This week at SprayPlanet we were lucky enough to catch up with graffiti’s self-made superstar. The one. The only. PEMEX. Although his roots are firmly entrenched on the West Coast in California, his graffiti adventures and lifestyle have led him around the world! From Central and South America, to Japan, to Spain and beyond, PEMEX’s iconic throw-up can be spotted in nearly every corner of the globe. And to top it off, his fan base / supporters are out of control!
But don’t be fooled by all the glitz and glamour. He isn’t a one-trick pony either. PEMEX is also known to bring heat, firing off with super technical skill and complex lettering. He also dabbles in graphic design and tattooing, seemingly making him a jack-of-all-trades. Find out about what makes him tick in this interview.
Graffiti Writer PEMEX's History and Origin Story
Spray Planet: What do you write and where are you from?
PEMEX: I'm PEMEX, from THE LAST ONES LEFT COLLECTIVE. I'm the most influential graffiti artists of my generation. I'm from California. Fight me if you disagree!
Spray Planet: PEMEX is a pretty dope, but rather unusual name. Tell us about the origins of it. Where did you get it?
PEMEX: The origin of my name is the result of research into corporate corruption juxtaposed next to the lifestyle of the subculture created because of that very same corporate corruption reflected on a global scale.
Spray Planet: How would you describe your overall graffiti style?
PEMEX: I would describe my style as being very similar to my sexual orientation and energy: aggressive, organic and unapologetic.
Spray Planet: At what age do you remember being exposed to the graffiti scene/street culture?
PEMEX: I was exposed to graffiti early on in my life, probably as young as 7. I remember seeing placas in my neighborhood used by the local gangs to claim their territories.
PEMEX's Creative Inspiration
Spray Planet: What inspires you to create and how does it show in the work you constantly produce?
PEMEX: Early on, inspiration for me definitely stemmed from older graffiti artist around the place in LA where I grew up. Figuring out what major influence LA graffiti has on a global scale really helped me hone in on what I wanted my graffiti to look like.
Now, the inspiration and influence on my work has shifted more towards my cultural background along with things from fashion design (shoes, clothing, etc.) graphic design, and architectural design. Inspiration can come from all places. A lot of my color schemes come from things in nature (animal prints, sunsets, animal textures and habitats).
Spray Planet: Tell us about the CRAZIEST situation you’ve been in because of this particular lifestyle?
PEMEX: My entire life has been one long, crazy situation. I feel the higher the frequency you elevate to, the more intense the situations become. At this point in my life there's something that happens every week that most people would look at as a "crazy situation.” My life is a whole fucking movie. For real for real. Just ask around. "Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.
Spray Planet: Sounds like a lot to deal with. So what is your motivation then to continue to do graffiti/create art?
PEMEX: Simple. To keep elevating the culture and inspiring the youth. To me the most important thing about what we do in graffiti and in our communities is the youth. Keeping them focused on the positive and inspired to keep creating. Passing down the knowledge to those who open themselves to it.
Spray Planet: Favorite place in the world where the graffiti lifestyle has taken you?
PEMEX: I don't think I can pick one. That's like picking one favorite girlfriend or one favorite movie. There are too many to pick from and not enough that I've tried to tell you about one, but I can tell you about some of places that I've fallen in love with and why: Mexico city, Madrid, Osaka, Sao Paulo and Taipei. All of them for many different reasons, but mostly because of the devotion of the graffiti artists in those cities, the flavors and ingredients of local cuisine, the beautiful features of the women, and the incredibly creative style and fashion. I think understanding human expression in a city is definitely the best way to get to know a place. Feel out the vibes and the pulse of the city. Breathe the air, feel the textures, bribe the cops.
The Future of PEMEX - Graffiti, Design, Work
Spray Planet: So what kind of things can we expect to see from you in the future?
PEMEX: We are planning on some exhibitions this March in Denver, Colorado. So definitely stay tuned for more info on that. We are also establishing a worldwide collective that features artist from all around the world and of course more tours. Feel free to check out last1s.com for anything and everything that has to do with us and our lifestyle. ALL original work and content. And if anyone is interested in showcasing our talents, feel free to email Info@last1s.com. Support the real!
Spray Planet: Would you say graffiti/street culture has changed life? How?
PEMEX: MASSIVELY. It has created an entire new perspective on my life. It has given me more than I could ever imagine. It has shown me things about the fine art world that you couldn't learn in any course: taught me about color, shape, and form. Taught me life lessons about trust and love. Taught me patience. Taught me how to navigate major cities. Taught me how to bridge cultural gaps and how to maneuver through social classes. It has shown me how to value the little moments in life. Everything gets buffed, dissed, crossed out, or fades. The few things that remain are those to appreciate and admire; To enjoy. Nothing Lasts forever.
Spray Planet: What other career fields would you explore if you hadn’t pursued graffiti/art?
PEMEX: I think I'd like to design jet planes or space vehicles. Anything that goes fast and far. I'm fascinated by the idea of exploration… Or actually maybe porn. Yeah, I think porn could be chill.
Click here to check out the PEMEX PARTY PACK!