As Oceanside, CA has grown to become a thriving art district, you may have seen unique, beautiful murals painted throughout the city, including one on The Cup, in Oceanside Museum of Art for the Rank ’n File: John Daniel Abel exhibition, and the newest one on the wall of Pour House. The most recent mural was created by local artists, BB Bastidas and Colin Whitbread, and Visit Oceanside recently had the opportunity to sit down with them and talk about Oceanside, their history as artists, and where they see themselves (and the Oceanside art community) going next.
VO: BB, tell me when you made your first piece of art.
BB: My first piece of art? That’s probably when I was a little kid, like a baby. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was, like, 8. They were weird Ninja Turtles in outer space.
C: That’s so funny. One of the first things I can remember too was, like, drawing my own Ninja Turtle characters, in detail, at least 30 guys.
VO: And how old were you when you did that?
C: I must’ve been, like, 8 or 9 or 10. That’s all I did for weeks on end – I used to draw from comic books. We used to have this crazy comic book addiction when we were kids.
BB: You know what me and my brother used to do? You remember that show “Unsolved Mysteries”? My mom used to record it on VHS for us so we could watch it back, and we would pause on the UFOs and then we would draw the UFOs. My brother would’ve been, like, 8 and I would’ve been 6.
VO: So did you always know you were going to be an artist? Or was it something you just fell into?
BB: I don’t know. I think it happened when I was 17. I made a trip up to San Francisco and I was on a skate trip, but everyone I was staying with painted, so I saw that, and then when I came back, I thought, I really want to do that. So I think I knew when I was about 18.
C: Yeah, I knew even when I was in high school. I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it. Then I went to college to study painting…
BB: I didn’t go to college to study painting but Colin did, and you can tell there are different styles.
C: I knew a long time ago there’s no way I could sit in an office. I know there are people who do it, like tattoo artists, who work in a room on micro details…
VO: So is that why you like doing murals, because you’re outside?
BB: Yeah that’s part of it, And you’re interacting with people and you’re giving the whole city a piece of art instead of giving it to one person. And anyone can go look at it at any time of the day. You don’t have to wake up and wait for the building to open – you can just come here.
VO: Are you guys both from Oceanside?
BB & C: Yeah.
VO: So when you’re thinking about doing a mural like this, what it is that speaks to you? Is it the building, is it the neighborhood, is it the owners? How do you decide?
BB: We have to play off the owner of the building.
C: We had to pitch it to them. We chose things that we wanted to paint that kind of catered to the owner of this building. And then that’s how we go from there.
VO: So who drew it out?
BB & C: We both did.
BB: It’s not like one dude does one thing; we both do everything.
VO: So you guys sit down, you think about the person who owns the building, then you mock it up. And how many times have you changed the idea since you started painting?
C: Maybe 3.
VO: And what gives you satisfaction [with the mural]? Is it because you love it? Or the reaction of people when they see it?
C: I think it’s a mix of all that.
BB: Yeah, a mural’s special because it’s for the people. It’s everyone’s…that’s what’s cool about it.
VO: Do you just want to do this in Oceanside or do you want to expand out?
BB: Right now, we just want to do it in Oceanside.
VO: How do you feel about the art scene in Oceanside? There’s over 1000 artists in Oceanside.
BB: Really? I didn’t know that.
VO: So will Oceanside always be your home base?
C & BB: It’s always been my home base.
BB: I can walk literally, like, anywhere in Oceanside and I’ll run into, like, 5 people I know.
VO: So you’ve done murals, paintings… What about any sculptures, any architecture?
BB: I’ve done sculptures. I’m doing a film, Colin’s doing a film too.
VO: So you’re artists in every sense of the word. You don’t want to just be known for murals.
BB: No. I don’t think me or Colin would be known for murals.
VO: Most people think of you as a graffiti artist when I ask around.
BB: That’s funny because I was asked to do the title wall at the museum and they said, “We’ve got this local graffiti artist” and I’ve never done graffiti in my life.
VO: Good. You’ll be able to set the record straight: you’re not a graffiti artist, you’re just an artist in general. All types of art.
BB: If you were going to say that, you could say street artist because I create art, I don’t create graffiti; anything outside.
VO: And Colin, you do a lot. You’re an actor…
C: The only reason I’m doing so much now is to survive. I’m a sushi chef – I’ve been a sushi chef for almost 9 years now, I have a catering business. The money’s good, it’s fun…
VO: And it’s art. Sushi is art.
C: Yeah, and I surf professionally too.
VO: How old are you guys?
BB: I’m 28.
C: I’m 34.
VO: How long does it take to paint a mural? You guys have to do layer after layer…
BB: We probably spend $600 on paint.
VO: Is that enough to paint the whole building a few times?
BB: Yeah, maybe.
C: The house paint goes so far, the spray paint doesn’t go that far.
VO: How much is actually spray paint and how much is regular canned paint?
BB: Maybe 60/40. 60 spray paint, 40 actual paint. Actually 65% spray paint. Yeah, 65.
VO: So why do you think you feel better about painting in Oceanside compared to the others?
BB: It’s our hometown.
C: I think we could do 5 projected murals in the next 2 months in Oceanside, and then go to LA, and then do 5 in New York. And we could keep Oceanside unique because we’re from here.
Learn more about the artists:
See also: Arts and Culture in Oceanside