Speaking with El Niño de las Pinturas

September 2, 2013

Based in Granada, Spain, the wonderfully talented and passionate artist Raúl Ruiz, aka El Niño de las Pinturas, visited NYC earlier this summer. I met up with him at the Bushwick Collective – where he was painting with Rimx – and then caught up with him at 5Pointz, where we spoke briefly.

El Nino de las Pinturas

When did you first get up?

Back in the 90’s. I was 11 when I brought graffiti to my neighborhood in Granada, Spain.  I began the usual way — by tagging and bombing.

What inspired you?

The movie Style Wars introduced the culture to me.

What is the attitude of the authorities in Granada to graffiti?

The government makes it tough. The fines for doing illegal works are excessive. It’s difficult to paint anywhere without the owner’s permission. And even when I had the owner’s permission and he loved what I did, I was forced to whitewash the wall.

How does your family feel about what you do? 

At first, they didn’t like it. They told me to paint only canvases.  But now they take pride in what I do.

El Nino de las Pinturas

Any thoughts about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

It’s okay. We artists need money to live. But when our art is in a gallery, it’s no longer graffiti.  Graffiti is made in the streets for all people to experience. And we we must always remember to respect our masters  — the streets.  The streets are the inspiration and source of it all. If we lose the streets, we lose the way.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Everything I do is art.

Have you a formal art education?

I studied fine arts for a year and a half. But I didn’t need teachers. I have masters — the streets.

Are there any particular cultures that influence your aesthetic?

Granada is a fusion of cultures, so my primary influence is the human culture.  But there are definite Moslem influences to my aesthetic.

What inspires you these days?

Everybody I meet.  And the natural world inspires me, as well. I love animals.

El Nino de las Pinturas and Rimx

Are you generally satisfied with your final piece? 

I am, but when I look at it, I feel like I didn’t create it.

Where have you painted?

Here in the US, I’ve painted in San Francisco, Santa Fe and NYC. I’ve also painted in many other countries. Among them are: Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Germany, Hungary, Belgium and France.

Any favorite place?

I love them all.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

Whatever role society has imposed on the artist — the artist needs to break away from it.

Any thoughts about street art bloggers?

They need to know the artists. Many don’t.

El Nino de las Pinturas and Danielle Mastrion

What about the graffiti/street art divide?

It’s not important. We use the same gallery — the streets. But in some way street art gave legitimacy to graffiti.

What’s ahead?

My art will evolve as I experience more.  And I will continue to develop my own distinct style.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 1. El Niño de las Pinturas at 5Pointz by Tara Murray; 2. with Rimx at the Bushwick Collective by Lois Stavsky; 3. with Rimx in Bedford-Stuyvesant, courtesy Rimx and 4. with Danielle Mastrion in Bushwick by Tara Murray

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Patrick hildreth November 7, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Your art MADE our trip to Grenada. We enjoyed it all over the city – as much as Alhambra if not more. Thank you!


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