Meet the homie  and CDH Chalk Dad, Jose Frias II.

I came across his work on IG and knew I wanted to give him some shine.  He combines his street art with a heart for families who live through the challenges of congenital illnesses.

Check out our interview below and show some love by following his page.

1. Tell me about your family.

My family consist of my wife Liz, our two young boys Zechariah(2yo) and Luis(7yo) and our angel Mateo.

2. Where were you raised and how did that impact your worldview?

I was raised in the Bay, as well as San Diego CA. This was during the 80’s/early 90’s. The bay was a melting pot. There were filipinos, hispanics, Samoans, Chinese, Vietnamese, African Americans etc… at the same time I would visit my father, who lived in San Diego, for holidays. San Diego at that time was completely different then the Bay. San Diego was predominantly Hispanic and African American, and each group stayed separate. San Diego at this time was also the meth capital. It was interesting growing up this way. The Bay seemed to be a fairy land where families had no troubles. San Diego seemed to be a struggle. I would go through neighborhoods overran by crack houses. I remember a police officer getting beat in our alley behind our house, addicts passed out in the middle of the day on sidewalks, pimps beating their women nightly. It was a harsh reality for a child. Although life is beautiful there is also a very dark side to balance that beauty.

Life is what you make it. You are not a product of your environment. I could have easily gone down the path so many of my homies did but I chose not to. I believe some people just don’t know how to access or use the tools given by society for self improvement.

3. How did you become an artist?

I remember riding through hoods in San Diego and seeing hit ups on the walls and thinking “I want to do that but better!!” I started bombing abandoned buildings in my hood. My father lived on Menlo ave in East side San Diego at the time, so there were plenty of canvases to choose from.

 

4. How did becoming a Dad change your life.

Becoming a dad was/is the highlight of my life. All the partying had to stop. It was good because I wasn’t living the healthiest lifestyle. This was the reason I had been waiting for to shape up. In order for your children to be good hardworking, loving people they have to be shown. And if you don’t live it, you can’t practice it.

5. How did the chalk art start?

Started the Chalk Art a few months after we lost Mateo. I was angry and my wife was broken. We didn’t really communicate our feelings. She would withdraw into our room and I would escape to outside and just sit. Then one day it just hit me. We lived on a busy street in San Jose at the time. I went to the 99cent store down the street and bought some chalk.

I returned like a mad hatter, I remember just going at it on our driveway. My hands began to bleed but I didn’t feel any pain, just anger. I began to cry thinking of all the pain my son, Mateo, had gone through. I remember thinking of all the activities I would not be allowed to do with Mateo. When i finished that first mural I remember standing and feeling a heavy weight being lifted. It was as if this was my therapy. I then did a mural every weekend. Kids began to stop by, cars would stop in the middle of the road. People would take pictures. It was perfect My therapy was spreading a message to many people. I also began to enter chalk festivals. My murals/message would travel the world!!! it was/is a great feeling knowing our sons legacy lives on.

6. How did the skateboard project start? What’s the goal? How many do we have to sell?

CDHdecks was born from trying to find a new way to represent our son as well as CDH. There are other organizations who have shirts wrist bands etc… but none of these items seemed to be geared toward a younger audience. The kids are our future so I thought what better way to get them interested in CDH then playing into their likes. Maybe one of these kids will be so intrigued that they will become a physician with a passion to figure a better way to treat children with CDH. My goal is that everyone will be educated in the causes as well as the effects of CDH. We don’t have a monetary goal. We just want to educate and raise awareness. All funds are recycled back into the program to create more decks and provide meals for Mateo’s Meals.

7) How can people get involved?

There are organizations who have hospital packs which include basic toiletries, parking passes for the hospitals etc.. We ask that people research CDH organizations in their areas to see how they can personally help. There is Nayeli Faith Foundation, Breath Of Hope, Cherubs, and Project Sweet Pea to name a few. Each of these organizations helped us through our journey. For us we ask people to spread our cause. We ask people to share our story so our sons memory will live on.

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