For the past six years, Stinkfish has brought his unique blend of paint and paper to the streets. During this time, he worked under various names: Stinkfreak, Stinkfriend, Knits, Quetzal, Qkul, and finally, Stinkfish. Like his name, his style constantly evolved. “I like to constantly experiment and search for new options. When I started, I did a lot of stencils. Now I work with spray paint, water, brushes, needs, stickers, posters, objects, and stencils. I like to mix techniques and I think it impacts the images that I create.”
Born in Mexico City, Stinkfish moved to Bogotá, Colombia, four years ago. Since the move, the city has quickly become his favorite painting location. “My friends, family, and streets that I like to walk and paint are all here,” he says. The energy of these streets inspires him to create. “That’s where I feel calm and whole,” he explains. “My work is subsequently a product of everything I see, hear, and read. Everything is mixed in my head and then vomited out onto the wall.”
Although he can’t remember the first time he painted or drew, he does recall having a lot of independence as a child. “My parents gave me a lot of freedom in every sense,” he explains. “I could paint, run, scream, whatever. I think that sense of freedom stays with me and helps when I’m painting in the street. It helps me understand the street as a place to propose, build, and intervene.”
Bombing is exhilarating, but it isn’t always easy. “Once, my crew and I were set to paint a mural at the university,” he recalls. “We stayed behind in the residences to celebrate the feast. The day before we left, one resident committed suicide. The next day, the atmosphere was very tense. We had problems with the wall paint and wanted to leave. A member of our crew suggested that we try painting the mural again. Gradually, the painting changed the atmosphere and opinions of us. Later on, people invited us back.”
Fortunately, Stinkfish doesn’t have to combat the police regularly. “Bogotá is very quiet,” he says. “I paint on everything and the police are fine if you just talk to them. Until recently, there weren’t serious fines for graffiti.”
In the future, Stinkfish will continue to wander city streets, meeting new people and painting along the way. The Museum of Bogotá hosts an exhibit of his work through September. “It is a project on memory and heritage through graffiti and urban art,” he adds. Also, he’s got a book about stencils in the works. Stinkfish may be eager to share his personal goals, but he doesn’t have any predictions about street art’s future. “You can’t hypothesize about it,” he insists. “You have to do it and search the streets to find out.”
All photos courtesy of Stinkfish. For more info, check out his Flickr.
Gracias, Stinkfish! Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy your weekend and I'll be back on Monday with more news, photos, and stories.