On November 1, 2015 Inland Empire’s On Tap Barshop set off their very first Dia de Los Muertos Arts & Cultural Event; So Rough, So Tuff! And for all of us that were part of this family affair can say that the love for their city was inspiring; so much talent and good atmosphere throughout the day.
It is always a pleasure to attend events and support local communities but this So Rough, So Tuff Dia de los Muertos Arts & Cultural festival was so much more than that an attempt to keep our cultura alive; it was a union of different artists, performers and subcultures with the same vision to help the city of Ontario begin their very own Arts District. I was more than honored to assist and make Love SKA, Richard Royal Jr. And the staff from On Tap Barbershop’s dreams a reality. As we represented our beautiful city of Angels; we brought the best artists, graffiti artists, vendors and performers to represent our support to this community. From Los Angeles to San Diego; we held it together on a hot sunny day for our new found family!
Before the event took place, the movement that was created behind So Rough, So Tuff was already making history itself; the hard work, sacrifices and new friendships that were built along the way speaks on the importance of growth within our subcultures and arts communities. Pryer and Aloy were chosen as representatives of the Los Angeles Graffiti Movement and they painted live throughout the festival. We also had many artists from all over the United States as part of their Art show that was also on view for purchase throughout the day. But one of the best highlights of the day was the most anticipated performance of the Los Angeles Poplockers and Original Poplockers which consisted of OG Jeckle, Playboy Eddie, Burst Rock, Tic Tac, Ace Rock, Cre8 and Lil Bina from Funnybones Crew.
As the festival got started, the heat was raising very rapidly, vendors were setting up while the DJ played some good old school music and rock n’ roll. I got to set up my booth right next to me music system so it was a perfect location to set up my community Altar which consisted of personal items and friends that have passed on. I turned it a public altar as I set up a space for everyone to write the names of their loved ones that have passed on too. It was a great way to connect with all the spectators as they shared stories of ther loved ones and hit their placaso next to others. There were lots of vendors there setting up with a reflection of cultura and Dia de los Muertos inspired art. Raul Ataye from R & A Culturas. Mario Moreno’s Nahua Olin’s booth came all the way from San Diego to vend his amazing merchandise and art. Thank you so much for supporting us from so far away!
As the day progressed, the local community began to arrive, there was so much to look at such as the art show which was held inside the OnTap Barbershop which was amazingly displayed; the entire space was filled with great art. As you walked out the art gallery you were welcomed by all the car clubs and bikers with their beautiful collection of cars; it was a nice sight to see. The public was able to walk around get their face painted by Blosm, eat delicious pupusas from El Salvador and get to mingle with all the vendors such as the Junkies, Lupita from Fuck Cancer and Tic Tac’s lovely family but most importantly to get to watch the live Graffiti Art by Pryer and Aloy.
There were all good vibes at this festival and family was very important for all us as we kept the kids safety and fun as our priority. Our kids got to play all day with the sugar skulls faces playing soccer, running around and painting at my booth. It was funny to see how my booth became a mini center for all the kids; it was the cool hangout spot!
So the time finally came, as the Inland Empire s very own Graffiti Artists Dowts, Kesoe, Kalm and Pres began to put together the anticipated unveiling of the City of Ontario’s mural. That moment the mural was revealed to the public, it stamped the reason why we were all there; to support the talent and dedication from these artists to their community. The mural became the center stage for all announcements and performances; the Envy Co. Hip Hop dancers performed there as well as the Los Angeles Original Poplockers! That was such a historical moment to see all these OG’s reunited and doing what they do best with the beats of Zapp and Roger’s So Rough, So Tuff! Brilliant way to dedicated that shinning moment to the event’s title theme. It was such a sight to see, poplocking behind a vivid mural while Pryer and Aloy painted live and as the public went wild just taking in all this movements all at once! As the sun went down and the heat cooled off, the barber battles began to take place inside the OnTap Barbershop; this art form is new to me but the public was so excited and really taught me about a new different creative world. Thank you Love for showing us what you on a daily basis. So much respect for what your teams does.
All of these different elements connected under one thematic night; and I was really proud to bring Los Angeles to this city and show them how its done but most importantly that their new journey on creating an Arts district is going to be So Rough and Tuff but with hard work and dedication; anything is possible.
I cannot wait to see this community grow as time passes, I am sure they will make us all proud and looking forward to many more community engaging events that promote artists union and family affairs. Thank you for making us feel right at home.
BIG SHOUT OUT TO ALL THE I.E
ARTISTS DOWTS, KESOE, PRES & KALM. AND TO LOVE AND RICHARD THE MASTER MINDS BEHIND THIS SUCCESSFUL EVENT BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY ENVY, BLOSM, LILIFLOR, LUPITA, MARIO MORENO, BONEJONES, DREW, BURSTROCK, PLAYBOY EDDIE, OG JECKLE, TIC TAC, CRE8, ACE ROCK, BINA, PIECE MAGAZINE, ALOY, MY LOVE PRYER ONE, LIL FRIDA FOR RUNNING OUR BOTH AND SUBMITTING A NICE ART PIECE AND EVERYBODY ELSE THAT HAD MY BACK AND SUPPORTED ME TO MAKE THIS EVENT HAPPEN!
Much Love & Respect,
Monica Smiles Tobon