Narco culture has become a pop-culture phenomenon and why not? The world has long been obsessed with bad guys and if you disagree, then think Scarface, John Gotti, Goodfellas, and the list goes on. Keep in mind, we’re not condoning the lifestyle, but we are looking at it as a cultural influence which can’t be denied.
Wood carvings by Camp Bosworth: Can you name these drug lords? If so, you’ve been influenced by narco cultura.
There’s a certain aura about the anti-hero, the villain and the outlaw. Maybe it’s their confidence, their total disregard for the law, or maybe it’s as simple as their ability to do whatever it is the fuck they want, but in the end it’s admirable. You have to admit, there’s something much more appealing to the Joker than there is to Batman, and even when it comes to the work place, most of us find it particularly amusing to watch the corporate big mouth – that get’s away with everything.
But narco culture (narcotics culture) is even that much more intriguing and if anyone wants to argue then let me say two words: Breaking Bad. Most of us were obsessed with Walter White. We watched his transformation, started to take notice of – and pointed – to any old motorhome (while poking our passengers in excitement), and in short, he inspired and entertained us.
But if you’re keen to the streets, then you already know that the real power behind the show are the drug kingpins that ran the game – and the ones that did it in real life. In the real world of narcotics those in the know are all too familiar with names such as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Armando Fuentes, Edgar “La Barbie” Villarreal, and Jose de Jesus Vargas. These names started a cult-like following, and La Barbie pretty much single handedly made Polo shirts with oversized logos popular….because he was arrested while wearing that shirt and it made international headlines.
Yet it is that same movement which sparked a multi-million dollar music industry called “corridos”, which are tales about the drug lord lifestyle. Corridos is now a multi-million dollar industry and if you want to think more mainstream, then just think rap. Actually, it’s been the main stay of rap content for the past decade – except they rap a make believe lifestyle – which these drug lords lived. In the same breath, rappers have even taken on the names of famous drug Lords such as 50 Cent, Rick Ross and the list goes on.
That said, it comes as no surprise that it has now become an influence in art, and this artist is a great example and he does a great job. Campbell Bowsorth, is a Texan who is highly influenced by the traditions of artisans, ranging from wood workers and spur makers, to guilders and gunsmiths. But as a Texan who lives on the Mexican-American border, he has also been unavoidably influenced by Narco Corridos, the politics of the border, and the ongoing cartel wars.
Just as narco corridos tell the stories of the drug lords in song, this artist tells the same tales through his sculptures. In scale, his work mimics the cartels’ larger than life exploits, and tries to tell the stories of their accumulation of status and power, of the transformation of poverty into wealth, of campesinos into drug lords.
Enjoy his work!