Expressions of a Mexican Griot

The Jackson family arrived safely back in Long Beach yesterday morning to an empty, echoey house. We setup a few mattresses on the floor and huddled together, because this weather is absolutely freezing! I haven’t felt the lick of seventy degrees in ten months, and let me tell you, after living under a ripe sun and rice-cooking humidity, this is a bit of culture shock. Not to mention the fact that now the world outside our doors is in English, and white people dominate the calles.  Today we are unpacking our two-hundred something boxes of items we stored in the motherland so we can downsize the excess of our lives to- hopefully- less than thirty bags. The life of an expat is the life for me!

Being back in Los Estados Unidos is a mixed bag. Cruising down the eight lane highways with (oh, dear Lord) traffico, all I am able to see is the flashes of the caratera in Playa del Carmen: snug in our gold beater van that may break down at any moment on the two lane road, flanked on either side by encroaching jungle. It is October and the clouds in the thick, black sky are wrenching out their soaked laundry, so our windows our obscured by fat droplets of water. Then I see all the roadsigns are in English with names like Highway 405 and Huntington Beach instead of Muyil and Puerto Morelos, and I am jolted back to reality. I am ecstatic for the upcoming adventures, but my year in Playa has shaped me in a way that not even my months of blogging could completely reveal.

One way Playa has changed me is as an artist. Although I was experimenting with spray paint long before moving to Mexico was even a thought, I have become more mature in my art and have developed more skills, as time always allows, so I am excited to turn back to my primal instinct of street art and whip out some awesome pieces! Here are some of the best pieces and throw ups I documented from the street art culture of Playa. All pictures are taken by me. Gracias a y for your work. Enjoy!

Home Brother
Announcer. Reminds me of the Mexican families who wake everyone up within a 30 mile radius with their advertising quips blasting from beat-up sedans with seven toddlers in the backseat at 6:00 am.
Hear, See, & Speak No Evil
Down by the infamous Mamitas Beach Club where this piece was done, there is a lot of evil-hearing, seeing, and doing. Appropriate public statement for the wild side of Playa.
Sometimes we have a little too much H2o in Playa and we pay the price in moldy belongings, lake-streets, and the inevitable smells of wet-dog. But luckily, lots of precipitation means no hurricane for the year! (Plus, who doesn’t love dancing in the rain?)
I imagine this is what Frida Kahlo looks like in her grave. Still looking’ hot Fri!
Why are women worth more than men? Frida Kahlo’s face adorns the largest bill in Mexico. Can’t argue with that, misogynistic macho Mexicans!
Fish Head View #2
Obviously, this fish has just enjoyed a satisfactory meal.
Fish Head View
Aren’t you hooked on Senkoe? He’s done a little more than just stealing my heart.. He ate it.
Fish Front #2
So, there’s Marlon and Dory in the scene with the death-fish. P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney! (The only address the world knows by heart)
Fish Front
While America runs in beiges and blacks, MEXICO IS WHOOPING IT UP WITH COLOR! Not just literally, but in lifestyle and personality, one of the reasons I fell in love with the world. Only the Americans seem to be afraid of color, as far as my travels tell.
Fish Bones
Fish-Bone Soup? Check.
Doctor, It's A Sick World
Doctor, it’s a sick world.
Diagonal View Street
Although my life is too transient to call any one place “home”, I can call Playa Del Carmen part of my family.
I have ran, walked, and swam by this wall more times than I can count. And yes, the sand is softer than your pillow.
Tourists: this stare-down is for you. Yup, feel intimidated. And back away. Travelers: That little thumbs-up from the cat is for you.
A smite of history: in the 1800s, Teutonic supremacy was a widely accepted “truth” among Europeans and Americans. The white race was believed to the most beautiful since a study conducted found that Caucasians had the most circular skulls, a shape believed to be the most “beautiful” in nature. (Ugh, gringos piss me off sometimes!) Now, please note that the circle in this picture is no where near a perfect circle, which means three things: a) the conceited whites were WRONGO-s; b) things don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, in fact, the beauty is usually in the flaw; and c) that circle is definitely Mexican, since Mexican skulls were slightly less circular than white skulls.



Longterm effects of tequila by nine am.
Arte Urbano
Playa recently passed the mark ranking it from town to city, and is the fastest growing place in Mexico. What was once stone-crafted Mayan glyphs is now “Arte Urbano”.
Apparently there is even an anime culture in Playa. Go Figure.
The robotic eye reminds me of the gated community PlayaCar, which is infamous to people like us who live in the center of town because it a secluded and protected Gringolandia, with large lots and expansive parks. It is rumored that security surveillance is active 24/7. No offense, PlayaCar friends, but that place gives me the creeps!
Maya Man
There are over 3 million Mayans living in the Yucatan alone; it is an ancient culture alive that truly nurtures the roots of Mexico.
Props to you, George Lucas.
Work In Art
Above all, work in art into your daily life.
So this is a Playan’s interpretation of my hometown. (Take note of the “LA” on the left side of this character’s shirt)
Although this piece is older and a little washed out, it still has retained its very unique… tongue factor…
Mayan Jaguar
Another of the innumerable Mayan homages, celebrating the true culture and history of the Mexican Yucatan.
Weed Girl
I’m sure we all have a few interpretations for this one. Nice rasta beanie. Jam on, Marley.
Zombie Boy
Let’s just say he watched a little too much telly. This seems to be a common theme in the graffiti around Playa.

SmarTresMamaRattlesnakeMaster ShifuSkull


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