Inside Studio with YESCKA

Interview with local street artist in Mexico City.
Tell us where you are from and where you grew up. 
I was born in Mexico City, but most of my life I’ve lived in Oaxaca. I live now in DF in the neighborhood of Condesa. 
How old were you when you first started experimenting with street art? 
I was 15 years old when I first picked up a spray can and started painting, doing tags and wildstyle pieces.
What was some of the energy you wanted release through your creations? 
In 2006 I began to get more involved with different social movements.  During this time I began to create images that represented social struggle and protest.  It was this type of awareness I wanted to show to the public through my paintings. 
Tell us how life in Mexico has inspired some of the content of your art.
Right now the political and social crisis in Mexico has served as a trigger and inspired me to do more critical art.  I feel that this is necessary in order to express the events of constant corruption and state violence, which somehow should be reflected through art in the streets.  I think it is human nature to express one self about the environment one is living in.  For me it is art that becomes a critical tool in human transformation.  
Besides paint what other types of materials do you like to work with? 
I consider myself to be a versatile artist.  I think creative people should not be limited in terms of techniques and materials.  In order for an artist to be complete they can’t have any limit on their creativity. 
Was there ever a time when you got in trouble for painting outdoors? 
Well whenever you paint on the street it is a risk, you have to worry about the police and people.  If it is legal some people who don’t like it may bother you as well.  However I prefer the illegal way, the public spaces belong to us and they are not just for large corporations and political parties.
Who are some people that have inspired your art? 
I get the most inspiration out of the Mexican muralist Alfaro Siqueiros.  I also like the work of Banksy. 
What kind of artists are currently making an impact on the street art scene in Mexico City? 
In Mexico City there are many artists who are visible on the streets.  The best know are Saner, Curiot, Smith One, Sego, Seher, Free, Mazalt, and Fusca. 
Which countries have you painted in besides Mexico? 
I have painted in Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, Germany, Sweden, USA, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland.  I always try to go outside of the country to see the perspective from other cultures.  This allows me to have more strength behind my ideas about art the type of people I want to see it. 
What new projects are you working on now? 
Well right now I am preparing for a trip to Lampedusa, Italy to work with migrants and then I plan on traveling to Germany to paint a mural.
Do you like to collaborate with other artists on projects? 
I love working with different artists, you learn a lot and the results are amazing. The most important thing is to share ones creativity.  Whenever I travel I always try to hook up with local artists who have a sense of what is going on in the neighborhood. 
What is the funniest situation that has ever happened to you? 
I have many stories, but one of my favorites is when I went to paint in the Tocorón jail in Maracay, Venezuela.  It was a very fun experience, because the prison is very different from the regular ones I know.  It is like a small town, surrounded by a huge wall with no police and is controlled by the local Mafia boss.  He was the one that asked us to do a few pints in there. It was fun interacting with all the people in there, because inside there are all kinds of things, nightclubs, bars, beer, restaurants but still it is a prison with its own rules and own economy. The moment I most remember was when I was there when the alarm sounded and the prisoners ran everywhere.  I got very scared because I did not know what was happening and I wanted to hide.  I was told to continue to paint and I was like but look what is happening. It turned out it was just a shift change and they needed to change weapons and caregivers.  At the end of the painting they took us to a restaurant in the prison where they explained to us the system of the prison and how they have their own type of government and rules.  It was a great experience knowing that such places exist in the world. 
Do you think your art has made an impact on other people’s lives? 
I think that art is really important for humanity.  In the case of my work I always try to generate a dialogue with people that is why I use many images that people recognize.  I try to change their point of view of this image and then they are able to have a discussion or debate about the concept that I am presenting to them.  When ever this interaction occurs I can tell that my work fulfills its human function. 
How are local artists using street art to make their voices heard? 
Well I think that most of the street performers are focused on aesthetic, and not everyone has a social discourse, but for me is more important about the content and dialogue which political art can offer. I feel it has more of a human input and is more natural. A lot of these artists have committed money to social causes. I feel the need to be more responsible and aware of our work and know how to bring more humanity into the industry of our work. Because if we do not question our work then we are contributing to the destruction of our own species. 
If given a choice would you change anything different in your life? 
I think I'm happy with my life, but sometimes I wish I had not taken the red pill in the matrix. Sometimes being aware of the reality is very raw and hard, and it is also even worse when you realize that people are still sleeping.