OCOTE, Pre-Hispanic Symbols and Futuristic Designs in Mexico City
Sometimes you might wonder what is behind the fantastic, colorful, historic, cultural and passionated murals that you find in the streets of your city. What do they mean? with what purposes were they made? how much time did the artist spent making them?
A few weeks ago, my sister sent me a picture of a mural on one of the streets in the historic center of Mexico City. I decided to take a trip and have a look. It was a mural full of bright colors, really fun and interesting.
My sister and I are huge fans of street art and we enjoy getting to know the stories behind them, so we didn’t hesitate and contact the Mexican artist so he could share more about his artwork and inspiration with us.
OCOTE, creator of these fascinating murals, is an artist from Mexico, Distrito Federal. He has a bachelor degree in Psychology (UNAM, UIC) and a MA in Visual Arts (art and environment).
We sent OCOTE some questions and he got back to us with these awesome answers:
Where does your inspiration come from?
From human behavior, historical moments that I lived; their great differences with the past and their many similarities as well. The problems facing the Mexican culture for hundreds of years and how they manifest today, inequality and violence. And the fire of consciousness we need to give continuity to the efforts of change that have taken the generations who have preceded us: the ancient wisdom and great thinkers. And anime, graphic novels, film and electrocumbia.
Tell us a little of the creative process:
When I work on the street I usually start with the message I want to convey. I sketch with pencils, make several designs and use colored pencils, watercolors and/or acrylic to add color. When I find a design I like, I work with it in Illustrator to play with color combinations, size and composition. The final draft is what I paint in the streets with aerosol and use acrylics to outline.
What are the colors that you like to use in your work and why?
I love fluorescent colors, I was caught by them ever since I was a kid, I grew up in the 90’s lol. I like them because well, they’re obviously very bold and attract the public’s attention, like the cardboard signs on the street stalls in Mexico city, they have that quality that catches the eye. I also like them because only in person they are enjoyed as they are, I feel that the digital image fails to convey their richness and intensity. They also refer me to a futuristic Tron aesthetic type, the neon light ads and the SARAPES DE NEON, that Rockdrigo Gonzalez (another big influence of mine) used to talk about. And I used them to oppose futuristic connotations with pre-Hispanic motifs that nourish my work. Well also current handcrafts tend to be very colorful and phospho too, and I love that. I see my pieces as large postcapitalist handcrafts.
¿Do you mix psychology in your work?
Yes, all my work has a lot of social psychology. I’m very interested in collective imagery and that somehow my work impacts others, and that the images stay in their heads and generate something, preferably a consciousness of something.
If you get to visit Mexico City one of these days, you might be able to see one of OCOTE’s artwork in the streets. You can always check out more about OCOTE’s artwork here and here. If you are a street art lover, like us, you are going yo love this Instagram account: @StreetArt_Chilango, all about street art in Mexico City!