Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can you give us a brief introduction to who you are, what your history is in the graffiti game and what crew do you rep?
My Tag is Mesin, I’m from Mexico City, I’ve been painting since I was 15, I started in the world of Graffiti around 2005. I’m currently in the team of Level 9 spray paint and VS Krew. My style is the 3D letters, and the concept I am currently handling is to incorporate elements such as liquid, pieces disintegrating and my piece interrelating with new shapes and backgrounds, I always like to work on the design of letters, trying achieve a harmony between them, playing with the depths, the assemblies, the adornments, combination of colors, play of light, shadows and three-dimensional effects. I consider that my mood influences the design of the letters and colors, an example, when I get angry, the shape of my letters becomes a little aggressive like the colors, I use reds or grayish tones, when I feel in balance my lyrics keep more harmony and I use quieter or brighter colors. I like to meet new graffiti writers and paint with them. My next project is to go out and paint to other countries.
I see along with the other members of your crew you have a lot of videos you have posted on your YouTube channel. Do you shoot these and edit them yourself? If so what was the goal with starting your own YouTube channel and how successful has it been for you?
The objective of creating the channel was to show the processes of how I did my work, since some people asked me how I used to create light and shadow effects, how I used colors, what techniques I used. For me it was easier to record and show it, hence the idea of creating a more elaborate video with music. The same also had the purpose of showing my work, as do other graffiti writers or skates. At the beginning I recorded and edited my videos. But I have also collaborated with some graffiti brands, or people who are in graphic design careers and have recording projects. They are dedicated to record the video and edit it, and then they pass them to me and I share them on my social networks. Currently I have collaborated with Level 9 spray paint and they have recorded and edited the last videos that I have uploaded to my channel.
I see that you do a lot of custom pieces on canvas, I’m just curious if you are able to make a full time living off of your work? and if so how do you recommend other artists go about it? I’m assuming selling original pieces and doing murals are the two biggest parts of your business correct?
Actually I do not live in Graffiti, I have a Masters in Social Work and it could be said that graffiti is a hobby. I have tried to live on my graffiti and the murals but it is very complicated. Unfortunately in Mexico graffiti is still little valued, and nobody pays for a canvas, it is very rare, only some collectors or galleries are sometimes interested in my work and pay the price I ask. I think it has to do with the cultural context, where painting graffiti in Mexico is very stigmatized by society and by the authorities. It is still seen more as a crime or a crime, in fact in some states of the republic is prohibited. I must emphasize that in recent decades there has been a significant leap in graffiti at least in Mexico City, has conquered spaces and some graffiti are few can live to make graffiti but in a more artistic. The lyrics are still seen with some rejection.
I also see you have done some collaborations with the Level 9 spray paint company. How did this end up coming your way?
Level 9 spray paint has been a fundamental part to continue with the development of my work, thanks to the support I received from them I have been able to perform more graffiti interventions, besides the paint is of excellent quality. I have been able to make pieces with more colors without limiting myself in the material, since before, usually always towards gray pieces with some other color combination, I can now make interventions with larger ranges of colors.
It looks like you make regular postings on your instagram of your process as well as sometimes showing off sketches in your blackbook. How important is the black book to you as an artist? Do you draw in it daily?
The part of the sketch seems fundamental to me, for me it is the creative process where you design what you are going to capture on the wall, it would be like the structure that will guide the moment of the bardad. Although it is only a guide, you always have to adapt the sketch to the space and already in the intervention you incorporate new elements that occur to you at the moment. Drawing periodically, sometimes I work several days on the same sketch trying to invent new structures, pieces, letters. But it is also good to experiment on the wall, what is known as free style. You can also create interesting things besides the freedom it gives you when the space definitely does not fit with your sketch.
What kind of music do you listen to when you paint? what is inspiring you right now that isn’t in the graffiti world?
I do not listen to music when I paint, I like to be focused on the piece and listen to the sound of the spray, the people who pass, I like to listen to what people say when I’m painting, whether it’s a positive or negative criticism. The classic thing that people ask is: what does it mean what is painting young? It is very funny to give explanations about a 3D since they generally do not understand anything, people think I am crazy. And sometimes I just end by saying that they are structures like airplanes or parts of transformes. Because if I tell them that they are letters in third dimension they ask me and where are the letters that I do not see them? And explaining to them takes a lot of time. People are used to seeing an image, a human figure, a landscape or some element that is real and that they are familiar with, or significant for their lives. You also get to make negative comments like “get your buttocks” or “paint something that is understood, something beautiful, which are those stripes,”
I regularly paint with friends and I like to talk with them while we paint. Making jokes or just talking about any topic. When I have painted alone, it usually happens to me that I begin to talk with myself to reflect on life or any other topic. Sometimes I think it’s a moment where I get ideas about books I’ve read, especially sociological.
Any crazy travel stories you can share? Where all have you been in the world and where do you currently reside?
I have traveled constantly through my country I know most of the states of my country thanks to graffiti. I have traveled to some venues of the Meeting Of styles Mexico such as Guadalajara or Durango. I have not yet had the fortune to leave the country, it is something I would like to do, and it is in my future projects to paint the European continent, that continent catches my attention because there are many graffiti artists that I admire since my beginnings , and I would like to know them, like Sweo, Ret, Tefu, Mata, Spot, Peeta, Daim, Yama, Made, and many more. I must say that my trips to the interior of Mexico have been pleasant. I have known many places and many very nice and caring people. That if it were not for the graffiti I would never have known. And since the trips have been crazy, in the company of the krew, we have drunk a lot of alcohol in the events, and a lot of parties. But above all a lot of painting. I believe that traveling is fundamental, it helps you in your development as a graffiti artist. To meet other writers, talk with them and see their works, you can learn new techniques, which you can then apply in your works.
Any shout outs you would like to give? where can people follow you?
You can follow me on Instagram find me as mesin_vs, on Facebook as Mesin vs and on the page Mesin. On my youtube channel where I have several videos from the year 2011 to the last one I made in the company of versus krew and Level 9 spray paint in the year 2018. You can find it here.
Interview by Wesley Edwards