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Acamonchi has been active in the underground Tijuana/Ensenada art scene since the 1980s. 2006 Strange New World: Art and Design from Tijuana exhibition--a show at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art --has recently pushed Acamonchi closer to the mainstream art world, but the artist isn't letting the attention change him.
Behind the playful Acamonchi moniker is a very grounded and clever 38-year-old artist named Gerardo Yépiz. Yépiz is just a regular guy living a modest, vegan and gluten-free lifestyle in North Park. He just happens to be obsessed with art and creation.
Yépiz paints, stencils, stamps, spray paints, screenprints and hand-draws his work onto large and small wood panels. He works an average of 12 hours a day in his tiny North Park studio, filling each piece with layers and layers of symbols and texture. Each figure, stamp, line and image reflects the bicultural world in which he lives. Looking at an Acamonchi piece is like traveling through time, space and countries.
Your eye bounces from an obscure reference to Aphex Twin to Tijuana's zebra-painted donkey to Stormtroopers and back to an image of an old Mac or a drawing of his favorite image, the tree stump, which he says represents broken dreams. Everything, every little detail that Acamonchi puts into each piece has meaning. There's always something hidden, he explains, untold stories in my work: little things here and there that you'll eventually see or understand as time goes by.
Gerardo Yepiz launched the first Mexican Mail Art website in 1995, His
downloadable stencils revolutionized how a generation of young
artists, from Mexico City to Tijuana, used street installation and
graffiti as a critical forum. Known as Acamonchi, a slang term for
piggyback riding in northern Mexico, Yepiz adopted the strategies of
street art as the starting point for his fine art while also
distinguishing himself as a graphic designer working with clients on
both sides of the border including the Nortec Collective, MTV, Reebok,
Vans, Adidas, Pepsi, Warner records, Tribal Gear and Obey Giant. Like
his moniker, which, he explains "doesn't really mean anything, it's
just a dumb, silly sounding word," he uses humor to create graphic
works of art that probe serious political and cultural issues. As he
describes it, "poster illustrations or stickers are common resources
of visual communication; in the hands of Acamonchi, and in combination
with graffiti tactics, they become veritable terrorist instruments,
and the activity becomes a kind of cultural sabotage."
Acamonchi began hus career in the mid-1980s as part of a
cross-cultural underground scene in southern California and northern
Mexico that was heavily influenced by fanzines and the skateboard-punk
countercultures. Music developed his political awareness, and the
history of Fluxus inspired his passion for Mail Art. His early work
focused on images of the Mexican television host Raul Velasco and
assassinated presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio. According to
Acamonchi, Velasco represents the mindless entertainment provided by
the Mexican media. He describes Colosio-shot on live television in
1994, during a campaign rally in Tijuana -as the Mexican equivalent to
John F. Kennedy. Colosio's face is a poignant reminder of political
corruption and Tijuana's notorious outlaw reputation. Acamonchi makes
his point, however, with ridiculous images of Colosio n a cosmonaut
helmet, Colosio crossed with Colonel Sanders, and a "Blaxploitation"
Colosio just to name a few.
Recently, Acamonchi has focused his attention on painting. His densely
layered panels and murals integrate his signature street graphics
-posters, stencils, and graffiti -into abstract fileds of color. In
this new work, Acamonchi experiments with painterly techniques using
aerosol paint, ink pens, and more traditional pigments, Althought his
explorations are clearly inspired by street art, his distinctive
visual statements are something new. "Post-graffiti Art," as this kind
of art was called when graffiti artists first began to show in
galleries in the 1980s, does not encompass Acamonchi's strong affiliation with street art radicalism, and articulate his serious
painterly intent. Once again, Acamonchi is inspiring his colleagues as
he explores new forms of expression.
Rachel Teagle Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
ACAMONCHI art studio
ACAMONCHI ART STUDIO
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TestimonialsWrite a testimonial
Acamonchi lives and creates by example. There is no separation between his creations & actions, and his feelings about art, food, spirituality, and life. But he does not preach to those around him. Rather, his influence is felt naturally in the everyday. Simply put in his own wise words, "everyone finds truth on its ow… Read more
Acamonchi lives and creates by example. There is no separation between his creations & actions, and his feelings about art, food, spirituality, and life. But he does not preach to those around him. Rather, his influence is felt naturally in the everyday. Simply put in his own wise words, "everyone finds truth on its own."Read less
he rocks! and thats it.
I've been a fan of the Tijuana piggy back riders for about 9 yrs. It started with one picture of a guy in a box with the volume turned down, then I searched for everything associated with acamonchi. I love it! viva la acamonchi!