Though his art can be spotted across the globe, artist Mas Paz calls Arlington home.
Mas Paz, whose real name is Federico Frum, describes his work as indigenous contemporary art, using graffiti and standard bucket paint as his media.
“I started kind of playing with this indigenous typography kind of style, which wasn’t graffiti letters but more like line work letters,” Frum said of his early graffiti tagging days during a trip to Brazil. “[It] kind of looked like maybe Mayan hieroglyphic lines with actually letters. So that was really fun.”
His work has been featured at the Smithsonian Institution, the Corcoran Gallery Art, and New York City’s The New Museum, but his murals can be found as far away as Pakistan and Mexico and as closeby as Crystal City. Frum has traveled the world to teach mural workshops, and in February he was invited by the American embassy in El Salvador to teach children how to paint street murals.
Born in Bogota, Colombia, Frum — whose pseudonym means “more peace” in Spanish — was adopted when he was a year old and raised in Arlington. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in art and visual technology in 2005.
Frum moved to Brooklyn a year after graduating, living there for seven years while selling t-shirts on the street in between 3D modeling and screen printing. He then traveled through South America before returning to Arlington ready to come home. He now works out of his house in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood.
“I was really hungry to do a lot of projects here in D.C.,” Frum said. “I’m so happy I’m back here and it’s so cool I can keep it rooted so that where I come from I represent, but also go to places, other countries, or go to other cities and do a lot of work.”
Mas Paz initially started as just Paz, his New York graffiti tag. That was before his friend Youth Waste approached him to create his own stickers, and Paz didn’t fit neatly on the square template that they wanted. That’s when Frum decided to send more of a message, adding the mas to paz. Frum also wanted a message so in 2012 when he added Mas Paz, which translates to more peace in English, he had found the right fit and meaning.
Indigenous art has become a way for Frum to express and explore who he is, even though there are pieces of him he will never truly know, such as where exactly he was born. Five percent of all his project earnings go toward the orphanage that he lived in as a child, La Casa de La Madre y El Nino.
There are no days off for Frum, but he says that it never feels like he’s working when he’s making art. The work makes the days fly by, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“I intend to be 90 years old and still creating,” he said.
Abingdon Closed Due to Asbestos Issue — Abingdon Elementary, which is undergoing an expansion and renovation project, is closed today due to an asbestos incident on Tuesday. “This afternoon an error was made by one of the subcontractors working on the Abingdon Elementary School project who did not appropriately handle the removal of asbestos,” parents were told in an email yesterday. “As a result, since it was close to dismissal time APS Facilities staff immediately contacted the school to have all students and staff shelter in place in their classrooms to limit movement throughout the school for the remainder of the day.” APS will conduct testing to determine whether the school can reopen Thursday.
Graffiti PSA From ACPD — Arlington County Police is reminding the public that graffiti on either public or private property should be reported to the police non-emergency line, at 703-558-2222. “Graffiti is not a new problem in Arlington but something ACPD needs your help with,” the department said. ACPD’s Gang Unit reviews all graffiti reports. [Arlington County]
Man Charged With Secretly Filming Sexual Encounter — A former Oregon congressional candidate has been charged in Arlington with secretly recording a video of himself having sex with a 22-year-old woman in his apartment. Jim Feldkamp, 53, most recently worked as an adjunct professor at George Mason University, and the woman was a student there, according to news reports. [Register-Guard, KVAL]
Metro Workers Meet at Arlington Church — A group of Metro workers met last night in an Arlington church to discuss planned budget cuts and service reductions. Said one former bus operator: “Virginia should be outraged. This is going to cause of catastrophe. All of these cuts in Virginia, it’s already gridlock.” [WJLA]
Favola Gets in Knife Fight in Richmond — State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) is speaking out against a bill that would make it legal for family members to give several types of knives — a switchblade, Bowie knife and a dirk — to children. Currently, family members can give kids guns but not those types of knives. “This is just bad public policy,” Favola said of the bill, which narrowly passed. “Why would you want to put our children at risk?” [Washington Post]
Someone spray painted “heil Trump,” “KKK” and two poorly drawn swastikas on a dumpster in north Arlington over the weekend, but neighbors quickly painted over the graffiti and turned it into symbols of love and peace.
