Who is Peque-VRS???
Interview by: Lee Majors - 50MM Agent
Photos courtesy of Peque-VRS and friends
Translated by Lee Majors
Graffiti has definitely become a massive global movement and cities often
brought to light with a thriving graff scene are cities such as: Los Angeles,
New York and even countries such as: Germany, Brazil, Spain, Europe and
so on. But seldom do we hear of the neighboring country located just south
of the border - Mexico! And it isn’t because there’s a lack of quality in the
work or even a lack in quantity but it’s more a lack of recognition. Many
would wonder why, since there are definitely some dope writers in Mexico.
So let's take a little trip down south, not to TJ, but let’s go further down and
for now, stop in a city called Guadalajara (GDL). GDL is one of the major
cities of Mexico and it doesn’t only have a thriving graff scene but it is
rumored that the Mexican graff scene started there. I was able to meet-up
with one of GDL’s baddest graff artists to interview him exclusively
for 50mm. His name is Peque and this is the first time Peque has actually
ever agreed to a lengthy interview so I feel privileged to interview him. So as
I grub down some OG bomb tacos I ask him a few questions.
6M$M: Okay Peque (Pke), what crew(s) do you represent?
Pke: VRS-Verdadera Realidad Social (true social reality)
6M$M: How did VRS come about?
Pke: It began on a street called Rivera, in our hood, of which its first meaning
came about - Varrio Rivera Sur – It was basically a spot or area we’d
hangout at since we were kids. It was a spot to just chill with the homies.
VRS was like a club. Shortly after, a homie, Sony, and I began to tag/paint
and stuff and to save on having to come up with a brand new crew and
letters we took on the VRS letters and made it a crew.
6M$M: That’s funny. So who’s in the crew and how many members are in
Pke: It was and still considered el Sony, Huesos, Lalo, Moka, Pepe and
Gera. And now actively painting are; Frase, Beren, Drek, Deps, Bampi,
Pinki, Huye, Brush, Herp, Reten, Sekir and some more here and there but
they’re chill now.
6M$M: Is VRS only in GDL?
Pke: No. We have a few that have expanded out like Este in San Jose, CA.
Gifts in Colima, Mex. And Sekir in San Luis Potosí.
6M$M: Cool! Are you in any other crews? if yes, which ones?
Pke: I am VRS only. This is where I began and this is where I’ll stay and will
end. Although, I have hit-up some other crews like SF - Sin Fronteras
(Without Borders) cause of my carnales (homies) Humo and Mibe.
...what really influences me today are “los oldies” (old-
school heads) that still paint. I always give my respects to them for
that. - Peque
6M$M: You have a few years under your belt. Tell me about who and what
were your first influences. What got you started and what influences you
Pke: Yeah, I’ve been doing it for about 15 years now. I began, as I said, in
my neighborhood, just taggin’ and stuff. My first influence was a guy, homie
of mine, I met in High School. He used to go by Flanagan. He was pretty
dope and well advanced. A lot of things pretty much influenced me. And
what really influences me today are “los oldies” (old-school heads) that still
paint. I always give my respects to them for that.
6M$M: You live in the city of GDL, where it’s rumored that Mexican graff
originated. What can you tell me about that? And what does the Mexico City
(DF) graff scene say to that?
Pke: I believe that can be said. It is the first place graff is believed to be seen.
Tijuas (TJ) too but I think that was later. But definitely GDL. There are a
gang of writers in el DF that recall and respectfully attribute the beginning of
graff to GDL and its level of tags and bombs.
6M$M: What is the graff scene like in GDL?
Pke: Well, for a while it reached a high level of tags but tags only. Everyone
was doing it. You’d see tags and only tags everywhere. You’d only see a
few pieces here and there and bombs scattered throughout the city. But that
whole taggin’ thing quickly simmered down and the peeps that still do it are
the peeps that like it and remain faithful. Don’t you think?
6M$M: Agree. Hold on…let me take a bite of this taco…mmmmmm…okay.
You have painted for and in museums as well. That’s a pretty big
accomplishment for a graff writer let alone in Mexico. Can you tell me which
museums you’ve painted in and what you painted?
