Of Saints and Sinners: In Conversation with Jose ‘Cochise’ Quiles

Posted on: December 29th, 2020 at 5:07 am by

Boogie fam, it is with great fanfare that I introduce you to our newest interview subject. Cochise – an artist, a lifelong Lower East Sider, and a man with a powerful message.

Cochise recently opened his first solo show at Public Access, Leo Fitzgerald’s new gallery on St. Mark’s Place. The art exhibition was titled, “From Gangs To Grace  – Life In The Underworld.” He was kind enough to join us for a conversation about his work. The accompanying photos from the event show attendees like Cochise’s dear friend, and photographer, Clayton Patterson, Filmmaker Ben Solomon, Graffiti writer, Kunle from the IRAK graffiti crew, Tony Valentine from the Superior Ones Club, Rolling 30 Crips, Almighty Black P Stone Nation, Artist Medi Matin. There are also images of some of the art from the show.

Cochise’s street gang was the Satan’s Sinners Nomads. As you will hear in the interview below, he grew up in St. Mark’s Place (coming full circle with his first solo show in his childhood neighborhood). You might recall our piece about the history of St. Mark’s “Hardly A Saint in Sight.” That 2012 title felt true here. Little did I know then, that same year, Cochise would return to St. Marks after serving time for crimes of his past. A changed man, and surely no longer Satan’s Sinner. His outreach to the city’s youth – telling his story through art to deter kids from gang life and street violence – is more akin to a saint than a sinner. Then again, as so aptly sung by one of the greatest lyricist of all time (don’t @me) “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than die with saints.” Apparently, Cochise, Billy Joel and I have more in common than initially thought in this regard.

1993, the Shack (Casita). Photo by Clayton Patterson

Without further ado, Cochise x Bowery Boogie: Saints and Sinners:

(All photos in this article are printed courtesy of Cochise, Leo Fitzpatrick and Clayton Patterson)

As always, ah, New York. My stunning and gritty, sparkling and filthy, tremendous, transcendent metropolis. You were forged by the keepers of secrets and those secrets I plan to find and reveal, one brick at a time. Bless up.

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