Internationally recognized for his large and colorful murals, his work can be seen across Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Guatemala, Spain, Germany, the UK, France, Holland, the USA, Austria, Nepal, China, among other countries.

Speak with Stinkfish, Interview  |  27.02.2024  |  By Marion Nestor

Stinkfish creates striking portraits that capture the essence of anonymous passersby and residents of popular neighborhoods. Each of his portraits oscillates between contemporary culture and ancient traditions, embodying what Stinkfish defines as “a mix of tropical wildstyle graffiti and stencil” …

Beijing (Pekin), China | August 2015 | Collaboration with Robbbb (Based ona photo taken at the airport El Dorado // Bogota // Colombia // April 2014)

Chiriyacu – Quito, Ecuador | the Detonarte festival – December 2015 (Based on a photograph taken in Oaxaca, Mexico // october 2014)

Bogotá, Colombia | May 2011

… Stinkfish, although sometimes labeled as “an artist-anarchist”, does not subscribe to such a label, insisting that such characterizations often lead to oversimplifications and overlook many aspects of his work. “We have many facets within ourselves” he asserts. He sees graffiti as a tool for fostering a critical stance toward the world we live in, extending beyond an artistic movement. Consequently, the artist strives for consistency in his work, ideas, relationships and opinions.

“I was captivated by Stinkfish’s work when I discovered his murals on the streets of Bogota in 2016! And it’s really something special today, to have had the opportunity, nearly 10 years later, to conduct this interview; it’s also a great pleasure to share the entry of new limited editions and rare one-off pieces by Stinkfish into the collection of Collectible-Prints.” – Marion Nestor


What drew you to the graffiti culture? Have you been part of a crew or do you still belong to one, and if so, which ones?

Bogotá, Colombia | May 2018 | Collaboration with Zasinha @thegruffwriting

I’ve always liked the streets, walking, getting lost, and discovering new places, observing how the chaos of cities works. And graffiti is just that: walking. Once I got to know graffiti up close, I knew it was the path I wanted to take, one that would allow me to understand the world in a sincere way. I started out with a group of friends, with the legendary Excusado Printsystem group, but also intensely pursuing my individual work. Now I’m part of the Animal Power Culture (APC) crew and also the Bogotano de Corte Institute Project (IBDC).

I was born in Mexico City but have been living in Bogotá (Colombia) since I was 4 years old. I can’t speak much about Mexico City, beyond it being an exciting city with a huge scene of urban art and graffiti. On the other hand, Bogotá is a typical Latin American capital, a fairly large city, chaotic at times, aggressive at others, but one that I understand as my home and where I have built many of my friendships, work, and various projects. Bogotá is my work base and the place where I find time to organize ideas, rest, and disappear from time to time.


Could you tell me about your background, the city you were born and the city where you live?


Can you tell me more about the graffiti scene in Bogotá and how it has evolved over time?

The scene here in Bogotá, despite being young, has grown tremendously. It’s a city where you can paint as much as you want, full of illegal graffiti, legal ones, and all sorts of interventions. Surely, there will come a point of saturation very soon where the game will change radically. For now, we continue to enjoy our own way through the streets of Bogotá.

I see the city of graffiti as one, a kind of global archipelago where we speak the same language on different streets. It’s usually difficult for me to talk about differences between one place and another; I prefer to exalt the power of belonging to a scene united by the passion for painting walls.

Barrio Colombia – Medellin, Colombia | the festival Pictopia – October 2015 (Based on a photograph taken during the protests headed in the trial against sheriff Arpaio due to the systematic violation of the rights of immigrants and Latino community // Phoenix – Arizona, USA // September 2015)


You wrote about the regulation decree for graffiti 075 of the Bogotá district applied in 2013. How do you perceive the evolution of the graffiti movement?

Sabio Valle School – Las Delicias – Intibucá, Honduras | May 2016 (Based on photograph taken at Tijuana // Baja California // México // june 2015)

The experience hasn’t changed at all here in practical terms; my opinion relates more to the manipulation of collective imaginaries about a movement that emerges as a way to emancipate itself, even if only for short periods, from institutional and commercial machinery. I believe it’s important to have an opinion about what to do; graffiti provides you with tools to build a critical sense of the reality you live in, about institutions, legality, and generally about life in this world we share.


Would you explain to us how your portrait selection process goes in the photographs that you take? Which specific aspects that draw your attention?

My work with portraits is related to public space, to the ways of representation on the street, where usually the people depicted are those who pay to be there. The choice of photographs in my work is crossed by anonymity and equality; everyone can be represented in this space, the street. And secondly, it’s important that they are unposed photos, where the moment is real and everyday, where the expression isn’t conditioned. Generally, they are photographs taken on the street, in public places, at a reasonable distance, and of people I don’t know.


Have you ever felt conflicted between business and the respect for your art and the graffiti culture?

I have always understood what I do as my work, independent of financial compensation. I believe that’s why I manage to carry out the projects I want to do, regardless of money. When you understand your work beyond a payment-client relationship, motivation, discourse, and feeling change completely.

Conflict is always present, and it’s important that it exists; without conflict, there is no reflection.


Who are the artists that have inspired you the most over the years?

It is difficult to answer this question because I have very diverse references and influences in my work, not only artists, but musicians, writers, cartoonists. When I was in my teens, ska, punk, and hardcore music became part of my daily life. I think that was the main influence when I called myself Stinkfish. I always prefer to cite my friends as the main influence, with them I share not only a job but experiences through which we all learn.

| Many thanks to Stinkfish for sharing his experience.

© Photo credits Stinkfish

Internationally recognized for his large, colorful murals, his work spans across Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Guatemala, Spain, Germany, the UK, France, Holland, the USA, Austria, Nepal, China, among other countries.

More murals :

Navajo Nation – Arizona, USA | September 2015 | Collaboration with KillJoy & Mazatl for The Desert Painted Project (Based ona photo taken in Boeung Kak // Phnom Penh // Cambodia // march 2015)

Paris, France | June 2018 | @lemuroberkampf (Based on a photograph taken in Xi’an // China // July 2016)

A photograph found on the streets of Shanghai, China | July 2016 | Mural at the National University – Bogota, Colombia | September 2016 | Collaboration with Empty Boy

A photograph found on the Barrio Teusaquillo – Bogotá, Colombia | September 2010 | Mural in the Barrio Santa Fe – Bogotá, Colombia | October 2010

From the portrait Pioneer Girl of Aleksandr Rodchenko (1930)
| Mural in Moscow, Russia | September 2014

Sabio Valle School – Las Delicias – Intibucá, Honduras | May 2016 (Based on photograph taken at Tijuana // Baja California // México // june 2015)

Londres, the UK | July 2011