Art Crimes

Page 2
How & Nosm
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: Do you miss that part of Europe? How easy it is to travel?
Nosm: Yes... no not really. I've travelled a lot. If you meet people from Europe they've been to at least 5 countries, because everything is so small and close together. It's all one family.
We did the same thing in South America. People in Columbia introduced us to people in Peru. It's cool.

AC: What did you think of South America?
Nosm: The first time we went to South America was to Argentina. Met with a lot of people there. We painted a lot there. There's a nice system there.

AC: Is it easy to paint there?
Nosm: Walls, they don't really care about. We thought it would be really messed up there. Argentina is the richest country in South America. So when we got there we thought it looked like Spain, like Barcelona. They have halls of fame on the back of houses and no one cares. They say, "Oh nice art!"
Recently we went to the poorer section of South America, to Bogata. It was way different. Really dirty. We saw this ghetto that was crazy. Two, three feet high garbage everywhere. No windows in the houses. It was really big. Little kids are dirty, with no clothes and begging.
We went to one store, a shop, I don't know. We were with somebody. This guy was trying to organize a wall. He said we couldn't take pictures, but he knew someone in there. So we went into this one shop, there were crazy drugs in there.

AC: Cocaine?
Nosm: Yes, everything. There was a milkcrate full of weed. No one was even looking at it, because weed is nothing there.
I was scared to even look around, being white and clean. Everyone was looking at us. And we understand everything they're saying, and they don't know we understand.
My boy hooked up with one of the bosses. He said that we had to paint a character on his store. But it didn't look like a store. But we didn't have colors, and I didn't really want to paint for him there. I just wanted to do a quick silver piece and get out.
He said "No, first you have to paint this character. Then you can paint that wall."
So my brother says, "We'll give you $5".
"What am I going to do with $5?...Wait US dollars? Let me see."
So my brother gets the money out and another guy comes up and says, "I want to get paid, too."
So the boss says, "No, this is me. Come with me. You can paint there, but you have to be quick. How long are you going to paint?"
"Five minutes."
So while we're painting he was there watching out behind our backs. To make sure we don't get robbed or jumped. I'm painting and I'm feeling it. I looked back and the whole village is out there, mad people. Some people with no clothes. We had a bag with our camera in it, and we're thinking were going to get robbed. And people are going crazy with the commotion, yelling and snapping, saying this and that. So the guy tells us we have to get out of there.
So we left and the next day from far away we were taking pictures. Other people come along and said, if they see you here they're going to crack your head.
When we left there the military police stopped us, because they want to know what a white boy is doing in there. So we say that we're just looking, and they put us up against the wall. Everybody goes in there to buy drugs. The guy we were with had a little weed on him, but they didn't care about that.
In Columbia every day we painted. Even when we had permission the cops would stop us. But then when we did a character, they changed and said, "Ok, that's something different." But when you start buffing the wall they start, "No, no."
They do a lot of roller political stuff, which is illegal there. So they ask what we're going to do and we had to tell them, "Nothing political, nothing religious." And that's okay. They ask you who you know and you just tell them that you have permission and they don't bother you.
Peru is the same. We were painting in a hall of fame and I asked my boy if it's okay. He said not to worry. A couple of days later we go back to do another wall and next thing I'm sitting on the back of a police pickup truck. We had to push the pickup because it wouldn't start. They tell us to get out because the truck never starts.

AC: But they have guns?
Nosm: Always. They always have machine guns. They don't shoot plastic bullets, they shoot the real thing.
Bolivia was the same thing. You walk through the streets and you will definitely be stopped. We walked past one cop and he asked for a passport. We told him that we're not giving him our passport. So he starts screaming about security. He calls over another guy and he tells that we have to show them, that it's for our security. And they start asking us about what we were doing there, where we were staying, where are you going? We told him that it wasn't any of their business. So they wanted to take us, so I showed him my ID. They wrote down the number, we walk another half a block and we get stopped again.
They didn't want money. Perhaps it was because of the September 11th attack. At night you don't see a single cop.

AC: Did you paint at night?
Nosm: In Bogata and Peru we did mainly productions. And silver pieces you could do in the day time. I asked someone and they said, "Yes, yes. Paint, paint."
Bogata we just did silver pieces.

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