Friday, October 9, 2009

Bay Area- Weekend of Graf

Eastside Arts Alliance, Hard Knock Radio, Samurai Graphix and Youth Speaks Present:
Pecha Kucha Night Oakland
Don't Sweat the Technique: Graffiti for Social Change

Friday, October 9, 2009, 7:30-10:30pm
2277 International Blvd. Oakland, CA 94606

Admission $5
Seating is LIMITED, so show up early!
All ages welcome. Beer and wine bar open to over 21.

10 presenters, 20 slides each, 20 seconds per slide

Confirmed presenters (out of 10 slots):

1. Jim Prigoff, co-author of Spraycan Art, Walls of Heritage Walls of Pride, and Graffiti New York
2. Brett Cook Dizney, nationally renown community artist
3. Marc Bamuthi Joseph & Bethanie Hines, presenting Life Is Living
4. Spie TDK
5. Nancy Hernandez, San Francisco community activist
6. John "Prime" Hina, founder of
7. Steve Grody, author of Graffiti LA
8. Erin Yoshioka, of Trust Your Struggle Collective
9. Estria

About Pecha Kucha Oakland

Awarded "Best Intersection of Arts, Politics and Powerpoint" - East Bay Express annual Best of the East Bay Edition, August 5, 2009

Two years ago, Oakland Graffiti muralist Estria Miyashiro was invited to participate in Pecha Kucha Night Honolulu, but was unable to attend. Since then, he has brought Pecha Kucha Night to Oakland and enlisted the help of EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA) and Hard Knock Radio (HKR). Estria felt it was a great format for local visual artists to share their work informally with many different people outside of a gallery setting. Estria explains, "Pecha Kucha is a great way to expose your art to many professionals in other fields in one quick-fire burst."

ESAA and the EastSide Cultural Center is the official home of the bi-monthly Pecha Kucha Night Oakland. ESAA is known for presenting cultural events that connect art with politics, and Pecha Kucha Night Oakland is no different. Maisha Quint of ESAA relishes the opportunity to take Pecha Kucha to another level. "We are gonna flip the script on Pecha Kucha by presenting artists that are really saying something about the human condition and the state of the world. We know that Pecha Kucha started as a way for designers and architects to present their work and we respect that and will be honoring the original format. Our focus will be on designers and architects of social change."

Each Pecha Kucha Night Oakland has a theme, and Weyland Southon of Hard Knock Radio is usually responsible for coming up with something appropriate. For this edition, the choice was a no-brainer. We decided to curate an all-graffiti lineup to celebrate revolutionary artwork, in conjunction with the 3rd annual Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle.

Keeping with the tradition of the original Pecha Kucha Nights in Japan, each Artist will present 20 images and speak on each image for 20 seconds. Pecha Kucha Night Oakland is part of a global network of Pecha Kucha Nights that happen in over 500 cities worldwide.

About Eastside Arts Alliance
The EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA) is an organization of artists, cultural workers, and community organizers of color who live and/or work in the San Antonio district of Oakland. We are committed to working in the San Antonio and other Oakland neighborhoods to support a creative environment that improves the quality of life for our communities and advocates for progressive, systemic social change. Through progressive programming and cultural organizing, EastSide Arts Alliance promotes community sustainability for future generations through self-determination, political and cultural awareness, and leadership development.

About Hard Knock Radio:
Hard Knock Radio (HKR) is a daily drivetime Art and Public Affairs talk show for the Hip Hop Generation. It features hosts Davey D, Weyland Southon, and Anita Johnson along with correspondents who hit the air everyday at 4pm offering News, Views, and Hip Hop. HKR features in-depth interviews and profiles with elected officials, community leaders, activists, artists and musicians. HKR gives voice to community concerns and offers a unique forum to explore issues relevant to the Hip Hop/urban community. HKR sponsors and presents many cultural events throughout the Bay Area. HKR has been voted Best Radio Show by Eastbay Express and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. It can be heard locally weekdays 4pm-5pm PST on KPFA FM 94.1 or online at

About Samurai Graphix
Samurai Graphix is a custom screen print shop in San Leandro, CA run by Estria. Estria began spray painting in Hawai'i in 1984 and has since painted hundreds of murals. As an influential leader of San Francisco's "Golden Age" of graffiti (1980's), he pioneered painting techniques of characters and scenes. He is one of the originators of the stencil tip, used by graffiti writers to create thin airbrush-like lines. Estria co-founded Visual Element, the EastSide Arts Alliance's free mural workshop that develops youth into the voice of the people.

