Doodling with Memuco: Rise against extinction 10/18

memuco-portraitBy Shandra Keesecker-Rivero    Images courtesy of Memuco

“I tend to doodle, so I’m just going to hold onto this,” said Puerto Peñasco native son Memuco, picking up a post-it and sitting down across from me. The unassuming, kind, and down-to-earth artist Guillermo Munro Colosio (known as Memuco which derives from the first letters of his name, or rather nickname “MEmo MUnro COlosio”), had stopped in to discuss his first solo exhibition in Mexico, which is set to take place in Puerto Peñasco under the full moon of Friday, Oct. 18th at Casa de la Playa (Section 7) in Las Conchas. The exhibit, entitled “Rise against extinction,” makes its way to Puerto Peñasco following two recent shows in L.A. and an impromptu one in San Diego. From here, Memuco will take “Rise against extinction” to the Feria del Libro in Hermosillo before returning to Beijing where he currently is the graphic editor for the China Daily newspaper. Following Beijing, the exhibit will continue to Macao for a massive two-hall one person art exhibit.

The Oct. 18th show in Puerto Peñasco is open to the public, beginning at 8 p.m. and will surely be a night of beautiful art, music, sangrias, and awareness surrounding Memuco’s most intense passion: endangered species. “The Silent One”, who has emerged within Memuco’s work in recent years will adorn spaces and minds throughout the evening. Daughter of Mexico’s traditional “La Catrina” (representing death in Mexico) and Nahual (based on pre-hispanic tradition, Aztec, Mayan, and Toltec Gods possessed the ability to adopt animal forms), The Silent One was given the duty to go around the world, taking up and crying for all animals who are endangered.

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RP360: Welcome, oh and Happy Birthday! Tell us about the upcoming evening and “Rise against extinction”.

Memuco: Thank you. This will be my first solo show in Mexico. “Conchi” (Maria Conchita Peralta, event organizer and host) had invited me a few years ago. She’s the one who basically made it happen. She’s keen on my work, which is cool.

The good thing is that this time I’m really prepared because I had the shows in L.A. so I brought a lot of stuff. There will be things that people have seen already, but I brought stuff that will be a little bit of a surprise. I also have stuff that people have seen a piece of it here and there, and some items from last year from the shows in L.A.. Plus, there’s new stuff from this year. There’s oil paint, some that are mixed with oil-spray paint, and then I’ll have the giclées, which are basically like my version to make them more affordable. Sometimes oils get to be a little bit up there.

RP360: What are you using as canvas? (Memuco is known for using non-traditional canvases, which also earned him an invite to participate in past White Canvas Project shows in L.A. and London).

Memuco: Most of them are still cardboard. Most of the paintings are already protected, except the new ones, because you have to wait a little bit before you can put on the special varnish. What I do is I put this varnish on the front, like twice, and then I put it on the back. That way the painting is protected. The cardboard actually sucks in the oils really, really, well.  This is just new to me, but it becomes part of it basically because it all seeps in. When you’re doing oil paint, which could take a week, or two weeks or a month to dry on canvas, these ones in two days are dry.

RP360: Are you painting down here right now?

Memuco: I’m doing retouches on some stuff, but I am going to do a mural. I’m going to do that with Chago (local artist and present Director of Civic and Cultural Affairs, Jesús Romero Chagoyan) and a few other artists from Peñasco, including Yuvid, and my brother (fellow artist Hector Hans Munro Colosio), and others. We’re going to start on Sunday, behind my parents’ house. There’s an empty lot, so people will be able to see it and it will be easy for us to go in and out and not bother my mom. She doesn’t even know we’re going to do it, yet…

RP360:  You’re going to do this in a week?

Memuco: Yes, probably by Friday we’ll have it done. I’m going to do a time-lapse, beginning on Sunday.

RP360: How does it feel being back in Puerto Peñasco?

Memuco: It feels really good! Really good! I’ll be going to Hermosillo for a short trip and then I’ll be back. I’ll go back to Hermosillo for the Feria del Libro. I just want to stay here.

RP360: So, this your show on Oct. 18th is a one person show?

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Memuco 2013

Memuco: Yes, which is exciting and also intimidating. Any time you are going to have a solo show it’s pretty intimidating. I’m from here but I haven’t been here for a long time, so to me it’s like any other show.

RP360: Is it different to come and do a show here?

Memuco: It does feel different in a way, because it’s home. But, nobody has really seen me with the “Silent One” here and it is kind of like a different feeling, but a good feeling. It’s something that I’m proud of and I keep working hard on and I hope people like it.

The show is at 8 p.m., from about 8 to 10 p.m. It’s open to the public. We’re inviting everyone, and also trying to get into some of the schools to invite them.  I think the message should be good enough.

