Chico Brenes - Talavera Deck
8.0" x 31.875"
Artwork by Carlos M. Gutierrez
Where were you born?
Harbor City, CA.
Was there some gang shit in your area?
Yes. I grew up on the border of the Carson/Harbor Gateway area so there were different gangs in every direction. I grew up with a lot of them. It was hard not to run into some trouble, but skating, art, and eventually, music kept me pretty straight.
Take us through your history here at Girl.
Around the start of Girl, I was still in high school but I had an opportunity to show my portfolio to Megan and Rick. So I tried to get it tight and sent it over to them. I actually went to their apartment and handed it to Rick. They ended up using a graphic for an early Koston one off. I was super stoked!
I started in the warehouse in '97 just doing whatever they needed until about 2003. Then I got a job in the sales department there, for about 2 years. I went back to college in 2005, but I missed that creative energy. I felt like I needed to be around it. So I hit up Megan again. She said they had a part time warehouse position available, so I took it.
So I was back in the warehouse for about a year or so, by then I heard the Art Dump was looking for an intern. So I hit up Andy Jenkins and asked him if I could do it. He said it didn't pay. I said that OK, just to work with him and all the guy sin the Art Dump would be enough. I knew I would learn something I could take with me. So I quit the warehouse and had to actually move back in with my mom for about a year and a half_ÌÔ?_ÌÔ_??during the internship. It was pretty hectic but I made it! A full-time Art Dumper.
Which job at Girl did you enjoy the most?
Warehouse was cool, but definitely the ArtDump. It's like a dream come true.
Are you a better musician than Rudy Johnson?
No way. Never better, I always have something to learn. Especially from him. He's got a great energy and is such a talented guy. I got to jam with Rudy an dPaulo once at a BBQ. He shreds. We all were vibing well.
You ever open for some big acts?
I opened for Sublime back in the day. It was a crazy show. I think the fire marshall ended up closing that one down eventually. Plus, I got to meet the Sublime dog, the on ehe sings about. Opened up for Dog (Mike Watt and Kira from Black Flag) in San Pedro. That was a rad one. One of my more recent shows, Beck opened up for me. Ha! I guess he had called the venue and asked if he could come down and play a set that night. That pushed my set back to about 1:15am. Pretty much last call. Everyone had gone home by then. But technically, he opened up for me._ÌÔ?_ÌÔ_??
Who stole your band?
Moby! No, not really, but they do back him up sometimes now. We all still rock on the regular.
How much does your grandma's cooking influence your work?
So much. I need chips and salsa at least once a week, just to stay level. Then, I'm really going for that deep inspiration, I hit up her famous green pozole they make at Lupita's That sets me right. She may be gone, but her love still feeds me from beyond. Grandma's are magical like that.
That was the inspiration for the Talavera series?
Probably the original Hecox portraits of the OG Chocolate team. I remember loving those when they came in the warehouse way back when. Such a cool style, and the way they just stood out, he made the riders look so cool. So when I got the chance to do some stuff for Chocolate, that was one of my first ideas was to do a new portrait series for this team. The blue watercolor was a funny thing at first , because it was the only color I had at the time but it worked out. The plates on my grandma's wall and her tile tables brought it all together for me.
Whose face was the hardest to get right?_ÌÔ?_ÌÔ_??
Raven's , for sure. His face is so symmetrically perfect that if you didn't get an angle or a shadow right it would start to look like someone else. Jerry's was the easiest because he has cool looking features to paint. They were all super fun to do, but Raven's was definitely the hardest one for some reason.