On this inaugural episode of Downhome Sessions, we sit down with graffiti artist Daniel Anguilu to talk about his recent work in Boston.
Many graffiti artists create engaging work, but equally there are many murals done by writers who prefer to scribble their name across a wall in a hardly legible wildstyle font. These wildstyle pieces, which are commonplace in today’s graffiti scene, are more void of meaning than that of highly conceptualized, ornate works which are often created to present new ideas, pay historical homage, or open people’s minds to current social ills. The work of graffiti artist, Daniel Anguilu, brings a higher consciousness to the streets. On many walls throughout the Americas and beyond, you can find Daniel’s work weaving its way into the framework of urban and rural landscapes alike.
As a part of Northeastern University’s Artist-In-Residence program, Daniel, was selected from over fifty artists to be the first artist in the series of visiting artists, who will be adorning the campus with new works as a part of Northeastern’s new public art initiative. Nearly all of Anguilu’s work is themed and draws on some present social turmoil that deserves to be brought to the light. As he was beginning the mural, he was thinking of the direction he wanted to take it. On day two, as he began his work, he had mentioned how Gabriel García Marquez had passed away just a week prior and he was thinking about theming the mural after Marquez’s novel One Hundred Years Of Solitude. As the days progressed, he would re-read parts of the novel in order to nail-down the most accurate depiction of the visual themes. Each of the characters he depicted have significant roles in the novel and help to relay the meaning from the book to the wall. Titling the piece after Marquez’s novel, Daniel hopes that future visitors of the mural will seek out the meaning behind the piece of work, sparking a journey within themselves that begins with reading One Hundred Years Of Solitude.
When we were not spending time at the wall, the city of Boston certainly kept us entertained. Most days were a good eight to twelve hours of painting with sporadic coffee and food breaks. Several days were cut short by rain, and one or two were lost completely due to torrential downpours. In our downtime, we were either stuck inside because of rain, were heading over to Bodega to grab more Ironlak, or were out wandering the streets looking for the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants and dive bars.
Part of our local interaction was with Daniel’s friend, Boston-based graffiti artist Tense. He drove us around, showing us all the biggest and most coveted walls around Boston, Jamaica Plain, and Cambridge. To us southern boys, Boston’s “big walls” were like our practice spots. Most of the time, the walls would be tucked away or no larger than the back of that corner store you grew up practicing on as a kid. Legal areas to paint within urban areas will remain a point of contention for years to come. In the coming years, hopefully businesses and city governments will look to incorporate art into urban landscapes rather than act like a dope mural isn’t better to look at than a blank concrete wall.
If you’re in Boston and would like to check out Daniel’s One Hundred Years Of Solitude mural, it is located on the Northeastern University campus at the pedestrian bridge and retaining wall of the Ruggles MBTA, beside the Curry Student Center.