ARTESANO PROJECT ADDS SOME FLAIR IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
I can’t say more good things about seeing an increase of art in urban spaces. I don’t mean white-washed into a downtown space in between clinical looking skyscrapers or in the lobby of some do-gooder office building. I want to pass something incredible on my way into the bodega; snap a picture of a mural through the thick glass of the El train window on my way to work.
This year my inbox saw a parade of press releases for festivals cropping up in India, Brazil, Canada and now I’m crushing on these pics from the ArteSano Project in the Dominican Republic. They drove me straight to Instagram see what was popping up on the streets of DR in real-time. It’s all amazing – use the hashtag #artesanoproject. I was pleasantly surprised to see works from artists like, Pixel Pancho, Axel Void, and Evoca1.
The work I’ve seen so far seems to be blending well with the culture and motifs of the neighborhoods. Feeling the culture and incorporating that into the art can create a visual conversation, a vital component when you’re coming into a new place and trying to interactive within a community. The work should find a home with them and not the other way around.
For more story and more pics, keep reading here at HAHA.
This Saturday, May 7th at 222 Broadway and beginning at 7PM in Oakland, California is artist Axel Void’s pop-up solo show “Nobody.”
“Nobody” has a pretty fantastic premise for it’s body of work. Axel tells the story: “[it’s] a show based on the life of Alvie Morris. A few years ago I painted a mural in Atlanta using a random portrait image I found on the internet as reference. I received an email from a man claiming to be the subject of the original photo months later, after the wall had been published in a magazine. A woman had recognized the likeness of her brother, Alvie. This was Alvie Morris, the person I had painted.”
“Nobody” consists of a documentary about the life of Alvie, a bust and a multitude of paintings based on him and his life. It will be a month long exhibition with pop up hours on the weekend and people can schedule private viewings outside of pop up hours by contacting Athen B. Gallery.
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Axel Void Explores the Cinematic Side of Street Art
by James Buxton
Born in Miami but brought up in Cadiz, Spain, Axel Void is carving a reputation for his startlingly cinematic murals. His enigmatic work focuses on the power of the image to suggest socially driven messages relevant to their location. An ominous atmosphere looms over his work, like the darkness before a storm on South Beach, his art is beautiful yet menacing, unsettling yet arresting. The third in a long line of talented artists and political activists, Axel Void is pioneering some of the most psychologically profound work to be found on the streets today. Surprisingly laid back and chill, I spoke to the artist to hear about returning to Miami and why he can’t sleep without watching movies.
How did you get started painting? Axel Void: There’s a tradition in my family of painting. I first started to do graffiti at the age of 12 in 1999. I guess it was a balance between traditional graffiti and classic drawing. I was born in Miami but brought up in the south of Spain in Cadiz. They took me there when I was three and I stayed there until I was 18, so most of my childhood I was in Andalusia. After that I spent three years in Berlin and then I came back to Miami, but it’s kind of weird, I feel like a foreigner here, and in Spain, I’m an American.
It must have been weird coming back to Miami and seeing Wynwood after painting on the streets of Spain. Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous. I really love it in Andalucía because it is quite traditional for artists because of religion. It’s very relaxed, all round Europe but here in Miami it feels like a lion cage, where everyone is fighting each other for this spot and it’s so different from how I lived in Europe.
So, did you start out tagging? Oh man, I had a hundred million [years ago], I was a kid, so every day I’d come up with a new one. Like now I’m gonna write ‘Ash,' now I’m gonna write 'Alma,’ all these different tags. Also I was really active and a friend of mine told me that the police had a photo of me. They did catch me once, but just tagging with a marker pen on a bench and I guess they put two and two together and figured out that I’m doing it a lot, so I was quite paranoid and I started changing names like every day. At a point I was like damn I just want to write my name, 'Alex,’ that’s what everyone called me, but I couldn’t do that, so that’s why I mixed it up and I was writing 'Axel’ for a while.
I stopped doing 3D letters and just did characters, when I was 14-15.
Looking at your work now, it’s really cinematic to me. Can we talk about your ideas and where it’s coming from? I’m making a film right now. I’ve been addicted to watching films since I was really small. I can’t go to sleep unless I’m watching a movie, well I can, it’ll just take me forever. But I watch a lot of films, I guess films and music are one of my biggest influences. Now, I’m looking forward to working more with film. I’ve done a few video pieces but now I’m working on a longer film, which should be out next year. But film has always been a big influence, it’s not only the fact that it’s film, it’s that it’s telling stories. Images tell stories but it won’t tell a story if there isn’t a story behind the image. That’s why I work with photography, it’s a real fact, it’s not just coming from your head. It’s not introspective. I like to find a way to be telling a story behind it, so I’m not just looking at the image itself but that whole thought process, who they are and what’s behind it.