At the end of March master graffiti artists, Isaias Crow and Werc Alvarez, returned to San Diego for the first stop on their West Coasting Tour 2013. In addition to painting in San Diego, they are creating murals in Los Angeles, San Jose, Sacramento and others spots in between as part of their tour. While here in town they created three beautiful, unique murals. The first one in San Ysidro at Casa Familiar’s The Front, another at Pedal Pushing Bicycle Shop on El Cajon Blvd in Talmadge and the third and final San Diego mural at La Central Market in Barrio Logan across the street from Chicano Park.
Originally from El Paso, Texas, they lived in San Diego for around 10 years but both decided, for different reasons, to move back to their native Texas. Crow to a town near Houston and Werc to his hometown. Both started off in their youth as taggers in El Paso. And over the years they have matured into bonafide muralists. Their muralwork can be seen in various places throughout Barrio Logan including Chicano Park, La Entrada Apartments and the Gateway Family Apartments.
The initial plan was for Crow to come out to California to hand deliver some finished commissioned artwork. But things grew from there. “Instead of just delivering them I decided then to bring some paints and some supplies and then I started talking with Werc Alvarez about him coming along. We had been talking about a tour initially anyways. So that’s how it how all kind of just manifested into what it is now,” he said. “We are meeting with several artists throughout the different cities and just painting and enjoying our time together as friends. And really enhancing one another and the surrounding communities.”
To Crow, creating murals are more than just painting on walls. It’s about creating community and building family. Along with Werc on the tour are his partner Irene Castruita and young daughter Galaxy. They give him the love and inspiration needed to help be creative. And, after long hours of slinging paint on walls, it’s good to relax in the arms of the people you love.
The mural in Barrio Logan is the second mural that they’ve done on the exact same spot. Seven years ago Crow, Werc and fellow graf artist Maxx Moses painted there together. Over the years since the mural they originally did together ended up in a state of disrepair. With permission from the building’s owner they decided to paint a new mural over the old one. Each of them getting one third of the space with Werc on the left, Maxx Moses in the middle and Crow on the right. The three of them have different styles yet somehow the mural flows together as one piece.
“These guys are my brothers. I’ve know Werc since we were in high school. We’re talking 20 plus years ago. Maxx Moses, I met him about 10 years ago. We’ve grown together. This is a very significant piece we are doing as brothers. Everything is gelling where it needs to be. The artists involved, the space, the community, the people involved. Everything is aligned quite nicely,” says Crow regarding his artistic brethren.
I asked him how does it feel to paint again in Chicano Park, in Barrio Logan? He responded by proudly stating, “This place is very special for me. When I moved out here ten years ago this is a place where the community adopted me. I met the veteran muralists and the Chicano Park Steering Committee people and the community in general. They were very welcoming to me. So any time I’m here it’s just very sacred for me. It feels very good for me coming back to paint again, especially a mural that Maxx Moses and Werc and I painted seven years ago and painting over it. It’s very significant for my growth. The piece itself is about our ancestors and paying homage to them. So its a perfect place and time for me to do a piece like that in the Chicano Park area.”
Crow and his partner Irene are like family to me. During a difficult moment in my life they stood by me unconditionally when others didn’t. I will always be grateful for that. I’m also grateful for what they bring together. Crow’s work has evolved tremendously since their relationship began and grew even more with the birth of Galaxy. They are the light that allows his art to shine. And I am happy to bask in the glow of his artwork every time I step outside my apartment and look across the way.
I wish them well on their tour. This past week they’ve been in Highland Park in Los Angeles and are working their way north. For the most part they are doing this tour on their own but they have been seeking donations to help mitigate their costs. They have a Spray It Forward Campaign where you can donate spray cans and money in exchange for some cool stuff. If interested in contributing a donation that helps beautify the west coast hit Crow up at firstname.lastname@example.org and help them spray it forward.