The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak:

Since 2010, the annual urban art festival, Santurce Es Ley, has been gracing the walls of the downtown San Juan district of Santurce, revitalizing it with dozens of distinctive works by local and global street artists. Here are several that I came upon on my recent visit:

London native D*Face and Puerto Rican artist Bik Ismo


Puerto Rican native Abey Charron

Abey-Charron -street-art-Puerto-Rico

The Puerto Rican Collective El Basta


West Coast – based Zio Ziegler


Puerto Rican Collective Morivivi


French artist Seth GlobePainter


Puerto Rican artist David Zayas (top) and Buenos Aires-based Pastel


All photos by Houda Lazrak

Note: Hailed in a range of media from the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Based in Argentina where he shares a studio with artists Jaz and Ever, Pastel recently participated in the urban arts festival, Los Muros Hablan, here in NYC.  His splendid mural in the South Bronx is representative of his distinct aesthetic, which fuses his passions and talents for architecture, painting and muralism.  I had the opportunity to speak to him briefly last month before he returned to his native Buenos Aires.

When did you first get up in a public space?

When I was 14 or 15, I began tagging in my Buenos Aires neighborhood with markers that I made from tampons and tar. But then when I broke my knee playing soccer and I could no longer dream of playing professionally, I began painting walls. That was in 2002.

Have you a formal art education?

I studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires.

But you aren’t working primarily as an architect these days; are you?

No, I don’t like the structure of business, and I don’t see the need for more construction in cities.  There are too many buildings already.


What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Almost all of my time. About 20% is devoted to architecture, but I would like to devote 100% of it to my own art.

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

Living my life as an artist.  In Argentina, it’s way expensive and uncertain.

I suppose that’s the life of an artist anywhere! How does your family feel about what you’re doing now?

At the beginning they didn’t understand it; now they love it.


Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I like both, and they’re both different experiences. I especially love collaborating with Elian. We just look at each other, and we know! A real symbiosis. Our styles are different, but we can fuse them to create one image. Two paintings become one.

What is your ideal working environment?

I grew up in the city, and I love it, but I probably prefer being away from the city. Maybe in a tropical space.

Do you work with a sketch, or do you just let it flow?

I begin with a sketch and progress to a watercolor.  I then paint on a canvas and finally on a wall. I try to use the wall as the final stage of a study.


Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

I try to be, but I’m never quite. There are always things to improve.

How has your work evolved through the years?

It’s changed radically. It’s far more conceptual these days with a philosophical mix. I need to have a concept behind the painting. I don’t paint just to paint. I need the work to tell something

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this?

It’s the new Jesus. You need to trust in somebody or something.


What about the photographers and bloggers?

I love them. They’re essential. We need them.

Is there much of a graffiti/street art divide in Buenos Aires?

They are two different worlds, but we all get along.

What’s ahead?

More painting, more new projects and loving more and more what I do.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; first photo of Pastel in the South Bronx by Lois Stavsky; following two photos of Pastel in Buenos Aires and final two of Pastel in Atlanta, Georgia, courtesy of the artist.


From August 19 – August 25, Los Muros Hablan, an international urban arts festival, gave a voice to silent, empty walls in East Harlem and the South Bronx. Presented by La Repuesta, a leading Puerto Rican cultural space, Los Muros Hablan NYC, featured a wonderfully eclectic group of global artists.

Axel Void, 201 East 103rd Street in East Harlem

Axel Void

Pastel, 138 Street & Grand Concourse in the South Bronx — close-up from huge mural captured via instagram


Celso Gonzalez and Roberto Biaggi, 54 East 116th Street in East Harlem

Celso Gonzales and Roberto Biaggi

Viajero, 2022 Third Avenue in East Harlem



Rimx,154 East 100th Street, as seen in progress last week


Betsy Casañas, 1664 Park Avenue in East Harlem

Betsy Casanas

LNY, 195 East 100th Street in East Harlem


Jufe, 2018 Third Avenue in East Harlem


Elian138 Street & Grand Concourse in the South Bronx


Photos by Dani Mozeson & Lois Stavsky; keep posted to our Facebook page for more images of the completed murals from this week-long Los Muros Hablan NYC event presented in collaboration with Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and El Museo del Barrio.