Antonio "Chico" Garcia
If you've ever visited New York City's Lower East Side, the Bronx, or Spanish Harlem, more than likely you've been exposed to Chico.
Like many graffiti artists, Chico started out spray-painting subway cars in the early 80's. His career as a graffiti writer is a true inspiration from once being chased by cops to now, being awarded by them. Chico was born and raised in the Lower East side where he still currently resides. At the earliest memories the community began to recognize Chico's work as he began to "dress up" his neighborhood with bright, contemporary renderings on the sides of buildings and playgrounds. In areas often plagued by drugs and violence, his murals tend to be socially conscious and uplifting. Through the years, Chico has been arrested, shot, stabbed and yet nothing has stopped his passion to create striking messages that alert the community and arise inspiration. Chico never wears a mask when he works, people say; the noxious krylon fumes have made him insane. His passion and drive is still and has always been in driving force. No one can remember a time when the neighborhood wasn't one big gallery of his work. Chico believes it's important to try and help people through his art.
He has developed both an underground and mainstream following over the years. Local businesses hire him to create anything from storefronts to advertisements. There is at least one bar or store on every block that Chico has touched in the Lower East Side. There have been many people from the community that come to Chico to put up memorials for the dead. One of his most recent memorials was just created in January 2006, for Nixzmary, who was brutally beaten and murdered by her parents. His murals also include world icons such as the Pope, Celia Cruz, and Selena. People choose Chico because his work responds to emotional issues. His work transmitters feeling and enlightens the community as well as passerbys about the current issues in today's society.
Chico's fame has brought him to many places in the world. He was commissioned in 1992 by a London Jean company to spray paint a mural in Picadilly Circus to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death. His influence on the art world has also been witnessed in such places as Japan, when he constructed a backdrop of NYC for a popular television show, as well as a project he worked on for Nike while he was there. In Amsterdam his work was viewed at the Nova Gallery. He also created a peace mural for the American Ambassador in Italy, and in NYC he was commended for his work when he received the "Token to the City" award. Some of his work has even madeit to the big screen debut in movies such as "Blackout" a Columbia pictures film that was released in summer 1994. Also in the movie "Rent" which was released in December of 2005. Every great artist must eventually, at some point, go through struggles to rise to the top and Chico has proven his worth as an artist, who will go through great lengths to represent his community.
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