Bufón: “Art belongs to the elite, graffiti to the streets”.

The Chilean graffiti writer, Bufón Pinta, told throwup magazine about his long militancy in the graffiti culture. From painting with his father some political murals against Pinochet’s dictatorship to sharing his talent, passion and vision around the world.

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Hi mate! let’s start with the ritual question… Where are you from? How did you choose the name Bufonpinta? Is there any meaning behind?

Hi, I am from Chile andI live in a city in the northern part of the country called Antofagasta. Bufón has been my tag for 23 years. I chose it because I’ve always liked to make people laugh and also ‘cause when I was at the school I performed for a role and since that day people used to call me Bufón.

When and how did you approach the Graffiti Culture? Which are your first memories?

In 1986 I started to go to the streets with my father to paint political slogans against the dictator Augusto Pinochet. Then I kept painting by myself and I met some Hip-Hop friends in 1994. We used to listen to “Panteras Negras”, “Tiro de Gracia” and my trips to Santiago de Chile made me belong to this culture.

Have you been inspired by any local or international artists? Did you face any graffiti evolution in your country over the years?

Oswaldo Guayasamin from Ecuador, Zekis from Chile. Beside Chile, Os Gemeos AyS from Santiago, Jovenko from Antofagasta, 3Host from Santiago, Lo from Brazil, Can2 from Germany, Loomit from Germany, Vitche from Brazil and Cope2 from USA. They were the first graffiti artists I saw when I started. Now I think that my inspiration are those friends who paint restlessly around the world. Some of them are in Bolivia, Brazil, Perú, Chile, Germany, Italy etc. What really inspired me is the fact that they live for graffiti and the evolution of this is insight into our country ready to take the walls and keep going with the Hip-hop style.

When you firstly approached graffiti was it difficult to get information about this world? Where did you find the spray cans? Was it easy to find people with this mutual passion?

Here in my city (Antofagasta) my friend 3host came one day with a spray can and a fat cap. The spray can was the first thing I saw. Until 2010, graffiti spray can brands were not available here, so we used to paint with brushes, paint rollers and common spray can brands. There are so many people who paint but only a few share the same kind of passion, so it has been very hard to get enough resources to keep painting.

Tell us something about your artistic evolution over the years. Do you have an idea on the total number of walls, trains,…. made since the start? Which is the concept and the process behind your character? Is there any link between your daily life?

My evolution means to persevere until I can live with the graffiti made across the country and around different cities like Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Miami, Lima, Cochabamba, Madrid, Berlin, Wiesbaden, Dresden, Milan, Prague, Buenos Aires, La Paz, Quito, Vilabamba, Toronto etc. Travel opened me a door to progress, I learned and met different graffiti artists. In almost 25 five years I lose count about how many times I’ve painted my character. He obviously goes together with my history, my path, the things I want to express. My life and my mind are linked to this character, my concepts are hip-hop, travels and experiences.

Most of your work refers to social and political conditions. Which message would you like to convey through the noble art of graffiti?

A real message about social injustice, the power abuse, violence and social differences present in our world. I’d like to encourage older generations to share with the younger ones. I have 2 kids and my message for them is that you can live with graffiti and painting but live for yourself. Do not give your life to a company or a system. It doesn’t matter if you come from the poorest hood and you even think you have nothing as there is always a chance to go out and see the world and fight for your dreams.

In your opinion, what do people think about the graffiti world? Is this kind of art truly appreciated?

I think graffiti will always be uncomfortable because of their position in society. Art belongs to the elite, but graffiti belongs to the streets, to the people. Graffiti is appreciated when it is something universal but when it has an opinion it scares them.

Would you like to tell us any experience made over your career? Any fun facts happened alone or with your crew?

When It comes to graffiti, funny things happen. Once I participated in the “Urban Giants”, a big contest in Milan with so many participants, it took me 5 hours to paint a wall and I won 380 Euros.

Would you like to tell us about who you are in daily life and how did you live, on a personal and artistic side, this pandemic situation?

I get up every morning to paint, cook, play games with my kids, clean my home and spend time with my partner. This pandemic situation gave me the chance to sell my paintings via the internet and It has been great.

Do you have any future projects local or abroad? Which advice would you give to some kids approaching the world of graffiti writing?

I want to paint my character in a building in any part of the world. I want an opportunity. I want the kids who get close to graffiti not to drink, not to smoke, to respect everyone and to draw everyday even if the door closes. I want them to keep going and live from this.

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