Paes, a San Antonio, Texas native, is a tattoo artist of 20 years and graffiti artist of 26. He moved his tattoo studio, Creator Supreme, from a spot near North Academy Boulevard to its
current Knob Hill location around the start of 2018, and he’s been pushing efforts to beautify the neighborhood ever since.
“It’s a lot of local businesses with owners that own the buildings,” he says, which simplifies the permissions he needs to put up a mural. “I walked up and down the block from Circle to Union, and I’d say about 90 percent of the business owners I talked to were down with the project.”
He’s been collaborating with a swath of local artists to create what he’s dubbed the Knobhill Urban Arts District. When we speak, he’s working on the backdrop for a portrait of Jimi Hendrix by artist Molly McClure, on the side of The Bomb Headshop. There’s even crossover with studio art; he says Bemis School of Art instructor Gabriella Larsen Doussett is collaborating with artists Optik and Muji on a piece. Paes hints at other local names but declines to offer specifics.
To promote the effort, Paes has organized a free arts festival to take place in the parking lot between the building he shares with Acme Pawn and the adjacent furniture store. Attendees can expect a family-friendly vibe with live music, food trucks, art vendors and opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the murals with some of the muralists, all in the name of #719culture, the tag he and collaborators are using to promote the area.
So far, Paes has noticed a change in the traffic near his studio. As a rule, drivers used to pass through without a second thought. But lately, he’s seen more and more families and young people pulling their cars over, getting out and enjoying the art.
“I’ve been down there for like eight months now, and over the last two months we’re seeing that on a daily basis.”