes, wood, sand. I remember there was a box at the top of a closet in my house which I liked to take down to inspect. Needless to say, the materials were never intact after passing through my hands.”

This creativity led to a career in graphic design. The color, shape, and layout of the design world meshed well with the graffiti he saw on the streets. After a while, he decided to try his hand at this new form of expression. “I think my style comes from my work as a designer,” he says. “Even though I have been in this for a short amount of time, I have begun to create a style that has a lot of details. I use a lot of rectilinear and small objects, stencils that are digitally created and mixed with analog traces, and patterns that can be combined in layers to get different results. I call this style Technograffiti; the more detail, the better.”

3E’s name has a variety of personal meanings. “It is a combination of the term ‘3D’. ‘3E’ sounds like “tree,” complete with its different branches. These branches resemble what I do in my different artistic outlets.” Armed with his name and his style, 3E hit the streets in mid-2007. “Painting is very liberating for me,” he explains. “I enjoy it and at the same time it gets me off the computer for a while. I like that people can see a work of art without having to pay to see it; it’s there and is anonymous to most people. Also, a lot more people will probably see it out on the street, which makes it more valuable.”

While 3E was nervous about outside criticism at the beginning, he never feared the long arm of the law. “I really do not think of bombing in terms of painting on government property,” he says, “which I think belongs to me in some way and which I am free to modify. I would much rather like to dedicate time to make street art that can create more social impact, something that will contribute to the community.” Although he’s been searched by police, he worries more about randoms than law enforcement interfering. “Early this year, an individual tried to stab me and take the camera I was using to film a friend bombing,” he recounts. “That day we got taken to jail – not our attacker but us. Evidently paint is a lethal weapon and graffiti still a taboo for some people.”

3E’s style may change, but his intent remains the same. “The message will depend a lot on the person observing,” he acknowledges. “But I suppose the most important point is that graffiti is art and it should be no less legitimate than a painting hanging in a gallery, which people doubt in no way and automatically anoint with status.” In the future, he plans to push the boundaries of traditional graffiti and to share it with more people. “I would like to create and offer a more technical style in graffiti by using a combination of tools and media,” he says. “Ultimately, I’d like graffiti to be accepted by the general community as a form of art and not a taboo equal to vandalism.” He adds, “I have no limits – if the Pope wants one of my graffiti I would gladly make one in Saint Peter’s Square at Piazza Pio XII in Vatican City.”

3E is not only a graphic designer or street artist. Since 2006, 3E has built a life for himself in Panama. When he’s not painting or designing, he spends time with his wife. He also plays keyboard in the band Einfall and messes around with ProTools to create his own tracks. In his spare time, he collects vintage stickers and reads about whatever subject piques his interest. To get away from it all, 3E skateboards. “I guess,” he smiles, “you could say I’m busy all the time.”

All images courtesy of 3E. For more information, check out his website.

Gracias, 3E! Good luck with those new projects. On Monday, I'll be sure to give a full report of my weekend. Apparently, I'm going to the aquarium to pet a penguin (my favorite animal of all time). Awesome! Have an excellent weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday.

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