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Artists flourish at ABQ Artwalk, in local practices

The first Friday of every month, artists take over downtown Albuquerque with their locally made art while live music drifts through the streets and tasty smells from food trucks waft through the air. The most recent ABQ Artwalk was held on March 4 and many local artists attended to show off what they have created over the years.

Bearface, a local artist, has “been part of Artwalk since day one,” which was in 2017. He has been practicing art since he was a teenager and is currently passionate about creating abstract art. He wants everyone to try their hand at art.

“If you don't do art, do it just for fun sometimes, even if you're bad at it,” Bearface said.

Artist Kayy Blackwood, owner of KayyArkham, is a tattoo and logo designer who has been selling her art at Artwalk since March 2020 in front of the Man’s Hat Shop after developing a close relationship with the store owner. After dropping out of college with money from designing tattoos, Blackwood started KayyArkham and now has a diverse customer base.

“I've had clients in Norway, Ireland, Kuwait, and I've designed stuff for one of the Queen's guards in England,” Blackwood said.

Bearface described his main cartoon character as “one of the mascots for downtown Artwalk.” It’s a stylized person in a bear suit meant to capture the love in people, which may lie deep beneath the surface, according to Bearface. He said this cartoon represents a unified people, regardless of who they are or what they look like.

“A person in a (bear) costume … the idea behind it is that he's very cuddly and loving, just as any other person can be. Even if they're a really terrible person, they have some kind of love or some kind of need for cuteness in their soul or their lives,” Bearface said.

Diego Figueroa, also known as Da Real Sprayz, is a spray paint artist and has been selling at Artwalk for nearly a year. He enjoys using eye-catching fluorescent colors, which he’s found to catch attention at Artwalk.

“I favor actually a lot of the fluorescent colors. So that's what really attracts the people out here at our walk,” Figueroa said.

Blackwood, on the other hand, likes abstract realism.

I like to (create an) abstract type of realism … stuff that you wouldn't normally see together. But it's extremely realistic,” Blackwood said. 

Bearface hopes to continue experimenting with his artwork to try different styles and avoid artistic boredom.

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“I'm hoping to develop and get better and create more … try something new,” Bearface said.

Mackenzie Schwartz is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @mackenzid5

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