Unwittingly, Trace ended up spending the quarantine in Puerto Rico. He spent 3 months in the Caribbean and he clearly didn’t leave his cans behind. Reaping from this curious experience, the New Yorker has just launched a zine for sale online. We interviewed him to learn a bit more about the project and his experience during the Puerto Rican adventure.
Tell us why you decided to quarantine in Puerto Rico.
I actually didn’t plan to quarantine in Puerto Rico. I was heading down there for the Style Discipline Jam but COVID-19 decided to throw me a curveball. We decided to go for the weekend anyway, since both of our jobs were shut down and that “weekend” turned into almost 3 months — just me, my wife, Juiceman, and my in-laws. It was a very unique quarantine.
“You cannot compare the mainland United States to an island in the Caribbean with summer all year long”
Tell us about the cultural differences between Puerto Rico and the rest of the U.S.A.
Too far and in between for sure. You cannot compare the mainland United States to an island in the Caribbean with summer all year long, fresh home cooking anywhere you go, Salsa, Reggaeton and unlimited spots to paint with zero hassle and no rush.
How is the graffiti scene there and how do you fit in?
The scene is good, it’s been improving a lot over the years.
I just go with my own flow, I don’t try and fit in anywhere I go.
“There weren’t any shitheads with red hats calling it a hoax while coughing in strangers faces, there wasn’t anyone downplaying the severity of the disease.”
How is the COVID situation there compared to NYC?During my time there COVID wasn’t anywhere near what it was like for the rest of the world. The whole entire island respected the rules, the cases stayed super low, the curfew was respected and more importantly everyone respected each other. There weren’t any shitheads with red hats calling it a hoax while coughing in strangers faces, there wasn’t anyone downplaying the severity of the disease. Everyone played a huge part in keeping each other healthy.
How did you come up with the idea of doing the zine?About a month and a half into my quarantine I just started to document more of what I was seeing, spraying and doing daily. I had an idea of what I wanted to do but not sure how I was going to present it.
Tell us what the zine is about.
The magazine is a small look into what I was doing during my time in Puerto Rico.
“The locations are some of the best, sketchy, creepy, hot, humid, dark, mold infested, scenic, stucco finished, insects and wildlife-filled places you will ever spray.”
Is there any difference between the pieces you did in PR and those you paint in NYC? What can you tell us about the locations?
No there is no difference at all, just a new spot to paint.
The locations…well they are some of the best, sketchy, creepy, hot, humid, dark, mold infested, scenic, stucco finished, insects and wildlife-filled places you will ever spray.
Does this journey mark a turning point in Trace’s career?
No. Just an extended vacation with my family.
Did you have any problem while painting in PR?
Yeah, 8oz Coors Lights.
Tell us about discovering new spots, and how the local writers reacted.
Well, when I find a new spot I don’t tell anyone. I just paint all the best spots in that location and move on to the next one.
Why sell something physical when there is so much graffiti material on the internet?
You can’t physically touch anything that’s on the Internet.