I remember first seeing street art come to the forefront of the art world when I was in Los Angeles. Starting with the gang banger tags on the neighborhood buildings that marked their territory – to the propaganda based installations of OBEY that were even used in the last presidential campaign there. Street art has certainly come of age in the past few years with exhibitions in major museums and commanding absurdly high prices at the top auction houses around the world. It was only recently that I discovered Ninja Rojo, a street artist from Argentina that uses this same medium to share his point of view as a gay man living in a culture that has been historically dominated by the not so accepting catholic church.
What was your motivation behind this art project?
Ninja Rojo was born of my desire to expose some very personal subjects I had to deal with being gay in Argentina. I‘ve always been an exhibitionist to a point, but this time I needed to show what was deep inside of me, to open myself to criticism and to represent the gay comunity here…and because it was much cheaper than a psychologist here in Buenos Aires.
How did you choose and get started in doing street art?
I got dazzled by steet art because it is art for everybody, gay, hetero, young, old, everyone. Also instead of making purely political statements I love to inject some ironic humor into the mix. It is both instant and temporary but the message is always colorful and bold. Inspirations come from the world around me and I pull my heroes from television, news, cartoons and porn too!
Where does your street name Ninja Rojo come from?
My name Ninja Rojo comes from one of my favorites comic book characters Elektra Assassin (by Frank Miller), the fearless fiercest of all red ninjas, which my mother forbade me to read when I was younger because of the violent content. Somehow it just got stuck in my head. Years later it became my profile name on ManHunt and then my artistic alter ego on the streets. Thats also where the red adidas hoodie plays it’s role – I always wear one and it very naturally became a part of my persona.
I see that you now wear a mask to public events.
My intention was never to expose myself as my real self. Later on when I started to get noticed and began to get invited to art shows and events I took it a step further and developed my mask – which was inspired by a male blow up doll. Just as Oscar Wilde said „Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.“ I need to be able to accomplish my work and to be out without the pressure of being me, so I think that I will follow his advice.