He is the anti-thesis of the traditional artist who had studied the works of the masters. For Portuguese muralist AKACorleone, his success in the art world sparked from his talent for graffiti—a notorious activity often attributed to recklessness and youth, and generally regarded as illegal.
Born Pedro Campiche, this self-described gangster wannabe believes that bending the rules and exercising a bit of lawlessness can lead to something great. After all, he became an illustrator, graphic designer, and muralist while giving credit to graffiti as the best training he has ever had.
Campiche brought the art he developed from the streets and subways of Lisbon to Manila and impressed his audience at the first-ever mural festival in the country, Art BGC One at the Bonifacio Global City.
Sitting down with The Manila Times, he recalled, “I went to college for graphic design and I think it taught me 10 percent of what I know now, while graffiti taught me 90 percent.”
Having said that, he declared that he has no qualms recommending the prohibited act to anyone who would like to get into street art and muralism.
“It’s a really nice place to step into muralism because you learn with yourself or from watching others. And there’s this kind of risky situation or problem [you will encounter]with the law, [but]it’s something that will help you grow,” Campiche opined.
He backed up his claim as he said that most of the day’s prolific street artists began doing graffiti. In a way, this common transition has even helped shape the landscape of street art.
“I think graffiti is more helpful than harmful because nowadays public art usually comes from graffiti. I think muralism and street art wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for the bad brother that is graffiti.”
Though a muralist himself, AKACorleone believes that the genre falls short on the freedom and thrills that “writing on walls” gives an artist. Murals after all are generally created with permission or by invitation with a set of guidelines, which Campiche further believes to be “limiting.”
“Graffiti has no rules in that sense,” he brought his point home.
“Something I really like to do is buy cans and spend an afternoon without trying to come up with something beautiful to post on Instagram that people will like. I just go out there and have fun. Muralism, although amazing, puts some pressure on you, while graffiti is a lot more free and is just about yourself.”
Lest he be misinterpreted, Campiche wants to make it clear that he is aware that graffiti “is illegal and should [remain]illegal.” And even though the activity is a free-for-all creative outlet for rule breakers, there are still certain boundaries that should be observed out of respect. For example, he never painted over someone else’s work or defaced church walls.
“At the end of the day, graffiti is not supposed to be on galleries but it can grow into something bigger. Eventually, that’s when you step into community and start doing your art for others,” he ended.