"I'm known for the alien squid."
There’s a preconception that the U.S. is at the top of the La bohème game. Other countries put out amazing work but the Mecca of hipsterdom is in Williamsburg, with that on our side, we feel entitled. The late twenty, early thirty-somethings in the states are almost expected to be creative workhorses. It never occurred to us that we would meet someone outside of America who inspired us as intensely as the people we’ve met in Brooklyn and LA.
Then came Manny. Mazatlan based artist, skateboarder, and restauranteur. At this point he has two shops up and running in different corners of the city but has plans, in the very near future, to expand all over Mexico.
We met Manny as a friend of a friend. He swung by Salem’s hostel to talk shop and make plans for the next couple days. Plans that included bringing all of us to visit his good friend who was putting up a mural on the outskirts of Mazatan.
The next day we all drove thirty minutes across town on dirt roads and past some rough and tumble corners of the city before arriving at the mural. A 12x30 piece on the side of a tienda that commanded the respect of the eight people en tow that day. After a time of watching the artists paint and a series of questions were asked, Manny procured his own wall across the way, grabbed a few spray cans, and got to work on his own piece.
We came to Central/South America not expecting massive creative inspiration. We knew latin American art was alive and well but had no idea to what extent or variety. We were naive. Meeting Manny, and seeing the meticulous detail he commanded in the restaurant and with his work, wasn't only inspiring, but humbling. He worked his ass off and was passionate about everything he produced. Living proof that you don't need to limit yourself to produce good work, you just need to hold yourself to a really high standard.