Puerto Rican Muralist Alexis Diaz Uses Artwork To Invent New Animals In The Whiteaker

Aug 6, 2018

Puerto Rican muralist Alexis Diaz is known for his intricate brush work, and that’s why he’s featured in this year’s 20x21 Eugene Mural Project. KLCC’s Alec Cowan brings us this bilingual audio postcard about his mammoth addition down by the tracks of the Whiteaker. 

This transcript has been edited for style and clarity.

[TRAIN HORN]

ALEXIS DIAZ: "Yeah my name is Alexis Diaz, I am from Puerto Rico."

Diaz uses tiny brushstrokes to give his mural an intricate, sketch like quality.
Credit (Alec Cowan/KLCC)

ALEXIS DIAZ: "A mí me gusta trabajar con animales y me gusta conocer a los espacios que voy a intervenir antes de comenzar un mural. Y tan pronto llegué a Eugene, pregunté por si tenían verdad un museo de historia natural.  Lo visitamos y entre la visita, pues me fijé que había muchos animales que ya están extintos en esta area de Oregon. Entre los que me llamaron mas la atención pues uno fue el mamut."

Credit (Alec Cowan/KLCC)

"Me gusta tan como crear diferentes especies y hacer como mezcla y en esta ocasión pues escogí el mamut como base y le voy a hacer diferente, cambiar algunos elementos de su composición y crear algo, no sé, como un animal extinto que nunca ha existido pero le voy a dar como vida."

JILL TORRES, TRANSLATING: "I like to work with animals and to get to know the spaces I will be working in before starting a mural.  As soon as I got to Eugene, I asked if they had a museum of natural history.  We visited one, and during my visit I saw many animals that have gone extinct in the area known as Oregon.  Of all the animals that caught my attention, the mammoth was it." 

"I like to create different species and make a sort of mixture. And on this occasion I chose the mammoth as a base, and I will make different... change some elements of its composition and create something -- I am not sure -- an extinct animal that never existed, and I will give it life."

Credit (Alec Cowan/KLCC)

[TRAIN HORN]

ALEXIS DIAZ: "Yeah I'm working with China Ink. It's a drawing like in a large format. It's like a cross-section."

Credit (Alec Cowan/KLCC)

"I started painting walls in 2009."

[MUSIC HIT]

"And in this moment the street art is not too much popular there. So when I start painting walls, it's completely different. A couple years later I did a festival in Puerto Rico, and I invite artists from around the world. And the people start to respect the street art and the murals."

In this photo Eugene is marked by a dot beneath the thorn-like tusks of the mammoth.
Credit (Alec Cowan/KLCC)

"And now it's completely different. The people are accepting in Puerto Rico the murals, protect the murals. For me the murals change the space and the places. And the people look more happy when they are close in this life."

"Yeah I receive invitation and I'd never been here, so I like to visit new places. So you need to see the final of the mural."

Translation for this story was provided by KLCC’s Jill Torres. This audio postcard about Puerto Rican muralist Alexis Diaz was produced by KLCC’s Alec Cowan. It’s part of a series on the 20x21 Eugene Mural Project.

The other two muralists in this series are Aiko and WK Interact