Local graffiti artist is making a name for himself

Where on earth is Daniel Anguilu?

Courtesy photo

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

As owner of Houston Tourism Gym, I get the privilege of experiencing the best of Houston. I have literally made it my business to learn as much as I can about this city. When I find that a certain feature of Houston is amazing and noteworthy, I love being able to follow the breadcrumb trail until I have a good story to tell.

In 2016, I finally got the balls to start researching this city. I knew that I would need to spend a lot of time creating my walking routes and learning everything along the way. As I took to the streets, I really enjoyed all of the mural art and street art we have. Especially in neighborhoods that are going through transition, the mural art is priceless. I think it is the first clue as to who we are as Houstonians.

Lately, I've been obsessed with a certain artist. His name is Daniel Anguilu. I have been following his breadcrumbs across this city for two years. One day, I knew I would meet him. I first saw his work in EADO. I was driving on Harrisburg Blvd. when I saw this masterpiece all along the Metro Rail:

I got out of my car to get a better look. I took note of the colors outlined in black. Then I looked closer, I could see chapel spires and eyes. After another look, birds and fish. Another day, I was walking in Third Ward on Fannin St. I happened upon this small apartment complex.

It was truly one of a kind. This complex was covered in mural art. Getting a closer look, I could see the same colors with the black outline. This one has an elephant in it. It was Daniel Anguilu.

Some time later, I was at Silver Street Studios talking to my friend Verny Sanchez, the Venezuelan artist of emotional language. (You can see one of his murals across from 8th Wonder Brewery. It's the one with two guys that have rainbows for heads). He began to tell me about HAM or Harrisburg Art Museum in EADO that is being maintained by his friend, Daniel Anguilu. Another breadcrumb.

The next day, I go to HAM. HAM is a once abandoned, metal warehouse. Now it houses urban art from artists all over the world. I recognize some of Verny's art in the hanger. The front of the building is a row of murals from different artists. Along the back, different artists have collaborated to spell Houston, Texas using their different styles to fill the letters. I go to the furthest point of view behind HAM. Man, that would make a great panoramic for my social media header.

Walking the property, you can tell that it accommodates artists with varying levels of talent. It is never a boring moment. I have been back many times. On a number of occasions, I've happened on rap videos being filmed. Sometimes, it looks like a scene from the Fast and the Furious. Photos being taken of scantily clad girls on sports cars.

I knew that I one day, I would meet him here. One day, like any other Sunday, I was hosting my Mural and Brewery Tour. I had just finished showing the back of the museum. Just as we were turning the corner, I saw a man with long hair "writing on the wall." Finally, it was Daniel Anguilu. I politely introduce myself. He's a man of Mexican-Aztecan decent. I have so many questions for him. He seems ready to talk and full of answers sometimes before I ask them. We set a time to talk the next week.

My conversation with Daniel was very eye-opening. I knew from meeting the other mural artists in Houston that the subject can be very controversial. Some have described receiving persecution for putting their art out there. I have asked Verny about the subject before. He says that Social Media helped decriminalize graffiti art. Knowing that artists had followers that made a pastime of taking pictures in front of their murals meaning more people would flock to their businesses, business owners now welcome spray paint on their walls. Instead of getting harassed by the police, graffiti artists actually get paid to paint. Daniel, then tells me his experience of being an artist in Houston.

I start with a few get to know you questions. Where are you from? When and why did you start painting? Daniel is from Mexico City. He came to Houston at a young age. When he was 17, before he learned English, he fell into a crowd of graffiti artists. Graffiti was a way for him to bond and connect with them without speaking their language.

The million dollar question: What is the graffiti culture and why is it so controversial? According to Daniel, there are three types of artists: Graffiti artists, street artists, and trained artists. All need a space to express themselves through their style and be seen in the public.

Graffiti, along with the rap culture, became popular in the 80's. Rap artists, like Flavor Flav were actually graffiti artists themselves. Like rap, graffiti art was also known as rebellious and most often criminalized whether because of ties with gangs or just not having permission to paint on a wall. Daniel considers himself a "writer" from the first generation, because he was one of the first to write on Houston's walls.

