Baja California is in a very unique area, part of Mexico yet attached to the peninsula of California, this prime spot in between countries makes for a vibrant mix of cultures and styles, a perfect breeding ground for street artists. Here you will find art that embodies the mix of both the US and its neighbour to the south perfectly illustrated on murals and throw ups all around the area. With California being a world recognised hub for urban artists such as Mister Cartoon and Saber, it makes sense that the modern culture here would merge with the more classical techniques and themes of Mexican artists. Here are some ways in which this place in between showcases a blend of these two areas.
Many houses and walled areas are decorated with mosaics in classic Mexican style, in fact if you go to just a Mexican themed restaurant you will quickly realise this look is easily identifiable with the country. What you can see in several places around Baja is this type of design being used to create street art images, many different intricate patterns being repeated and altered to create a look that is eye catching, busy and complex. Mixing this with the bold and often slick style of California art creates a very particular style that fits the backdrop of the city well.
In California gang culture is present on street walls in urban neighbourhoods as is sunbathing and surfing along brands which get plastered over the walls in sincere or ironic manners. In Mexico a whole different set of regular activities and recognisable symbols abound. Here celebrations like the Day of the Dead are huge events that almost everyone takes part in, thus representations of these are sprayed onto walls in and around Baja. Happy female skulls, spicy foods and Mexican heroes get huge murals in the styles of emerging California art.
Though California has a diverse landscape, the area that is commonly covered in art is its urban areas. Because of the huge cities that are densely populated here, nature can sometimes seem far away, whereas in Mexico the heritage of living with the land continues to the present generation. As a result, Baja is coated with pictorial representations of beloved plants, fruits and animals that make up day-to-day life in Mexico and have lived alongside people here for hundreds of years. Fun spins on desert animals, cartoon cacti and schools of fish all make up the art environment here as well as the physical one.
As previously mentioned commercialism is one of America’s favourite targets when it comes to street art, as well known faces and logos are skewed to point fun at their creators or show their devious behaviours. Down south however things are much different, as immigration is a constant topic that forever remains on the surface. With violent cartels terrifying villages, corrupt government officials taking charge and all manner of human rights issues, the conversations that street art evokes here becomes wildly different, but where else to bring these ideas out than the crossover between two countries.