Christian Caraballo. Lyrical Censorship. Age 17. 2013 Gold Medal, Art Portfolio.

Christian Caraballo. Lyrical Censorship. Age 17. 2013 Gold Medal, Art Portfolio.

Christian Caraballo.Vroom Street. Age 17. 2013 Gold Medal, Art Portfolio.

Christian Caraballo.Vroom Street. Age 17. 2013 Gold Medal, Art Portfolio.

Christian Caraballo won a Scholastic Award Portfolio Gold Medal this year for 8 great works of art, all (with the exception of a self-portrait) depicting parts of a city that have been adorned with the tags of graffiti artists. Included with his portfolio was an unusual artist’s statement – a rap song explaining the intricate connection between his passions: MCing, hip-hop culture, and painting! Read on to find out how Christian makes art about words, and uses those words to speak about art.

Does his work speak to you? Let us know in the comments below!

Artist’s Statement (excerpt)

As I sit here writing with this pen,
I reminisce about how it all began,
at the young age of five,
I found myself living in a world I couldn’t define,
I grabbed a pencil and pad,
to duplicate the actions I’ve witnessed from my dad,
imagination leaked,
at a young age I peaked,
before I could speak,
I had this artistic talent inside of me,
that many were excited to see,
with influences like Richard Estes,
‘n Sheppard Fairey,
my skill an understanding failed to cease,
and increased my understanding,
of who I wanted to be,
as I grew older I realized I was a sick mc,
making music was my new talent,
made pictures with my words,
those who listened would see,
I connected to the streets,
a lone boy,
abducted by the city scene,
art and music,
nothing could intervene,
so I had them combined,
best of both worlds,
my life felt complete,
envisioning dark alleys, bright lights, graffiti on signs, ‘n cold concrete,
it altered my mind,
and spoke to me,
it was a part of the hip hop culture,
I wanted to incorporate ‘n make myself apart of …
I realized all this time and effort would be worth it,
although my technique still isn’t perfect ,
no kneaded eraser, is needed to erase the errors I’ve made
I’ve learned from mistakes…
While writing lyrics at night, making hits I couldn’t give up,
For both my art and music, long nights I’ve stayed up,
Projects to get done, and performances to help gain funds,
I never stopped or gave up for a second; I’ll always strive to be the best,
First not second.


If you happen to live in a city, you’ll find that you’re constantly surrounded by ads that tell you what to eat, what to look like, and how to spend your money. Graffiti artists and taggers are a counter-movement to our materialistic culture. They write on walls, lampposts, and mailboxes, anonymously and for free. They don’t ask us to spend or to change, they just ask us to stop and observe. When we look at their work, parts of the city that may go unnoticed are suddenly accentuated. Christian’s paintings take the work of the tagger to the next level. They protest against those who see graffiti as visual pollution and crime. Instead, he chooses to beautify and intensify its qualities.

Now we’re asking you to show us a part of the world as only you can see it. Send it to us at and we’ll share it on our Tumblr page!

Check out the rest of Christian’s winning portfolio here.


1 comment

  1. Lisa

    this is a great post and when you click on “Artist’s Statement” and see and hear Christian perform it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!!

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