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The ‘Full Circle’ of graffiti work in the borderland

Anonymous+artists%2C+Visual+Bluff%2C+presented+their+work+called+%E2%80%9Clife+is+a+trip.%E2%80%9D+
Jose Ivan Favela
Anonymous artists, Visual Bluff, presented their work called “life is a trip.”

Borderland Jam is a yearly event hosted by different street artists in El Paso. “Full Circle” was held at the Toma Gallery, located at 210 Poplar St. The event featured work from many street artists like Anteup, Adie, Aves, Blast, Bonoe Voodoo and many more. The art varied from slaps (stickers), street art, murals and other handcrafted work. Many of the artists come from out of Texas to sell and create their artwork here in El Paso. 

The borderland art event dates back to the early ’90s where it was known as Graffiti Jam. Out of the 400 artists that debuted their artwork at Borderland Jam, 40 were showcased at Full Circle. Many of these artists are pursuing their artwork full-time or part-time. Lots of these artists are also tattoo artists and follow their art in that direction as well. Borderland Jam picked up in 2014 and has continued to allow artists to showcase their work. 

Visual Bluff A.K.A. Voodoo ran the last art show at Toma Gallery. Voodoo started their art career in 2003 and has continued over the past 20 years. The muralist started with graffiti and has grown his art career to gallery art. Voodoo and his significant other DOPL displayed their mural “Life’s A Trip” at the art gallery.   

“I think in the last three years, this has expanded so much because people, I think they actually like it now,” Voodoo said. “Before a lot of people didn’t like it because they see it done with spray paint or the crowd of people that are doing it don’t like them, maybe they think it’s gang related.” 

With the new art scene in El Paso, many street artists are now being recognized for their art. Many artists such as Voodoo do this for a living and with the love of art, people are now seeing them as dedicated artists. 

“I think El Paso has a lot of potential,” Voodoo said. “That’s why we’re trying to do more of this, ’cause this is the rawest artwork that there is really.” 

Lots of the artists at Borderland Jam work on their art on the day of the event. The artwork at Toma Art Gallery is planned but takes a large amount of time to create. 

“There’s a lot of illegal activity but most people stop if they get caught or some type of problem happens, they won’t write graffiti anymore,” Voodoo said. “They’ll go to this, and they’ll start doing murals and gallery stuff, but that’s why I called the show Full Circle because no matter what, you still are always going back to graffiti.” 

Julian Chavez most known as Lady Wolf, came down from Albuquerque, New Mexico to showcase her art at the event. Chavez created the mural “Circus Pinup Girl” on the Frontier Food Warehouse on Cotton Street. She is one of the many artists who have come far to create their artwork on the factory wall. 

“I’ve been doing art for my whole life,” Chavez said. “I’ve been spray painting for two years now.” 

Chavez was selling many of her canvases to customers at Toma Art Gallery. She has been selling her artwork for three years. Her work can be found on Instagram @littlelady_wolf. 

“I love it every year,” Chavez said. “I have such a great (time) at these kinds of events.” 

Many of the customers who stopped by the gallery have also been inspired by street art. Starr Gonzalez is a graffiti artist who has created her artwork in her sketchbook for the last 20 years. 

“I’ve been into this since I was a teenager,” Gonzalez said. “To see it displayed, it’s pretty awesome.” 

Full Circle was a successful art show displayed at the Toma Art Gallery. The diversity in the artwork displayed brought in many art-loving El Pasoans and artists from across the world. The next Borderland Jam will be hosted in 2024. To connect with artists from Borderland Jam, they can be found on Instagram @borderlandjam. 

 

Avery Escamilla-Wendell is the staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]   

 

 

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About the Contributors
Avery Escamilla-Wendell
Avery Escamilla-Wendell, Arts & Culture Editor
Jose Ivan Favela
Jose Ivan Favela, Contributor/Photographer
Jose Ivan Favela is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in nursing. He works as a contributor for The Prospector. Jose is also a freelance and his work has been published in The Juárez Digital website. He plans on pursuing a nursing career while doing journalism on the side.
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The ‘Full Circle’ of graffiti work in the borderland