About Life Is Living
A national campaign that uses a new form of green spoken story telling one that represents the diverse and changing perspectives on what it means to be environmentally just. This campaign seeks to inspire people to take the value they see in their LIFE, and establish it powerfully as a new voice to define what it means to be logistically and psychologically included in the new, clean and green economies. Life is worth living, and Living is Green.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cece and Yoshi, photo by Martha Cooper in 12 Oz Prophet

Cece and Yoshi collabo, photo by Martha Cooper in 12 Oz Prophet
Article and Images from the Younity show, NY
Thanks to Toofly and Alice and all the other ladies involved...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Unreleased Colombia Video

This is the extended video of one of the regions Barrancabermeja in Colombia. It depicts the workshops and experience in more detail. Please understand this video was not released initially because we were fearful of subjecting the participants to more danger.

Once asked, it was agreed that the folks involved wanted their stories to be heard... So please check it out...

Barrancabermeja Video from Trust Your Struggle on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Barrancabermeja and Bogota, Colombia

Hey Folks,

Man things have been busy. Shaun Burner came down to Colombia to participate in the Memoria Viva project and we were cooking. The first city we hit was Barrancabermeja and that region is hot in all aspects. Politically there is a lot of violence that occurs and literally the minute you step out of the plane you are sweating.

We got in and hit the ground running. First we completed a mural at Credhos, a human rights organization. The founders of Credhos have been displaced and their current leaders are on the government list for the paramilitary to assassinate. Even though the folks there knew their life was in danger, they still continue to fight for human rights in their city. Their strength, resilience and dedication was humbling. It touched us to the core.

Credhos was nice enough to house our workshop, so in return we dropped a mural for them in their patio.


We conducted the workshop with folks ranging in age from high school to elderly. Their stories were amazing and their losses were enormous. They painted their ideas for the murals and shared with us their experience. From this we created the mural at the Public Library Galvis Galvis which is on the campus of the University of Barrancabermeja. The University was very supportive and let us paint the mural on wood in the auditorium of their main entrance.



And on our last night, after the mural was carried over to the Library and installed, we dropped a little mural for fun right next to the office of the administration. We even got some students and administration to paint it with us.

From there, we jumped on a cold bus for a long ride back to Bogota. We enjoyed a week of rest then got right back to it painting a mural for the office of Reiniciar, the law firm that currently has the case against the Colombian Government in the Inter American Human Rights Courts for their participation in the massacre of the Union Patriotica.


Then for the next few days we linked up with the artist crew APC to complete a mural at the National University of Bogota. This was a great collaboration and a blessing to be able to paint with Bastardilla, Stinkfish, Aeon, and Zas. Then with the luck of great timing, Skope from Australia landed in Bogota and came through to help it all come together. It was a great collaboration between TYS, APC, and Skope.

The quote and theme of this mural was based upon a quote from Pablo Neruda: They can kill the flowers, but they cannot stop the spring.


The videos from these murals are coming shortly. We are waiting to see which version will be released because, we are concerned for the safety of our participants from the workshops. We will either release just the mural version or the version with the workshops included. We are waiting on clearance. So please be patient with us, we just don't want to put anyone in more danger.

Thanks for keeping up with us,


Monday, May 25, 2009

Meta University of the Llanos

Hey Folks,

Man just made it back from Meta a state a little south from Bogota, the capitol. Meta was truly a hustle, I finished my first solo mural in 5 days and worked my butt off. Below are photos of the wall, a new video of the making of the mural, local newspaper coverage, and a little diary entry along the way...Check it out...

Click to watch the Making of the Mural.

Meta University Mural English Version from Trust Your Struggle on Vimeo.

Click to enlarge: Mural at University of Llanos.

This wall is at the entrance of the University.


Day 1
I painted the wall with primer today. Man by the time I got to the top, I could roll two strokes then rest for 10 breaths, then roll two strokes and rest again. I was sweaty and freakin dying. I just got back to the hotel and I can barely close my hands... man I miss the crew

Day 2
Today I battled tropical rainstorms and frying sun. When it rains or gets to hot, I have to carry my large suitcase full of spraypaint and 20 buckets of paint upstairs to the location the University gave me to store my supplies. Who needs a gym when you got gallons of bucket paint.

Day 3
Wow! As I was getting bit by mosquitos today, my new security guard friend said... um you should wear repellent because we have Dengue here. Note to self: ask when you get to a new region if they have Dengue or Malaria there.

Day 4
Kinda have a little food poisoning, man my stomach is trippin. And today I have to spend all day on the top of the scaffolding. Nothing like balancing on one narrow piece of wood 3 stories in the air. I have already derived on exit strategy if this thing falls, but I pretty much summed up that if it falls odds aren't in my favor. My hands are more sore from holding on to the scaffolding than using the spray can. But I am almost done...

Day 5
My usual schedule, get to the school early like 8:30 and power it out until the sun gets so hot I feel my head melting then take a siesta and work though the night. Tonight I finished the mural at 5:00am. Worked through the night. I have no words...

