Humans of Charleston

Taken by: Liz Hipes

Title: “I used to be a real serious artist and then it started to feel like work.”


“I don’t know. My father was an artist, a very good artist and anything I wanted to do, he encouraged. So as a kid, he’d take my brother to baseball practice and take me to little art lessons. I mean he just encouraged me and I’ve always loved it. I used to be a real serious artist and then it started to feel like work. This is so much more fun. Quick, cheap, got to make a nickel here and there and have fun doing it. Usually, my favorite (piece) is the last one I did because it’s fresh. There’s a lot of other pieces I don’t remember. There are pieces of my stuff all over town, they’re everywhere. The guy who has my personal best, he doesn’t live here he owns an apartment here, some rich guy. But when he comes down he looks for me and he’ll usually buy everything I have. So what he’s doing in Charleston is he’s taking a whole wall and painting it like a hunter dark green; and instead of putting one picture up, he’s covering it. The whole thing. And they (paintings) are little but I think he’s up to 32 of them. And he wants them all and when he wants them, I can eat. I love it. It’s rare but it happens…it’s how I make my living. I mean I’m flattered too. And it’s funny because when I deal with him–I’m from Puerto Rico–and he’s Hispanic as well so we do it all in Spanish which really helps me a lot to remember; I’m forgetting it so fast. His name is Santiago. I think he’s from Ecuador maybe. That makes it even more fun. Everybody says that Charleston is very friendly…oh no. In Puerto Rico, you can be in line at the grocery store and by the time you get to the checkout counter, the person standing next to you has invited you to dinner, given you a hug and a kiss goodbye and expects you to show up. Here, you’re lucky if they say hello. What they say about Charleston, everybody’s nice but not everybody’s kind. Nice as what you say, kind is what you do. And I see both. But I know a lot of very kind people.”


-Memo, Charleston street artist

329 Meeting St.

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