Being a first generation writer, Daniel found that North Houston neighborhoods were more accepting of the art form. He received less persecution there. He started HAM to challenge the question of when is art a crime? If you wrote the same art on a wall here or there, at what point is it defined as a crime?

Daniel has really thrown himself into this issue. At times, he has even hired attorneys and fought legally for this right. He considers HAM a win for the community of 2nd Ward and artists. As Houston continues to be gentrified, Daniel and other writers use it as a voice for 2nd Ward. Daniel is committed to using HAM as an instrument for the community before it is absorbed by EADO.

Hoping to gain some credibility with Daniel, I tell him the long list of sites where I have personally seen his work.

The Flat on Commonwealth. Rudz on Waugh. A convenience store on Richmond. He assures me that there are many more murals than I think. I had come to know and love his style from his Aztecan Heritage. He says that not all of his art looks the same. But that is only in Houston. He reminisces on the many trips around the world where he would sleep on couches just to get his work out there. Places like Morocco, China, Central and South America, and all through Europe.

On Brewery and Mural Tour of Eado that I host every Sunday we pass his amazing work of art along the light rail on Harrisburg, I tell what I know. Every week, I feel embarrassed that I do not know more. I use this opportunity to get more information. How long did it take him to complete? Did he have help? Was it commissioned? It was commissioned by Metro. The rail was not operating then. It took him 2 weeks to complete working 4 to 5 hours a day with student volunteers. However he was the only one painting. The mural is to be read left to right. It tells the Aztecan story of the journey of energy creating life.

I'd like to call Daniel "a writer for the people." Just how he learned writing to bond with peers, Daniel still uses his art to create relationships. The muraled apartment complex on Fannin St. was a place he used to live in. He built a relationship with his landlord. His landlord, in turn, allowed him to "pimp" out his property. On Canal St., a neighborhood convenience store has been adored with his art. In return…snacks and a friend.

So, what's your favorite Daniel Anguilu? When you are on a weekend bike ride or walk past it, please take a picture and post on social media. Then again, you can also join me on Sundays in Eado.

H-Town Run Tourist

10 Reasons why we love Buffalo Bayou Park

Author's Own

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

Aside from our hospitality and our restaurant scene, I truly believe that Houston's parks are the city's pride and joy. Let' say it together with pride, "HOUSTON PARKS ARE BADASS!" One park that stands out is Buffalo Bayou Park. It is that 160 acres of green space between Shepherd Dr. and the Mosbacher Bridge. It is An amazing networkof hike and bike trails and the best natural tourism of Houston. So many reasons to love Buffalo Bayou Park. Here are mine!

Courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership

1. It is a great place to train.

I have used Buffalo Bayou Park to train for all of my marathons. It is a great connector to other parts of the city like Downtown, the Heights and Montrose. It keeps your run interesting with hills, flowers, and wildlife. It is also a great place to add mileage to your runs.

2. So Many Awesome Events.

Buffalo Bayou is home to some of Houston's best events. These are held at resident venues such as the Bud Lite Amphitheater, Eleanor Tinsley Park, and the Water Works at Buffalo Bayou. Enjoy weekly 45 minute session of Sunrise Yoga at the Water Works. All ages and fitness levels welcome. Mark your calendar for the upcoming Houston Margarita Festival, the Houston Press Tacolandia, and Octoberfest Houston 2019.

3. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities.

It takes a lot of donations to make a place like Buffalo Bayou Park possible. $58 million in fact. Not all of us have that kind of cash lying around, but we still have two valuable resources to offer: time and energy. Buffalo Bayou Park has plenty of ways to put your good time and energy to. You can volunteer to restore and protect the lovely trails of Buffalo Bayou. You can do this by weeding and picking up debris. Every third Saturday is designated as Volunteer Day where groups and individuals are welcome to join.