There were two shows in L.A. and then one in San Diego, which was really impromptu, and now it’s here and then it goes to Hermosillo. From Hermosillo I go to Beijing, which is a show and a talk and a video. From Beijing I fly to Macao, and that’s like a big two-salon show. I have my back-ups already in Macao, but most of it I’m going to try to take, especially the sharks because Macao is close to Hong Kong and in Macao they eat a lot of shark fin soup so I want to hit upon that part.

RP360: How is your work perceived in Macao, or different parts of China or Japan surrounding issues of sharks, dolphins, or whales?

Memuco: I think most people don’t know what’s going on (with the sharks), especially in China. The kids are really eager to help though; in China the kids ask me, “What can we do?” But, for example, I wanted to do a mural and as soon as people knew what it was about they cancelled it so I did it somewhere else, which was taken well by people in the neighborhood. Still, someone called the police and they came and stopped me, so I had to go back and do it in the morning so there wouldn’t be anyone there. They left it up but the owner of the home recently moved, so I’m going to check when I go back and it’s probably gone.

RP360: So the mural spaces you get, are they basically from friends who have a wall or a space available?

Memuco: Basically yeah, as long as I can do the same message about endangered species, or about animals who are abused. If you give me a space, I’ll go and do my stuff. Sometimes they’ll sponsor the painting, or the paint, but most of the time I’ll pay for it – all of it.

RP360: In addition to your artwork, you work with the newspaper China Daily in Beijing.  How did you end up in China?

memuco-silent-one2Memuco: That’s what feeds me and allows me to do everything else. I was in Dubai before and had been there for three years and was ready to move on. I did graphics with a newspaper there, though I also had a show at the Mexican Consulate there. Usually my average is about two to three years. I knew the art director for the China Daily, or rather we knew of each other but he didn’t know me as a graphic artist, he thought I was an illustrator. So I’m now the editor for graphics.

RP360: So, you’ve been in China for two years, in another year do you think you’ll move on to another part of the world?

Memuco: One more year. I think it’s time for me to come back, to be with my parents and the family. I’m preparing to have my graphics business and be part of the time in Mexico and the other part of the time traveling around China because there is still a lot of work to be done there in the environmental sense; that is like ground zero for me, but the graphics industry is basically exploding right now, so I want to take advantage of that.

Right now I’m doing something for Greenpeace. I’m also doing something for the United Nations World Heritage Sites.

RP360: Speaking of World Heritage Sites, as you know, the Pinacate has been named a World Heritage Site. Do you have any artwork that includes images from the Pinacate?

Memuco: There’s one piece I did especially for Mexico; it’s basically “The Silent One” and there is a tapir from Chiapas, a jaguar, there’s a brown monkey, as well as a frog from Mexico. I want to propose one for Sonora only (I did at one time but don’t remember exactly when), and just have those animals, and of course the vaquita.

RP360: Does the mural you are going to do now include the vaquita?

memuco-muralMemuco: Of course. Yes. I’ve always loved animals and in terms of trying to save an animal, the vaquita was one that interested me because I lived here; I don’t want to go around the world and it be known that I live in a place where something went extinct and we didn’t care about it. There are many groups coming from all over the world to study the vaquita, which is very cool, but their readings have a range from 110 to 230 or 250. It could be a little more or less. It seems to me like that’s an increase, which is good.

Those are the kind of communities I want to engage with, and once I’m here I think I’ll be able to do that: go, paint murals, and interact with the kids. I like to interact with the younger generation because they’re the ones that are going to change the world. I can’t ask people who have their minds set already. I can ask them to join me, but the younger generation is the one that I’m interested in.

RP360:  Do you see yourself ever moving away from the idea of The Silent One, or is she your passenger for life?

Memuco: I think she’s a passenger for life, but Memuco started a while before that, I think I’ll keep doing him for a while also. There’s some other stuff that I want to do. Right now, it’s just so much about the animals and many of them are in endangered. Of course this is a lifetime kind of quest. She’ll be there forever, that’s for sure, though she won’t be the only thing. I think there is other stuff to do also.

As our conversation began to wind down, Memuco’s eyes could not contain the excitement he felt at being back in Puerto Peñasco. We shared stories of living away from nieces and nephews and chuckled about the steps he’s taken to reconnect with a young nephew by means of a Batman obsession, yes – mask and all.

“I’m really excited to be here!” Concluded Memuco as his hands uncovered the drawing that had emerged on the post-it beneath his fingers. “I invite everyone to come to the show!”

We’ll be there for sure! Thank you for your time, Memuco, and thank you for the doodle!

What:  Memuco Solo Exhibition  “Rise against extinction”

When: Friday, Oct. 18th  8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Where: Casa de la Playa, Calle Los Patos, Section 7 in Las Conchas

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