Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday ProFile: InFame

New York has a long history of street art and graffiti (comparatively, anyway). Europe’s been churning out stencil artists since Blek le Rat stepped on the scene. But in some places, street art is still fresh and new. InFame is one of Ecuador’s street art pioneers. Braving new territory with wheatpaste, spray cans, and stickers, he is one of a growing number of artists taking their work to the streets.
“At school, some friends told me about stenciling and graffiti,” he recalls. “I began to investigate. My first template was Jimi Hendrix.” He is one of the few artists in Quito who uses stencils regularly. Most of the time, InFame works alone but he teams up with other stencil artists from time to time.
For the past 17 years, he’s covered the streets of Quito with his work. “Street art gives me more excitement in my life. Before I became an artists, my life was very monotonous. I wanted to do something that would make people remember me, so I became a pioneer of street art in my country.”
While graffiti artists and street artists coexist in other places, InFame believes there’s a divide in Ecuador. “It's a bit different in Quito,” he says. “There are many writers but there’s a divide between graffiti and street art. People who do street art have a more contemporary designs while graffiti artists opt for a more classic style.”
Regardless of their style, writers face considerable danger on the street. “There’s a lot of intolerance and abuse perpetuated by the police,” he adds. “The first time I painted a stencil, the cops found me. However, they saw the stencil and didn’t think I was doing ‘graffiti’, so they left me alone.”
In the future, InFame hopes to take his work worldwide. “I’d love to show people a different side of Ecuador,” he explains. “I just want to go out and paint in the street.” He believes that Ecuador’s street art scene is still young and there’s plenty of room to go. “The medium hasn’t been exploited for commercial reasons,” he insists. “I prefer to paint for the people.”

Gracias, InFame! For more info, check out his Flickr page or his website. That’s all for now; I’m off to NYC to see what’s there for me. If you’re around and want to hang out, drop me a line! I’ll be happy to see you.

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