Neighbors first spotted the graffiti on a dumpster in front of a house under renovation on the 5300 block of Little Falls Road Sunday morning, a couple of blocks from Yorktown High School.
“It’s very shocking,” said Daphne Lathouras, who lives near where the vandals struck. “That’s the gut reaction that one has when this kind of thing happens.”
Lathouras said the owners of the property are currently not residing in the home but posted about the hateful graffiti on Facebook.
“There seems to be a boys-will-be-boys kind of consensus among people about this, which is very alarming,” Lathouras added. “But boys should behave better. ”
Neighbors used orange paint to paint over the messages Sunday afternoon, according to Lathouras. Late last night, someone once again tagged the dumpster with spray paint — this time, though, with hearts, a peace symbol and the word “love.”
On the Yorktown Civic Association Facebook page, neighbors debated whether the intent of the original graffiti was hate — or a youthful prank.
“Some kids from Yorktown HS or Williamsburg MS trying to get a rise out of you,” said one resident. “Chill! Don’t give the kids the satisfaction they are looking for.”
“I’m sorry, but hate speech is never ever ever something to ‘chill’ about,” responded another, “No matter the origin or presumed intent.”
Lathouras said on Facebook that she was told by police, “this is happening all over Arlington” and “it’s anti-Trump kids trying to get a rise out of people.” Arlington County Police, meanwhile, released the following crime report about the incident.
GRAFFITI, 2017-01080091, 5300 block of Little Falls Road. At approximately 11:43 a.m. on January 8, police were dispatched to the report of graffiti. Upon arrival, officers located a rented construction dumpster with ‘KKK,’ ‘Heil Trump’ and a swastika spray painted on it. There are no suspect(s) descriptions and the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department at 703-558-2222. Tips can also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.
Arlington County Police are trying to figure out who is responsible for a series of racist and homophobic graffiti along the Bluemont Junction Trail and around the Boulevard Manor neighborhood.
The graffiti was first spotted last night along the trail, with the N-word and the F-word spray-painted on the trail and other graffiti on rocks and on a trampoline at a nearby property, according to scanner traffic. It was reported that a group of teenagers was responsible for the graffiti, but police were unable to locate the group at the time.
This morning, more graffiti was found around the Boulevard Manor neighborhood, immediately west of the trail.
“At approximately 5:30 a.m., an unknown suspect(s) vandalized numerous items in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood of Arlington,” wrote Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The vandalism included destruction of property and graffiti.”
“This series is similar to the vandalism on the Bluemont trail yesterday and detectives are investigating whether or not these are linked,” Savage told ARLnow.com. “The graffiti included various derogatory terms to include swastikas, N-word and homosexual slangs. This is an ongoing and active investigation and will include determining if this could be a hate crime.”
The vandalism was widespread around the neighborhood, including properties on the following streets, according to police.
- 6000 block of 4th Street N.
- 100 block N. Nottingham Street
- Unit block of N. Montague Street (at Washington Blvd)
- 500 block of N. Montague Street
- 400 block N. Lombardy
- 200 block of N. Nottingham Street
- 500 block of N. Lombardy Street
Along the Bluemont trail, neighbors said the vandals damaged the trail and some neighborhood landmarks.
“I’ve lived here for 40-something years and when I saw the blue on the rocks down here, these rocks have been there forever,” said Debbie Cowell. “If I saw somebody doing it, I definitely would have said something.”
“I have no idea who did it, my guess is kids,” said William Pearson. “A couple years ago this wouldn’t have happened. I think because of the influx of families, my guess it that it’s teenagers being teenagers.”
Additional reporting and photos by Adrian Cruz and Jackie Friedman.