Vegan Bunnies is a graffiti artist and a member of the HATELOVERS crew (Female power Graffiti Collective). She was born in Peru and is now based in Barcelona. Since Vegan Bunnies is an active traveller, her works can be spotted in many European cities.
What is the philosophy of Vegan Bunnies?
First of all, it is about the struggle for animal rights as well as for human rights. I admit that I also try to get people to know my graffiti. Graffiti is something that allows me to be free. I want people to engage with my social networks where I expose my personality. Sometimes people do not like my posts. It seems that everyone wants to read about great stories. The only admirable thing are people who fight and win – those stories people like to hear. But many times it is not that perfect. Like in my case, I have been suffering from depression for a long time.
It is not easy for me to get up every day. I would like people to understand what it is to be an insecure woman with a depression. I seek to empathize with someone who is not like those great examples of positivity and would like people to stop judging mental illness. My struggle now is the right to live with what I have without being pressured or called negative or depressing, because this alone gets more down the person who suffers.
Another struggle is to stop categorizing women by their physical appearance. I fight for being equally valuable because I paint, among other things, and that makes me a beautiful person. Lately I haven’t been painting about the issues I mentioned above. It has been a complicated phase in my life. What I want the most is to be admired for what I am – a woman with insecurities and depression, yet fighting.
I also want to remind people that animals are not things to use or consume as if they don’t have any kind of feelings. My works are also about gentrification and mass tourism, both harmful to cities, making areas economically inaccessible to local people. I fight for the right to occupy abandoned places and give them a use. And I fight for girls like me. Together with my crew the HATELOVERS we have created a place where women shine for their talents, not for physical beauty.
You use paint, stickers and paste-ups. When did you start working on the streets?
I use everything that inspires me to create something. I do not remember the exact date when I began, but I have been doing this for years now.
Why did you start creating?
Because I wanted to say something and share my respect for the animals. I realized that I needed to say more. Painting graffiti for me is recovering the freedom of my mind and body which are colonized by the fascist beauty patterns.
Why do you think girls/women paint graffiti less than boys/men?
I’m not sure it’s like this anymore. The last workshops we’ve done, there were more girls than boys. But if I think few years back, maybe the boys treated the girls as if they were not capable of doing graffiti, and many girls had to fight their way but what I see now is that more girls are encouraged to paint graffiti. Nowadays more guys want to paint with girls. I hope it’s not just for the interest on girls, because sometimes you read comments like “I want a graffiti girlfriend” and it’s not bad, I’m not complaining, but there’s always more than a graffiti artist in a woman.
Does being a woman give you advantages as a painter?
It’s going to sound crazy but I can’t say if it has given me advantages or disadvantages. If we consider this question globally, there still are more paintings of naked women than paintings made by women in museums.
When you are outside on the street painting, what are you feeling?
Freedom. Forgetting my insecurities, my problems, my dilemmas. And if I am with my friends I feel admiration for the group of strong women around me.
You are a vegan and a woman. In your opinion, why are there more vegan women than vegan men in this world?
I had no idea that there were more vegan women than men! But I can imagine, there are many things that men have made me go through and I think they lack empathy and are less sensitive, but this is of course something related to my personal experiences. But surely there are lots of boys and men who are different.
Do you know other artists who promote veganism with their works?
I’ve seen artists on the sideways but I’m very bad with names, I can’t even remember the artists I like the most, so I think that there are some and it’s great.
What do you want to achieve with your works?
I want to put a smile on people’s face, that is what the Vegan Bunnies do in the street. With my more reflective works I want people to put themselves in my place. I’m shy, and even if I’m not a hippie ultra happy positive, I have a lot to offer. And clearly, I seek to convey my fight for animal rights among others.
Have you ever been to Scandinavia? In my hometown Helsinki, there is a VEGAN food kiosk called BUNNY. You should come and try their specialties?
No, I have never been there but I hope with my art I will be able to visit more cities.