Pke: I’ve painted for the City Hall of Nezahualcoyotl and the National Museum
of Popular Cultures of Coyoacan along with Humo, Mibe and Ene. Which by
the way the mural we painted is being donated to a Museum in Chicago.
www.culturaspopulareseindigenas.gob.mx/jovenes_zocalo.html It‘s a mural
that depicts the struggle and culture of our people, the Mexicans and/or their
family. How they labor in the fields, the struggle they face financially and the
“dreams” they have of crossing the border, going “al otro lado” (the other
side) to become someone and/or something and make money. So a family
spends their lives savings, goes through all this pain, risks and suffering
crossing rivers and whatnot only to have their children end up joining some
kind of gang and end up getting killed. It becomes shattered dreams. It’s
sad but mainly true. I’ve also exhibited in the gallery of SEMS of UDG
(University of Guadalajara). I’m currently in an exhibit/city project titled Cow
Parade where artists were asked to customize a life size cow.
6M$M: Wo! That’s pretty deep. You’ve been busy. You’re perhaps, one of
the most recognized and solicited graffiti artists in GDL/Mex. How do you
feel about that?
The recognition or fame, I guess some use it to feel
better about themselves. - Peque
Pke: The recognition or fame, I guess some use it to feel better about
themselves. I on the other hand am pleased to be known solely by or
for my work. I believe that no one is better than anyone or let alone less than
another. I just believe there is a level of respect that needs to be given to
each other for what they can and/or know to do best. I personally don’t care
for the limelight. I don’t seek on becoming a screen-face.
6M$M: When I visited GDL last year, I noticed there were areas or small
zones that are assigned or designated for graffiti only. These areas titled
"zona(s) de graffiti" are spaces that are donated by the actual business or
company where the wall is located. What can you tell me about that…
Pke: It’s cool…I guess. Mostly for those that may want to paint and cannot
get any spots. Although, there are some places or spots that are a joke
because they are extremely reduced in size and you can maybe only get a
tag in, if that. (laughs) I personally do not like those spots. Everyone paints
on them and therefore pieces are short lived.
6M$M: Who would you say is currently bombing or rocking GDL?
Pke: There are quite a few who put in mad work but I think OSOE is one of
the better ones and the most up.
6M$M: Yeah – I saw him up a lot too. I’ve also noticed the high-level of
decals/stickers or what may many refer to as “street-art”. Who you would
say reps in that sense?
Pke: The wave of stickers came like a waterfall. You can see it massively
throughout the city. You can definitely see an array of styles, colors and
techniques. Who reps in that way? I am not in a position to answer that
6M$M: Word…and you yourself also have some stickers you rock. Several
of which you do by hand, true?
Pke: Yeah, and I use the question mark or what I call the “sign of
interrogation” with an arrow. To me, for one, it represents the great question
in life. Where are we going? And which way do we go? Also, who are you?
What are you doing? and why?
6M$M: hmmm…interesting. Okay as far as writers, what writer(s) do you
believe has had a major impact in Mex?
Pke: In Mex - el Humo, Aser and Joker. And in GDL? I do not have one
6M$M: In US and in other countries, the styles are different in certain cities
and/or states. Do the styles in GDL differ to that of el DF and/or other cities
Pke: Not a lot, if I can say. But we are always constantly experimenting. But
I can say that the internet has unfortunately had a lot of influence on many
here. You can see the influence from other cities in their style. I
personally like the old blocky-letter style/wild-style stuff.
6M$M: Are there rivals among others, cities and/or states?
Pke: It never fails for one to say that they are better than the other and vise-
versa. I prefer and strongly believe in unity and the one way to accomplish
that is to learn to leave grudges and envies behind and work together as a
force. Unfortunately, in Mex, you will see a lot of writers that perhaps aren’t
accepted or aren’t respected and often times they are crossed-out or erase
6M$M: plsssst…just like here. So it’s seen a lot in Mex. Why do you believe
I think they forget the one main thing – respect and
old-school traditions. - Peque
Pke: Well like in anything else, there is always envy and haters. There are
also similarity in lines or names and whatnot. Sometimes the competition
may get the best of them etc. But to me, those kind of peeps do not have a
dope concept or a chill ideology of this whole graff thing we do. I think they
forget the one main thing – respect and old-school traditions.
