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Panimaniacs: Pimp My Ride Panama City

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January 11th, 2010

panama art CarlosAlvarezEspinosa Panimaniacs: Pimp My Ride Panama City

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those buses that nobody uses or are considered too old and unsafe for school use? Wonder no more. Apparently they all go to Panama! Unused and unwanted buses end up in Panama and are then converted into public transportation vehicles for urban areas. If that were the end of the story, one might say “That’s nice. They help out the less fortunate.”  This is much more than that. This is riding in style. Call it: Pimp My Ride: Panama City Edition. These neglected and worn down vehicles are ” fantastically refashioned” with designs and imagery painted on all available surfaces by  veteran artists and newbies alike. Horns, thumping music, screeching breaks and high speeds are also de rigueur for these urban starships as the name “diablo rojos” or “red devils” suits them in every way. (By the way, how many things get that nickname anyway..ever hear of those vicious squids near Mexico?)

The artists who paint these creations are mostly working-class artists who see themselves as competitors, as boxers, in a way. ( That’s just how I love art – competitive!) Of course though, they don’t just work on buses, especially since their popularity is declining, but they do however paint murals on houses, design store fronts and take commission work where they can. The life of an artist in Panama seems to be that idyllic version you always hear about in old stories of days gone by. Me, I prefer a little more security with my art..Even if it is a little freelance work here and there. But I guess that’s just the fun of it for them. No matter the future of theses awesomely delightful creations, one thing remains true…The Panama City artists or Panamaniacs as I have dubbed them will keep the art alive.. Long live the Panamaniacs!

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