The art collective CACAO— comprised of the Mexican artists Sergio Guillermo Chávez Alvarado and César Alejandro Mojarro Barajas— is an acronym for Crear Arte Como Acto de Ofrenda, which translates to “create art as an act of offering.” And CACAO no doubt offers an idea, then offers again an image, which seems to us at Police & Thieves to create a visually Whitmanian effect that stacks image after image. However, CACAO does much more than imagine and reimagine an image. Their work is not artistic facsimile, a Warhol can of soup; CACAO instead derives from Duchamp, who filtered an idea through intellect and psychological fracture. Like an erudite person speaking with vigor within their field of emphasis, slowly and with a tempered pace that conveys confidence and judiciousness, CACAO paints murals with balance and intention, calling back indigenous and Mexican iconography. These elements attracted us at Police & Thieves to their work, and we hope the readers of Rooster and the greater Denver area appreciate CACAO's contribution to the local art scene.
Lets start from the beginning. Please tell the Rooster audience where you're from, a little about your personal background and art background, and how you met and began working together.
UNKLE: I am from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. I studied graphic design at the University of Guadalajara. From an early age I was interested in signs and murals within the urban landscape. As a teenager, I did graffiti. During that time I met Chávez and we have been working together for about 15 years.
SERGIO: I am from Aguascalientes, Mexico. I also received a degree in design at the University of Guadalajara. At that time I was working on my personal intervention projects in public space, initially using stencils, a tool that I’ve explored for almost 15 years. César and I met through mutual friends who did graffiti in the city, and we started to paint together, mostly graffitting the letters of the crew that we belonged to. Years later in 2018, we resumed the practice of painting in collaboration with the idea of exploring our languages visions, evolution, and professional experiences.
Next, can you describe your process? How do cultural and Mexican artistic aesthetics influence your work?
UNKLE: Mexico is a country with a great tradition in the world of art. There are influences that are revealed within the environment itself, the food, the architecture, or the landscape. Our process varies with each project, but we like to make community whenever there’s a chance.
SERGIO: Among the artistic movements that have influenced the world, one of the most recognized that has its origin in Mexico, is muralism. There is also a rich Mexican tradition (of more than 3000 years, if we take into account ancient art) of dying and painting walls to implement visual education. Understanding the spaces we share, our way of interacting with them and the meanings that form as part of the context, is an important part of our process.
Let’s play “marry, fuck, kill” with the great muralists David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Diego Rivera.
UNKLE: Marry: Siqueiros. Fuck: Orozco. Kill: Rivera.
SERGIO: I would probably fuck Rivera, because he is the one with the most fame as a leading man; I would marry Orozco, because it is easy to take advantage of a one-armed man, and I would kill Siqueiros, before he killed me first.
Lastly, how was your experience in Denver, and how can you be reached for further interviews, gigs, and general lavish praising?
UNKLE: It has been a gratifying experience to be able to collaborate on this project. I would have liked to have more time to get to know the city and other nearby places. What I saw is a place of contrasts: the street activity versus the comfort of home.
SERGIO: Carrying out this type of project is always a great experience, especially because it allows you to observe and work with issues that are still taboo at home, such as cannabis
You can follow us through our IG accounts @chavez.hollar @unkle_estudio and the IG of our project @c.a.c.a.o.mx
You can view the murals at our two Denver dispensaries on East Colfax and in Cherry Creek.
Police & Thieves
399 S Harrison St, Denver, CO 80209
6302 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80220