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.

Recent Stories

Armed Man in Wheelchair Fires Shots into Crowd on Madison Street

An armed man in a wheelchair allegedly fired shots into a crowd of people outside a Lower East Side bodega Friday night, police said. Leroy Mensah, 28, brandished a (stolen) 9mm gun outside the Stop 1 Deli on Madison Street and Rutgers Street shortly before 10:00pm on Friday. Officers on patrol reportedly chased down the […]

City Preps East River Park Demolition Ahead of Coastal Resiliency Project

It has come to this. The southern section of East River Park is now fenced off, ready for its destruction and rebirth. Barely a week after a temporary restraining order in place since November was overturned on appeal, the city is now ready to begin resiliency work inside East River Park. Fences are up and […]

Homeless Shelter for Chinatown Elderly Planned for East Broadway

Following a trend set during the pandemic, a former Chinatown hotel will soon be reborn as a homeless shelter. Nonprofits Asian Americans for Equality and Care for the Homeless have partnered to create the new “Safe Haven” facility, located in the former Hotel 91 on East Broadway. According to its FAQ mailer, the new safe […]

LES Father Charged in Toddler Son’s Death After Drugs Found in System

Police arrested a Lower East Side man yesterday in connection with the death of his 22-month-old son who had drugs in his system, according to the NYPD. The city’s medical examiner determined last month that the toddler – Charles Rosa-Velloso – suffered acute intoxication from fentanyl and cocaine. Police subsequently ruled it a homicide. Now, […]

Appeals Court Overturns Restraining Order that Halted East River Park Resiliency Work

The community-led effort to permanently halt destruction of East River Park for coastal resilience took a major blow this week. An appellate court ruled Tuesday that the $1.45 billion project can move forward after a month-long hiatus. On Tuesday, the Appellate Division, First Department upheld the lower court’s decision, and overturned the temporary restraining in […]