Entes & Pesimo
You are two of the most recognised artists in Latin American graffiti, how do you represent this identity in your work?
Pesimo: Well, I think it has been something innate, we didn’t plan to paint the Latin American way. In fact, I think we got here without noticing it.
This is something that is marked in our identity. It’s cool to know that there has been an internal and natural process to do something like this. It isn’t forced, it is simply a matter of experience.
Entes: That’s what characteries our work, as well as the way our friendship and the bond that we have is interpreted on the walls. About seven years ago, we painted separate designs, I came with one idea and he came with another. Either way, we were always painting freestyle and we have never used sketches, so this freedom has marked an identity.
How have you both been able to develop a cohesive, but separate style that works so well together?
P: This happened because we come from a more old school style of graffiti that was more hip hop. Our thing was to come together with friends and paint a background, without previous arrangement. There came a time when we talked about it and said, ‘why don’t we do this, why don’t we start to sing a song together’. It has been an evolutionary process.
E: The graphic portion is crazy, because it has always been like this: he painted his style and I always painted what I paint now, so I think that the style flowed naturally.
P: Either way, when we paint together we try to find a way to make our styles look similar, so that the pieces have a sense of harmony. When we paint separately each has his own unique style.
Seeing your work I notice that you use family and nature as themes. How do you relate to these elements?
E: I believe we come from the same type of family. I think that Pesimo can look at his parents and see that they love each other, I look at my parents and see that they love each other and I think about my siblings and the relationship that I have with them. All of this makes me see an exterior problematic, particularly, single mothers and family crisis, and I feel the desire to represent them.
On the theme of nature… I have always lived near the beach and a swamp, so in one way or another there has always been a relationship with nature. The swamp is a point where migratory birds from all around the world gather, so I have been able to see a great diversity of winged animals in this place. Then, ideas begin to grow in my mind, naturally.
P: In my case it’s also a matter of finding something humanising, representing emotions, like in a photo, but I create my own photo. Painting something that is fantastical, but that you can identify with the feelings transmitted. A hug, a body gesture, a glance, all of this together is a story.
Do you still paint illegal graffiti? How is your relationship with DMJC (crew)?
E: Not so much right now. Instead, we plan specific actions of attack against publicity, or we make weird interventions, things that haven’t been done or seen before, that are not the already existing ones. We do not receive artistic influences, like most painters do that take a reference and adopt it. Our work is purely ours and if we have something to say we say it, the way it should be said or how we want to say it.
P: Mainly the DMJC is a group of friends.
E: I have a DMJC tattoo on my back.
P: That you know and do the same things you do. Of course, a good part of the crew members are now grown up, so each has their problems, kids and families. Yet it is also fun to get together and chat, once in awhile and laugh and share stories.
E: That’s the family feeling, like, for example, a week ago we played football for the first time, we had never done that before. So, after that comes the barbecue and some drinks, and then we die. Haha.
You are the organisers of Latir Latino. What was the experience of organising like for you?
P: It’s complicated; you always have to fight bureaucracy and deal with the impoverished administrative system that exists. With all the social needs and shortages present in a Latin American city, such as Lima, or any city, for you to get support for art is the ultimate. The first thing on the agenda is delinquency, then structures, as cities are always growing, and the last item on the list is culture.
E: And below that is graffiti
P: Yes, but amazingly there is abundant support from private enterprise as graffiti, being originally so underground, has grown into an accepted and current practice. Private companies are then interested in boarding the trend, generating an odd circle.
E: Well, I think it’s also about how you learn to use these enterprises, because we use them. Since we have given the “ok” a spin, the municipality gives us a small percentage of what we need, but we then gather the rest from our sponsors, which are our artistic sponsors. It’s a little odd, because an artist does not usually do these kinds of things, he isn’t interested in convoking others, especially if they are Latin American artists who have the same level.
P: It has pros and cons. It’s cool because the relationship is between artists, between street people. The difficult part is asking for money. As artists asking for resources, we are not taken seriously. Luckily, this is changing.
What is your vision for Latir Latino?
P: The third edition is coming up. We want to continue doing it, expanding every time, having bigger turnouts and we want it to become an example to the world, originating in Peru. We want the people in Lima to enjoy the artists that come out and have them look forward to the event that occurs every two years.
E: So that they eagerly wait for it and become addicted to it, like festival junkies. We want them to begin to request artists and generate a relationship.
Do people participate in these festivals?
It happens spontaneously in streets, there has always been a good reaction to it.
How do you see Valpo in the graffiti scene?
P: Valpo surprised me very much, I have a special feeling with Valpo because my father is an artist and took me to Valparaiso when I was 11. It was the first time I traveled out of Peru, because my father went to exhibit his work. My perception of the city was different and I always wanted to return. Now that I am back I saw the graffiti, which is amazing, finding so much art in a really small space is good.
E: It’s like the hills are full of paint all over. Our friends, our cousins who live here, in the Santiago Under, Charki, Bisy who invited us, all form another type of vibe at the moment of finding a city that is so full of graffiti.
What is your relationship with Chilean graffiti?
P: The first time we traveled out of the country to paint was to Chile, so we created a really strong bond with the Santiago Under Crew. We have many Chilean friends, so we have been able to witness their artistic growth and evolution. We made friends in a distinct manner.
E: They are our cousins, our family. We just had a showing in the Montana Gallery in Santiago. Whenever you encounter a Santiago Under, he is your family and “Pa lante” (Go ahead). The same with Charki that always visits our house, because he was one of the first artists that we met back in 2002. We always look upon the Chilean graffiti scene with respect.
P: There are less people painting, but the level is higher.
How do you see Bogota?
P: The people are the best and the weather is a little crazy. The weather is weird. We were told that it was summer there, so we came with a completely different idea…
E: We almost brought shorts, but it was winter.
P: But the people are so cool that they make up for it.
Interviewer: Andrea Rodruigez on behalf of tMoUA.