Anywho, that was me struggling, but thankfully it all came together. When the mural was completed, I dedicated the mural to the Victims of the genocide of the Union Patriotica. The region is so tense right now that the school asked me to change it because they couldn't be seen as having party affiliations. I told them I understood but argued that the UP is no longer a party, so it is not a solicitation for new members. The party was destroyed as over 5,000 of their leading members were assassinated or disappeared in the late 80's. This was a dedication to remember the Genocide.

They couldn't change it themselves because the students and staff supported it and it would look like censorship. So the dedication still rides. I know that this is easier for me to do as a foreigner because it would be more dangerous for a local person to write this message. So I knew, I had to stand my ground. This region is tense...

Thanks folks for keeping up with my adventure. Shaun Burner gets here Wednesday as we take off to the next region for some more.

And here is the local newspaper coverage of the mural:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Univalle, Cali Colombia

Just landed back from Cali, Colombia. Miguel Bounce Perez and Mikey 1 Soul flew in from New York to participate in the new project that my partner Pablo and I just launched.

Here is a little piece Miguel and did on the streets just to get things warmed up:

Below is a video of our latest Trust Your Struggle production. The mural was completed at the University of Valle (UniValle) by local artist Makila, Bounce and me (Yoshi).

This is the first video I ever made. Thanks to the help of the guys...Check it out...

More info to come... stay tuned...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lucha Libre...TYS, EXE, APC

Hello Folks,

This weekend was packed with painting. Saturday was the Lucha Libre event which was hosted in Oaxaca, Medellin, and Bogota. The event telecasted the creation of the murals in all cities simultaneously taking place in the different cities to the theme of Lucha Libre. In Bogota the mural is on a main street where traffic runs Carrera 5 with Calle 20 in downtown. It was a collaboration between TYS, Punto EXE and APC crews. And now we have a Confia en Tu Lucha (Trust Your Struggle) riding on the streets of Bogota...

Check the little video:

Click to Expand:

(from Left to right: Bastardilla, Saga, Say, Stinkfish, Jako, Zas, Yoshi, Wap, Ark, Gris)

Click to Expand:

Some other photos of the night

The two crews minus the ladies:

Then on Sunday in between little sprinkles of rain, we finished the other mural we started last week. It is placed in between a rich neighborhood and a poor one clearly divided by the paved road and the dirt road. We were there three different days and each time folks walking by would come, watch and hang out. The mural is on part of an apartment building and a demolished building. We invited the guys from Punto. Exe crew (WAP, Jako and Say) to finish the mural with us (Stinkfish, Ark, and I).

Click to Expand:

(left to right: Yoshi, Say, Wap, Stinkfish, Jako, and Ark)

Click to Expand:

Click to Expand:

Click to Expand:

Anywho my project starts next week so off to Cali to complete two murals. I am hoping to have some crew mates meet up... We will see, keep your fingers crossed...The adventure continues...


Thursday, March 5, 2009

From Santiago to Bogota

Hey Folks,

I wrapped things up in Santiago. While Nelson and I took off to Valparaiso, Dacot finished up some parts on the mural. Here is the final shot of the mural in Santiago.


Sadly I said goodbye to Santiago but happily I made my way to Bogota for my new adventure. I got in, chilled out and explored the city. They have an amazing exhibition of Botero that I had to stop by and check out. The Botero exhibit is from his private collection and he donated it to the city on the contingency that they would keep the exhibit free...

Pablo's family welcomed me with a BBQ at the house. They have been so wonderful. He has 67 first cousins which is a little crazy for me because I only have two. They are all super warm people and have taught me the little lessons from cooking yuca without chopping off my fingers to how to defend myself from ravenous mosquitos. We just got back from a trip over the weekend, for one of the cousin's birthday. It was great the pool, tropical weather, and good laughs.

After exploring, I started working immediately on the project proposal. I was seeking sponsorship for painting murals throughout Colombia. I presented in Spanish which was so nerve wrecking for me because mine isn't the best, though it is getting better. I actually cried the night before because I was so nervous that I wasn't going to be able to do it. But I survived and even got my project funded. It is a two part project with Pablo. He is going to shoot photography and video footage; and I am going to paint murals. I have committed to 5 murals and I am so excited to start. Our project should begin in about a week or two. I am trying to bring down some friends and crew members to join in on the project, along with local artists from around Colombia.

In Bogota, I made a friend, Stinkfish. He has a crew here made up of like 5 guys and two girls. They are great and paint all over the city. They are working on some really large projects, walls, galleries here in the city. And they invited me to come paint with them. Stinkfish seems as nice as they come. He is super talented and just down to collaborate and build. We have some ideas of collaborations in the works and it has only been a few days. We get along great between his little English and my little Spanish. I am so excited that I have a new friend...

