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This September, we took a trip to San Jose, Costa Rica to film and photograph what we thought we knew of their street art... #TheArtistProfile – Ministra Crew (San Jose, Costa Rica)

This September, we took a trip to San Jose, Costa Rica to film and photograph what we thought we knew of their street art scene. Little did we know that we would find loads of color, creativity, personality, and style nested in what some would call a “tourist country”. San Jose, a city filled with its scenery of mountains and lush green countryside, is also a new hub for the sub-culture we love known as Street Art.

From the moment we stepped off the plane, checked through customs, and hailed a cab, we could see throw-ups, tags, and burners from some of the city’s most notable crews, many of whom we will feature in our upcoming exhibit “La Ciudad De Color De”. After checking in the hotel and dropping our bags, we decided to waste no time and head out into the streets. By chance, we ran into David and Andres (We met Sabrina later on the trip) working on a mural near one of the city’s beautiful parks. We stopped with them to have a few words.

What is the title of the Mural? (Pictured)

“The Baboon”.

What inspired you to create this image for public consumption?

The idea is to create a strong image in every way, big size with alarming color contrast, a direct image so people can get identify with.

What does the image mean to the city of San Jose? What does it mean to you as an artist?

In reality, we don’t know what does it means for the people but the reaction, in general, is good, although the image is a little bit stronger, the development and the aspect made the people get to identify with, especially older people.

What inspired you to start drawing/painting?

David: I do not remember is something that I have been doing since I got the memory, my uncle impulse me he was my mentor.

Andres: Since I was in school but I never pay attention, it was for fun but I start doing it more seriously since I start with Ministra.

Could you tell us some more about your work?

The idea have been always to have fun, in the beginning, it appears as a form of some nice time spent together. With time it becomes a way to break the scheme to do something different. In terms of urban art, it’s in Costa Rica where most images have a forward-graffiti aesthetic or social content. We try to work more in terms of aesthetics and transgression, to create strong feelings both the content and the execution of our works. With the passage of time, we also try to include the issue of size create bigger images but the idea is always breaking, hit, transgress and attack the view that while people like or not, they are forced to see it.

What other interests do you have outside of creating art?

Science, Work in Health Management, The Human Mind, Music, Technology, Cycling, and sports.

What is the contrast between the intent of your work and the perception of your work?

Well, like many things, people always try to find meaning in art. When we are painting the first thing people ask is “What does that mean?”. We really do not paint with a specific message, we like to create an image and see the people’s reaction, at the end the meaning that we give to it does not matter, what matters is the impact and the meaning that it gives to the people in general. So even though the contrast is large between what we intend and what people perceive is not negligible, on the contrary, we love that contrast.

How do you decide between using color or black and white?

It is usually more fun to work with color, often work monochromatic techniques but always keeping at least one color other than white. Other times we work with more complex palettes. Between the 3 of us we discuss a lot but at the same time contribute to the process so the result most of the time is unexpected in terms of the application of color or composition of the work.

How important is it to remain true to yourself and your individual vision as an artist?

It is the most important of all. It’s something we talk a lot between us, we always try to be clear as a group that our art is not meant to be true to others or sold. From the beginning, our artistic proposal was quite contrasted with what you see in general in our country. We try to keep the same direction despite others covering our work. We had some customers who want us to do something that was not our style or want us to be part of some guild or artistic groups, but because everything comes out of our pockets, sometimes it’s hard to not be tempted to get money for jobs that do not interest us. But we have learned to be firm and say NO and to always represent our principles and inner values.

How does, or should, the word “passion” relate to an artist?

For us and especially in terms of absolute dedication, we can spend hours without food, days without sleep, and no rest, while we are painting, is a kind of addiction, art is what we put first in our lives.

What is your favorite piece of art?

It is hard, but there are many to name a few; “Portrait of Isabel Porcel” by Francisco Goya and Mural by Etam Cru “Woman Inside of a Jar of Strawberries”.

What other artists inspire your craft?

Andres: A lot but the very first one is an Industrial Band called Ministry, Primus, Etam cru, Aryz, Zoltron, etc. etc.

David: Well I can say, Primus, Ministry, Tool, King Crimson, Buckethead, Skinny Puppy, Less Claypool as an individual musician, Zoltron industries, Banksy, Obey, Nychos, Alex Grey, Steven Cerio, Salvador Dali, my tattoo artist Alex Nuñez and Clowns in general.

Some people look at Graffiti as a non-artistic form of expression, how do you feel about graffiti and its difference to traditional art?

In reality about graffiti as an art form is something that we like even though is not our favorite, we like more murals made not as a legal form but not oriented on tags, what we like is to make images, the big difference and the great achievement of the graffiti and street art, in general, are summarized in two things, the scale in abducting and spaces for personal purposes

How would your life change if you were no longer allowed to create art?
Would be a possibly serious total disaster as a kind of terminal illness to live without making art.

If your art could be displayed anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
That is hard to say because we want the whole world to know and see our art. We would like to travel around the world painting all the buildings and walls that we can. Choosing one place will be like trying to stop MINISTRA and we don’t want that.

If you could meet any artist: past, present, or future, who would it be and why?
Screaming Jay Hawkins. He would be like a father to us. Also, Less Claypool, he is so creative and his music is a big influence on our daily lives.

Where do you see Street Art in San Jose in 5 years?

At this time there is a strong movement and more professional artists every day. It’s probably going to be a city all painted and colorful. No idea if the festivals will be as great as in other parts of the world but definitely going to be a benchmark of quality street art in the region here and many of the artists will be present at international festivals.

Where can fans view your work? / Instagram: MinistraMinistra

Badir McCleary Editor in Chief

Badir McCleary is an independent consultant. He holds a M.A. in Arts Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art (Los Angeles/London) where he focused on creating art markets and with an undergraduate degree in Internet Computing from Cabrini University focusing on e-commerce and digital trends. Badir enjoys working with artists and consider them crucial to informing his practice.

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