John Alexander Serna is one of the most representative mural artists in Comuna 13, where he grew up. He spent a large part of his childhood with his friends. Some of them gradually stimulated him to take up arms. However, John Alexander followed others fighting for a better future and chased his dreams. He developed himself as an artist and became known as ‘Chota’. He shows his artwork, and his talent, to tourists from all over the world.
Chota tells us about his life experiences through art:
“Growing up I had nobody who inspired me to do right. I found refuge in my friends. We would hang out on the streets at night: seeing things we should not be seeing and following a path we should not be following.
At some point I realized I needed to change. We started to compose simple reggaeton songs and named ourselves Chotas, with the meaning of ‘Brother artists’.
We also started making Chotas signs on some walls. People in Comuna 13 began to believe in us and motivated us to keep going. In return we helped children with school presentations or people to decorate their houses. Some group members left to find better job opportunities. A few of us continued drawing in the neighborhood.
2012 was a historic year for Comuna 13; the escalators were introduced. We had the honor to make it an art project. We improved airbrushing and drawing techniques, and we're left with all utensils and paint. We decided to decorate some walls in the neighborhood and people started recognizing us as artists. We had a goal: leaving a message to recover memories. Also, we wanted to change the negative perception of graffiti, because it can also be very artistic. This may inspire future generations to do similar things in life.
I thank God for giving me this great talent as an artist. Right now I do not only have a little cafe, where people can try many different coffee types, but also a gallery. There is a saying: "He who lives by what he likes never goes to work”. I live off what I like. I feel that many people in Comuna 13 can move forward with their families due to graffiti and tourism.
My current goal is to continue growing as an artist internationally. Part of my dream is to have galleries worldwide. This was done in Comuna 13 but it can be multiplied in other areas of the world that also need it."
By purchasing Chota's artwork, you are supporting our foundation to continue its youth-focused programs.
*Important: The money that Insiders Foundation will get from this will be used exclusively on the social programs we are developing and we will develop in the future.
Thank you for your support.
When you buy any of these pieces we will send you at no cost a t-shirt autographed by Chota.