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Graffiti artist uses first-time visit to U.S. to create art

By Jessica Rodrigo
March 27, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
Updated March 28, 2013 at 10:29 p.m.

Christoph Haessler with two paintings he has created in his temporary studio at the Golden Gecko in Victoria.

Download the app

Know what you're doing over the four-day film festival with the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival app on your smartphone.

• Scheduling

• Map of venues

• Push notifications for after parties and movies

• Buy tickets

• Places to eat downtown

Know about events all over the world

For more information, visit VTXIFF.com.

Snag a seat

• Visit VTXIFF.com to buy tickets for each movie.

• Tickets are $5, $10. Prices vary by venue. Wristbands, $125, available online as well.

Tag a piece

Bring your kids to paint with graffiti artists at The Texas Zoo.

• TIME: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 7

• COST: $5

• INFO: Visit VTXIFF.com

by jessica rodrigo/jrodrigo@vicad.com

Prepare to take in art from a different world during the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival.

In order to prepare for what is expected to be a larger, more entertaining film festival, Anthony Pedone, mastermind behind the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival, is building on relationships he began to nurture last year.

There are more opportunities available for the area and the industry when these kinds of collaborations are going on, he said.

"We broadened the scope of the event. It's not just film but art, live music and recording live music straight to vinyl," he said. "It's all tied directly to film."

This year's festival will include film makers, artists and musicians from all over the globe. One of the newest additions to the festival, he said, will be the new murals added to the downtown scene before the festival kicks off April 4.

Pedone hopes the murals will leave a lasting impression long after the last film rolls the credits.

Christoph Haessler, a graffiti artist from Germany who uses the alias Stohead, will transform an ordinary slab of wall between the Junior League building and the Children's Discovery Museum into something he hopes onlookers can apply their own interpretation to.

Since the 39-year-old set foot in Victoria, he's been soaking up the environment to brainstorm what he will put on the 25-by-12-foot wall. There are many different factors that go into creating a piece, he said, because each work should remain a part of its surroundings.

"It's not a canvas. It's very much the culture and the people who surround it," he said. "I'm thinking the classic American way of living will automatically go into the piece."

Although this is his first time in the U.S., he said his passion started with a little tag he saw growing up. It had the classic style of graffiti that hailed from the alleys and neighborhoods of New York City.

"It inspired me from Day One, and over the years, I put ethnic influence into it," Haessler said. "It ignited in me the graffiti virus."

Using the Golden Gecko as his makeshift studio, he has gone to work producing pieces for a gallery that will set up shop in downtown Victoria for the film festival through April 20.

Armed with various colors of inks and acrylic paints, he will create pieces exclusive to the inspiration drawn from the area using a style he describes as abstract calligraphy. He uses traditional tools from the age-old form of writing with the stroke of his wrist to create swinging forms and curves both thick and hair-line thin.

During the film festival, the area where Haessler's painting is to be unveiled alongside another mural painted on an adjacent wall will serve as the backdrop for outdoor movie screenings.

Once all the planning is done and the festival is well underway, Pedone said he is looking forward to spending time with his family and friends - both old and new.

"I'm looking forward to interesting conversations and talks about art and music," he said. " And sitting in that grassy area at 1 o'clock in the morning, drinking a beer looking at Stohead's work thinking about how awesome it is that we brought this guy here."

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