Interviews | el_hier | 03-11-2020

Elier, artistically known as El Hier, is an artist originally from Ciudad de Mexico who has been passionate about painting since he could remember. The artist grew up drawing and has lived both the world of illegal and legal graffiti. Since he was 13 years old, he has been experiencing the world of graffiti, starting, together with friends from his neighborhood, with the '' tagging '' technique. From tagging, he went to the bomb style and, from the walls of his neighborhood to the subway cars.
You can find him painting on the street, or also on Wallspot as el_hier and his Hardcore graffiti on Instagram @tresd_elta.

Could you describe your first contact with the art world? When did you decide to start experimenting with urban art?

I dedicated myself to illegal graffiti from my thirteens to eighteens approximately, experimenting with tagging style, bomb, drips… I was very into it, but I was the only one from my crew that was practicing it since everyone was painting legally, asking for walls, while I was meeting new people that also had my interests.
However, the school, my workplace, and other activities started pushing me away from painting illegally, as I used to do it very early in the morning and I had to go to school and later to work and, even though I was willing to do it, my body could not stand it.
Up to this point, I started drawing legal sketches, intending to paint just the weekend with my lifelong friends.
My crew’s painting style was 3D lettering. It was difficult for me to change from the fat cap styling to the punto verde, and from the dirty strokes to the clean straight lines but, with practice, constancy, and willingness to see your finished work, the effort was completely worth it.

How would you define your style?

I think everyone has a unique style, as much as you copy someone or someone copies you, or learn the same technique, one is always printing his/her essence. On my artworks, I try to project, dedication, cleanliness, and effort in every one of my walls. Those are the characteristics that base my style.
To sum up: Graff- Hardcore!

How do you think the fact of transferring art to urban spaces contributes to society?

The idea of bringing graffiti to a specific area, unfortunately, only benefits a small part of society, specifically to legal graffiti artists and people who put aside prejudices and appreciate this work.

But nothing else, society is bothered by graffiti until they paint its portal or its facade, enough with that to qualify anyone who paints with a spray as a "vandal" or even a "criminal".
For things like these, unfortunately the fact that graffiti can bring something good will never be fully accepted.
This, seen from a social point, already within or being part of the movement, I can say that painting on urban spaces it makes you interact with very talented people, with whom you can learn and share techniques, knowledge ... Also places like this give you the freedom that you can express yourself in a different way than usual, and of course, by publicizing your work on social networks, you automatically send the message to whoever sees it, that there is a site dedicated 100% to talent and expression free within your city, thus motivating more people to know these places and participate in the environment.

Do you think there is a conflict between urban art and graffiti?

I don't see it as a conflict between ones and others, the problem is that there are so many of us for so little space and we all want to paint; I’ve always said it, the street belongs to nobody, there are those who invest money and a lot of time in their work, and then those who do it in less quantity. I respect everyone's work, but there are times when you stick to a wall all day and in a few hours your work is gone.
It is very difficult to organize ourselves, even with platforms like Wallspot, there will always exist the ones that will break the rules, but hey, it is what it is.

You are an active user of the platform. Have you observed or missed any feature that could be added or changed?
I think it’s a very good platform with a tremendous initiative!
Ideas like JAMS are good because it makes you see the talent of those who use the platform. I don't know how far Wallspot can go, or with which public institutions it can work together to give better promotion to both artists and these places that are a nest of urban talent. I am talking about intensive courses taught by artists from the platform, I am talking about art galleries of Wallspot artists exhibiting their work, of works for public and private institutions to improve their facades, or that Wallspot strives to be the platform that gives a new image to the patios of all the Barcelona’s schools with works made by artists from the platform ...
Many ideas are flying that have to be landed, there is a lot of work to be done, but there is also a lot of desire and many hands that are willing to paint a better Barna.
See you on the streets!