I'm going to make good on my one New Year's resolution and write a post about my store, Mil Muros Graffiti. Not because I'm feeling particularly virtuous (I'm drowning in virtue after signing up for the road race), but because I got an email from a family member curious to know more about the shop I'd been scheming to put together for months and is now finally a reality. So as promised, here we go!
I've been planning this opening for some time:
My life is very different from what it was a few months ago.
No more going to bed at 3 AM, no more starting work at 10 PM, no more getting up at 12 or 1. I wouldn't say I get up early, but I open the store at 10 AM every day and I'm there until 6, which means I can get things done- I'm trapped there for the most part, which is a good thing. I'm usually a yawning shambles by about 11 PM, which for me is ridiculously early. I am also out of the house for most of the day for the first time in a couple years, which feels great. The store is only a couple minutes walk from the house (which is also good), but that quarter mile or so makes a huge difference. The store is generally much quieter than our street.
I've started to establish a routine, which is still in need of refinement. The most rewarding bit for me has been the daily drawing: every day I spend about 15 minutes drawing something from life, something I haven't done for years. I really wanted to get my drawing chops back together, and although the results are still pretty middling at this point, I figure I'll get there eventually. I've also discovered you really can't draw much in fifteen minutes, but that's what I've allotted myself for now.
As for customers, they are sporadic at best. I sometimes get only one a day, occasionally none. Sometimes a customer shows up and buys 300 reais worth of paint, sometimes more. There have been a couple days where I've made several of these sales. But that's okay - eventually I want to focus more on the advertising and building up the customer base, but one of my main objectives was to have big blocks of uninterrupted time to work on the computer, and I am getting those.
There has been a large amount of set-up involved, from building counters and shelving to purchasing inventory. This is winding down now. I actually enjoy the building part immensely, I don't consider myself a carpenter by any means but I like cutting wood and nailing it together, particularly if I can wrangle square corners and level surfaces.
But enough boring text, let's look at some pictures!
This is pretty much what you see when you walk in to the store. The paint rack on the left holds about 700 cans of paint when full. The table with the computer is generally where you'll find me, although I plan to build a nicer work station which will be at the far right of this image. The big green painting was done by my friend Sins, who was the owner of the Salvador graffiti shop Bomb Bahia back in the day. All the boxes are from a big order of fancy Spanish paint that just arrived on Saturday. The guy with the crazy tie in the back is actually a vinyl sticker, done by Naara Nascimento.
The store is split in two by this counter, which separates the customers from the merchandise, very much intentionally. I built the counter around the glass display case that I bought from a store that was going out of business in our neighborhood. A fresh coat of paint and it's like new! The counter tops are also re-purposed - they are the doors to a wardrobe that had been tossed out on my street.
The same counter, from the merchandise side. I ended up with lots of shelves, but wish more of them were glass fronted for display purposes.
Possibly my greatest triumph in building the counter, that the two halves are flush with each other, and level! Customers are welcome to doodle or write their tags on the counter top - I figure I'll re-paint it from time to time.
Here's a better view of my work station and the paint rack. As much paint as the dern thing will hold, I needed more space for this latest shipment of paint, so I had to build some more shelving. Actually, if I had all the paint available from the three brands I am stocking, I would need probably three of these paint racks!
Here's the new shelving I built this past week. Plywood and ripão, which is a standard measurement of wood here - no 2 x 4's in Salvador. Very sturdy providing no termites get at it. The stencil in the back is of some famous TV personality from back in the 90's. I was sorry to cover him up, but I'm afraid I'll need to cover up more paintings if the store continues to grow.
I bought this magazine rack from the same store as the display case. Magazine sales are sluggish at best, but without them I wouldn't look like a very serious graffiti shop. I also hope to have more books available eventually.
I invited some of my graffiteiro friends to paint up the store. These were done by Core and his girlfriend Rebeca Silva.
Painting on the left by Dimak and on the right by Marcos Costa. Hey, almost all of these guys have blogs! Dimak is actually co-owner of one of my competitors, but we get along well. I used to sell their paint on my website back when I was just starting out. The site, by the way, is generating almost zero sales these days.
Finally, I have a whole other back room that is almost empty at this point. It does have these lovely shelves for my back-stock. The view out the window is of some air conditioners- worse than the view from my house.
Well, there you have it. Mission accomplished - I can now say I fulfilled all my New Year's resolutions. And for all of you clamoring for news of the store, you are now informed!