6M$M: yeah, I think old school traditions are definitely forgotten here too. In
LA, what defines a true graff writer is always a topic of debate. Legals,
illegals...bombing…stickers…etc. what do you say?
Pke: The difference in criteria and opinions will always exist and it’s chido
(cool) to a certain extent. In my opinion, I like to mark any surface that is
solid and plain whether it’d be with aerosol, marker, calkas (stickers), brush,
pencil, pen whatever man. And they can criticize me all they want for my
choice of medium or because I no longer do illegals. I don’t care!!
6M$M: Dope! Good answer. As a graff writer yourself, what is the ART of
graffiti to you?
Pke: Art alone is the feeling one brings and expresses it in the way one
knows how. In our case, it’s through graffiti.
Pke: Do you only do graff? or are there other mediums you apply?
Pke: Yeah – I airbrush, I mess with some plastic arts. I used to tatt. As of
recently, I am messing with graphic design.
6M$M: What other projects have you worked on or are planning to work on?
Pke: I do a lot of magazine covers for Mexican graffiti magazines, like Virus,
Rayarte, Cultugraff, Aerosol, etc. There are some tentative projects to re-
paint the City Hall of Nezahualcoyotl, four walls in a institution of education
called the Lighthouses of the Saviour and another in an Institute of The
Youth. All these murals are in el DF and in other states of Mexico. I will paint
them along with my carnales the Humo, Mibe and Ene (of Nezahualcoyotl).
I’ve also done work for Network, RedBull and Nike
I hope many can see what we can down here in GDL.
6M$M: You are the first Mexican graff artist interviewed. How do you feel
Pke: Well I don’t think I am chingon (all bad) and stuff but it is chido for the
spot and I hope many can see what we can down here in GDL. Many need
to know we can bust down here, you know? I am also glad to be the first on
the site to rep for the real Mexican graff scene.
6M$M: How do you believe the internet has affected graffiti?
Pke: The good thing with the internet is that we know what may be going on
in other parts of the world, the events happening and also see the works that
are being carried out by the family (other writers). Before many did not have
access to such information. It was even rare to get magazines. But at the
same time it’s sort of “contaminated” a lot of peeps and does not leave any
room for one’s own talent and creativity. And then there are the internet-
fame-seekers, whom I believe have the wrong idea of this whole graff thing. I
personally began painting cause I liked it. As a matter of fact, when many
oldies started, graff magazines didn’t even exist, much less the internet.
6M$M: True…true. Hey, you’ve painted with several heads from the states
and other countries right? With whom?
Pke: well I painted with el MAKE-STN (Los Angeles), KING157-TLT (San
Jose CA.), ENCOURAGE (Phoenix) and SEKIR (of Chile)
6M$M: Would you like to paint in the states? If so, where?
Pke: Basically anywhere where I can meet and also chill with some cool
6M$M: Who in the states has influenced you?
Pke: Well, I like MEAR and AXIS’s shit a lot.
6M$M: Yeah Axis is dope. What would you tell the youngsters that try to do
Pke: Well, to do whatever it is they’re gonna do whether it be legal or illegals,
stickers and whatnot and to always do it the best they’re able to. But most
importantly, they should learn to respect before they go out and paint.
6M$M: What paint do you like using?
Pke: well, we don't have much a selection down here. We lack colors but I
manage cause I Mix (laughs), we do our own mixtures of colors. Ha! And I’d
say COMEX is the better paint.
6M$M: Music you listen to?
Pke: rock, ska, hip-hop and rancheras with my shots of tequila – ahuua!!
6M$M: Tacos or hamburgers?
Pke: TACOS 100% - can I have your last one?
6M$M: aummm…NO! Some last words, comments or shout-outs etc?
Pke: Yeah…wellll, I’m not good with interviews, maybe that’s why I don't
do’em (laughs) But there’s my work. I hope you guys like it. And I wanna
say what’s up to all the graff homies. What’s up to the homie Make-STN
(make 1-2-3) hahahah. and to the entire VRS-Family. And thanks for the
6M$M: Thank you for the interview.