“My spirit was aching,” said Remix, a street artist based in Mexico City, when thinking about making his living as a job selling supplies to local restaurants.
It’s hard to imagine Remix, host of Paint a Mural with a Street Artist in Mexico City, with anything but a beaming smile. On his tour of street art, where guests try their hand at being a street artist for the day, he’s upbeat, positive, and always ready to give a fist bump to one of his wide-eyed guests. But he wasn’t always this cheerful. When he thinks back to the time before he was making his living as a host and artist, selling dry goods to restaurants in Mexico City, he reflects, “I wasn’t solving anything.”
“There was a moment in my life when I had my own business, but I didn’t have time to create art. I saw many other artists gaining exposure around the world. I started to think, ‘I deserve the same thing!’ So I decided to quit. The fire burning inside me was too wild to tame.”
Now Remix leads multiple experiences on Airbnb, sells his art, and travels the world painting murals—a dream career for this street art ‘rock star’. For this week’s host spotlight, we sat down to learn more about how Remix builds such a transformative five-star experience.
On creating an authentic experience
“I’ve been doing street art since I was 14 years old, more than half my life. This is not a hobby, this is a life, a lifestyle, for me. When I was younger doing street art, no one could imagine that this would be something tourists would be interested in.
Now there are lots of tours, but not everyone has had the true experience of street artists. We climb walls! We get chased! We know what it’s like to really be part of this community. A lot of people don’t really know about the adventures we have.
So I came up with the idea to not just show you the art but really let you know what it’s like to be a street artist. I take [guests] to buy their own spray paint, I show them how to spray paint on the walls. I introduce them to other the street artists. I teach them to paint like they are one of us, you know. I think having people paint is much more unique than just looking at street art. I look for tours like mine, not only in Mexico City but all around the world and I have never seen this on a single tour.”
On valuing your time and setting your price
“In the three hours it takes to host an experience, I think about how these three hours could be spent. I could be finishing up a painting or making my portfolio better. I could be taking a course. So I should set a fair price for my time.
But also, these experiences make me happy, you know. It’s not only about money. In this time my guests and I laugh a lot, and they love it. The type of people that do street art tours are really open-minded; they’re really interested in this. And when I tell them we’re going to paint they are excited! When I’m older and I look back at my time, I’m going to remember these moments and think, ‘Wow. I’m so grateful. I am really grateful for all of them. I feel a lot of love towards the people I meet because they allow me to do this.’”
On handling unexpected chaos
“I am the kind of person who, when I believe there’s a great idea, I stay super positive. There is nothing that can stop me. I love trying something new and experiencing new things.
Sometimes there’ll be chaos, and I’ll feel like I don’t know how to navigate the waters for a minute. I think, ‘Oh no! This boat is going to sink!’ And then I remember, I have done this before and it always turns out ok. This is just a short period of time, where everything feels like it’s chaos, but don’t worry, you will get through it. Remember the times you’ve been through in the past, bad times, you can do this.
I believe that if you make a big deal when difficult situations you didn’t expect happen, then people are going to care. If you don’t, and you act as if everything is fine, and you are able to go on with a positive and friendly attitude, the guests won’t care either! As a host, you are the one leading the experience, be a great leader and people will follow happily.”
On being a 5-star host
“I always come up with new ideas. For example, a few months ago I came up with the idea of teaching people how to read graffiti letters. They love having this new way of looking at art and being able to actually read street art. They take that skill home with them.
I also think about accepting and understanding the personality of the group. I have been in groups where there is an introverted person, and I meet them where they are. I am usually very upbeat, but sometimes you have to meet people where they are, energy-wise.
People just want to feel taken care of. I’ll take the time to tell them they are doing a great job. And I’ll let them make whatever kind of art they want to make. There are no boundaries. I’ll make people feel important, like everything they do and say on the experience matters. I’ll acknowledge them with a fist bump.”
On feeling inspired by guests
“It’s beautiful to watch people paint. It’s beautiful because these are people with different mindsets. Even though they may have different beliefs, in these moments, there is nothing that is dividing them. They are just having a lot of fun. They don’t notice, but I’ll be looking at them and I can see how they’re discovering how to paint thin lines all on their own.”
Remix has made deep connections with his guests and shows no signs of slowing down. He even met up with some of his past experience “street art students” in Austin, Texas, where they gave him a tour of local graffiti and were able to read graffiti thanks to the skills they learned from their time on his experience. If you’re ever in Mexico City, be sure you learn to Paint a Mural with a Street Artist—and get ready to be inspired!