Marijuana and the arts go together like peanut butter and jelly. Whether its music, literature or painting you’ll find someone connected to the herb. Tucson, Arizona has been a player in both for years. Whether you’re looking to score a few pounds to take the east coast (let’s face it the West doesn’t need out of state bud anymore) or looking to rent a studio (to find yourself as an artist) Tucson is the place to do such a thing.
This town just like any other is full of “starving artist”. I am fortunate enough to have befriended not a starving artist but one that can afford a sandwich. Her name is Mel Dominguez; an accomplished painter, illustrator, and muralist.
Her fashions have been seen in videos by Ludacris, Kia, and Chingy. Always true to hip-hop some of her early work involved working with Pharcyde’s management company creating graphics and silk screens for their online store.
I recently contacted Mel for an interview for TWB and here’s our conversation;
TWB: I’m a big fan of your style, since I’ve known you I’ve described your style as Urban Art. Do you think that’s a fair description or do you have another?
MD: I consider my self as a freestyle artist that applies multi-media techniques. as for category I guess urban low brow fantasy…??? I don’t know how about Jack of all trades?
TWB: When did you go from tagging to painting? What made you decide being an artist was the way for you?
MD: Tagging started in elementary. Believe it or not with baseball teams. I was down with the “A’s” then junior high amplified the importance of what neighborhood you were from. Gangsters turned to tag bangers. So it was hard cause hurting people wasn’t my thing, but I love to draw. I kept bombing late night’s with my crew 29C 490WC PFK 254. One morning my cousin who lived with me at the time began to worry cause I wasn’t getting home. She blabbed to my mom. I came home all slick with my pj’s under my clothes all happy. My mom said to me point blank,” Do you want to pay the city? or would you rather have the city pay you?” it was like a lighting bulb went off in my head. she was right they had more money. so I started to focus.
TWB: What brought you from L.A to Tucson?
MD: L.A. to Tucson? LOVE, compromise, $
TWB: You put pot leafs in some of your paintings, what does the marijuana mean to you?
MD: It’s a part of life. before I was and long after me. Painting for me is insuring my immortality. I want to speak to the audience, I use it for medical reasons it is a part of me. And around this town I’m sure it’s part of them. Plus there are no lines as to who uses. old young fat ugly pretty stupid smart white black brown yell. So all can relate and that’s what I’m about. blaze it.
After our last Q & A Mel sent me a statement “….the boost of personal art from me stemmed from the fact I almost died. GOD gave me an opportunity to share the word and also the gift of talent he has given me. all SAINTS have a past. both my personal and professional all became a part of me so that I may share in the present and the future with those with open hearts, minds & ears. all of the art I have created and copywrite (tools) will all go to my nephew Myles when I pass. so in this brief life that I have left I want to give as much of myself as I can. like today I volunteered @ the boys and girls club to help with immunization shots. it was tough seeing little kids cry. my job was to distract them with a book. believe it or not it worked.”
She truly is a humble giving person with mad skills. We wish you the best here Mel from TWB.
If you or anyone you know is involved in the arts hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and lets do a Q & A. In the meantime here’s some shit I found on the net:
Here’s a mixed bag your son is missing than found and so is you pot farm.
Activist group Firedog Lake gets involved in the cause.
Football and weed. What’s the big fucking deal man.