Check out a link to his blog here:

Stinkfish and I collaborated on a wall, check it out below. It is a fun little project. It was on a wall that he placed a stencil on 2 years before and the owners liked it so much that they repainted the stencil everytime someone would tag near or on it. They were very supportive for us to do something new...


This weekend, he got me into a National Hiphop Annual Festival to paint with approximately 30 other artists from around the country and a few international. It is about 1 hour south of Bogota in an area that has graf and murals covering the main highways. The walls are huge and I know it is going to be a great time. It is also my birthday so what more can I ask for... I am super excited...It is totally an honor that he has help introduce me into the scene. I will post some more flicks after this weekends event.

Hope everyone is and hugs,


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Valparaiso- es mi paraiso

I just returned from Valparaiso and it was an amazing city. It is set in the mountains and the buildings cascade down it slopes with with integrated murals peeking around the corners. The nice beaches are short drive away. The city has a warm youthful feel with a fun nightlife in the center.

We stayed with my friend, Nelson's (Cekis) sister, Bisy who is a graf writer as well. She is apart of a female collective. Bisy's has a charming house over looking the city. This is the view from her bedroom.

We only had one night here so we had to make the most of it. First things first. Head to the beach. Here was our little crew...

Nelson" Crazy Guy"

The Infamous Peter...and me...

After a nice day at the beach... we cooked some great fish and walked around all night doing what we do. Not only was it a great work out because these hills are super steep but it was amazing fun. We scoped walls for future murals and checked out all the new stuff people had painted. Since the city is set in the hills murals just pop around each corner. I suck and didn't take the best pictures of the murals in Valparaiso but this will give you an idea of what they look like on the streets. Sorry I was so into looking at them I forgot to pull out my camera. I will get better at this though...

Anyways my trip in Santiago is wrapping up... bummer... I said by to my friend Nelson today. He took off to Sao Paolo to paint with his crewmate Grin. They are working out details for an upcoming show in Sao Paolo as well as going there to just get up. Nelson took the best care of me and watched out for me like family. I am super grateful to have shared this time with him and got an insight into the scene in Santiago...

With my last few days I am working out details for my new job in Colombia as well as trying to lay some groundwork for people to paint with there. I am going to be guiding painting workshops in spanish so I am trying to build my vocabulary. I have a small presentation of my project idea on tuesday so wish me luck. It is in spanish so I am a little nervous. I also hope to paint one more time with a female collective here in Santiago before I leave. My flight is Monday morning. So hopefully I can make it happen.

take care and be in touch... next stop Bogota...


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Santiago, Chile - paint, paint, eat, paint...

Hello Folks,

Landed in Santiago, Chile and it has been non stop from the moment I hit the ground. I am being hosted by my friend, Cekis, an amazing painter and by the word on the street one of the most famous graf painters in Chile. You would never know by his humble demeanor, but no doubt he is a beast with paint...

The first wall, I climbed down into a ravine where it is like a painters dream. Huge walls, shade, no one to bother you.... and the river running behind. Climbing down was a challenge because it was like 30 feet down from the street level so even with a super tall ladder one still needed to rope climb down about 10 feet. This was definitely scary for me, but with a little persuasion I made it down this rope with my T-rex arms. It was nothing to the guys...

Below is a photo of the piece Cekis and his crew (Horate, Grin and Rick) did together. They are considered the premier collective in Santiago for graf. There probably isn't a Chile graf book that they aren't in. Graf in Chile really blew up during the 90's... before that folks were writing political messages on the walls but doing Pieces came later. Their murals are impressive not only in size but in precision and detail. This one doesn't reflect their mural collaboration style but was more of a fun and quick piece. The mural isn't finished at this stage. I still need to return to get a final picture...

There are a few things I have learned from being in Santiago. Everyone's characters are animated and their own. Folks are pushing limits with perspective and creating their unique style. In addition, I am getting schooled on mixing cans, stretching paint, and taking the pressure out of the can by holding it upside down letting the air out to help with can control and fine lines... I gotta say I got mad respect for folks out here, some do whatever they can to just paint... even if they have a lot or a little materials folks make it happen. Young guys are not only tackling huge walls by themselves, but whole building. All of this has put much into perspective for me.

So here is the first collaboration I was lucky to be a part of in Santiago, Chile. It is in a area called Barrio Bellavista. It is right down the street from the BOMB Gallery. The graf gallery that has over 5 rooms and two stories all dedicated to graffiti.

This is a collaboration between: Cekis (Chile), Cern (NYC), Dacot (Chile), and Yoshi (LA). Hope you enjoy... Tomorrow we take off to Valparaiso... sounds like painters paradise. It is another city an hour and a half away where graf is supported and it is by the beach... I may never leave....

Much love to all... I will keep in touch...

Trust Your Struggle Collective