Violet Coneflower

Arthor's own

4. Houston's best place for natural views, wildlife, and foliage.

One of my favorite things about running and walking in Houston, is taking pictures of trees, flowers, and natural settings. There are plenty of opportunities to do so in Buffalo Bayou Park. You have your pick: Live oak trees, wildflowers, jumping fish, even the occasional alligator. Nothing compares to the bat colony on Waugh Bridge. Whenever you are running and you smell this overwhelming stench, don't look at your running partner, its actually 250,000 Mexican bats that live under Waugh Bridge. You can see these bats emerge most nights at dusk to feast on the many bite size insects that drive us crazy.

the Kitchen at Dunlavy

Arthor's own

5. Home to the Kitchen at Dunlavy

Look past the Lost Lake and you will find a fantastical tree house restaurant called the Dunlavy. The restaurant, brought to you by Clark Cooper Concepts, serves breakfast and lunch everyday. It was voted "One of the World's Most Romantic Restaurants by CNN. To Houstonians, its the best place for weddings and Super Bowl Parties. During the day, it is counter restaurant service for breakfast and lunch. It is a go to for smoothies, breakfast bowls, croquet madame, cheese and charcuterie boards, and of course, the Dunlavy burger. But on the weekends, get there quick, because it fills up fast and you will be out there with the lily pads.

Beautiful downtown view

Arthor's own

6. The Best Downtown Views

My tourists really love taking pictures of the Downtown Skyline. Buffalo Bayou Park is home to some of my favorite views. For the best views, stop at Sabine Promenade and smaller bridges towards downtown. When you are about to walk into Downtown, don't forget to take in the amazing view from Mosbacher Bridge.

Police Officer's Memorial

Arthor's own

7. Let's honor our Fallen at the Police Officer's Memorial.

The Police Officer's Memorial. If you are traveling into Downtown from Memorial Drive, chances are you have passed this amazing structure. This memorial serves as a public recognition of sacrifices that have been made by police officers to carry out their duties. This is especially for the officers who have died in the line of duty. The memorial, including the names of over 100 fallen police officers, is made of pink granite in the shape of a Greek Cross with a pyramid for the center. You can honor these officers on the annual wreath laying ceremony.

inside the Cistern

​Katy’s Horner/Slight Clutter Photography 

8. Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

This structure, the size of one and a half football fields, lay dormant as one of Houston's best kept secrets. That was until 2015 after the reopening of Buffalo Bayou Park. The Cistern, built in 1926, was used as the city's water reservoir for drinking water storage and fire suppression. Due to a leak, it was decommissioned in 2007. Today, you can enjoy tours and photography sessions inside. It has been home to art exhibits as well like Chromointerference by Carlos Cruz Diez.

The Seven Wonders

Arthor's own

9. Oh! the Spectacular Artwork of Buffalo Bayou.

I hope you have enjoyed all of my pictures of the art in Buffalo Bayou. Here are some of my favorites that you need to look out for.

Gus S. Wortham Fountain. Also nicknamed Dandelion near Waugh Bridge. At night, this fountain lights up with alluring colors like pink, purple, and blue. It doesn't take much to see why it is called the Dandelion.

Seven Wonders. This exhibition by Mel Chin, used the art from grade school students to depict the seven pillars of Houston civilization. Agriculture. Energy. Manufacturing. Medicine. Philantropy. Technology. and Transportation.

Tolerance. This is a seven piece constellation at Montrose and Memorial. It stands for equality of all religions and nationalities of the seven continents.

The Big Bubble. This installation by Dean Ruck is a big bubble that occurs in Buffalo Bayou that is activated by a "secret button." I would say that you have to be in the know, but it has been turned off since Hurricane Harvey. Maybe one day.

10. It is resilient!

Houston was so proud at the unveiling of the park aafter its $58 million renovation. Then came Hurricane Harvey. We all saw the pictures online and on social media. They were horrible. Just like I would expect from Houstonians, we all came together and after 2300 volunteers donated 7000 man hours, 60 million pounds of sediment, 500 trail lights, 5 dump trucks full of trash and debris were removed or repaired. Over 400 native trees and 1100 flowers were planted to restore the park.

You can definitely see why we all love Buffalo Bayou Park. I can't help but think this every time I run, walk, host, or drive anywhere in or around our pride and joy!

If you want more information or have questions about Buffalo Bayou Park, email info@buffalobayou.org. BBP Instagram handle is @buffalobayou.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome