Inside the studio of Uriginal aka Uri Martinez as he prepares for ‘Sweet Rage’ showing at The Brand Library & Art Center for NEXUS III
Since the beginning of the new millennium, a street art scene in Barcelona, Spain emerged and has quickly become one of the most vibrant in Europe. Among many Spanish urban artists who gained wide recognition and acclaim is Uriginal, a Barcelona-based creative who became known for his pieces inspired by historical masterpieces and popular imagery. He brings to life the famous subjects of iconic paintings by utilizing bright colors and bold lines, along with the use of a kaleidoscope geometric pattern throughout many of his artworks. His pieces grace the walls throughout Barcelona.
Influenced by individualized and distinctive style of the most famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí – especially his multicolored mosaics – Uriginal has developed a unique aesthetics and style that goes from the reinvention of Marvel Comics heroes to Pop Art to the characters of Star Wars, from Spanish painting or flamenco to the Barcelona Graffiti scene. He describes himself as “the son of a matador from high Ampurdán and a florist from the Ramblas of Barcelona” whose dream from childhood has been to become the national “King of paella”.
His characters are tessellated mosaics, seemingly in constant alteration, as if they were appearing or disappearing. The vivid color, humor, and irrepressible creativity, are all part of Uriginal’s alluring visual language.
Inside the studio of The Perez Bros as they prepare for ‘More Bounce’ showing at The Brand Library & Art Center for NEXUS III.
The Perez Bros are identical twin brothers Alejandro and Vicente (born 1994) from South Gate, CA. After graduating from South East High School, they attended Otis College of Art and Design to pursue a degree in Fine Art focusing on painting. At Otis is where they began working as a collaborative duo.
They were exposed to the car culture in Los Angeles at a very young age. Their father has been a part of a lowrider car club for as long as they can remember. They are fascinated with the culture, from the cars to the models, to the people and the music. Through their paintings, they try and capture certain moments that they see when they attend car shows, that personify the experience for them. Larger paintings seem to capture the mood and feeling of these car events, while smaller paintings tend to capture more intimate events. Through their paintings, they hope to make the viewer feel as if they were attending a car show.
Inside the studio of Yosuke Ueno for ‘Majestic Parade’ showing at The Brand Library & Art Center for NEXUS III.
A self-taught painter based out of Tokyo, Yosuke Ueno is known for his imaginative, character-driven worlds created in symbolic pursuit of innocence, hope, and positivity. These loosely narrative-based paintings evolve intuitively, the artist’s approach to his compositions seldom premeditated, preferring instead to embrace the creative tangents of his subconscious. By allowing the process of painting to dictate the outcome, the works host a recurring cast of playful creatures, hybrids, and psychotropic fantasies. The artist, amidst these playful gestures, emerges as an inventor of psychedelic metaphor and cultural pastiche, freely combining references to everything from Japanese culture, ancient Greek mythology, Tokyo Street fashion and video games to Disney animation and the Western canon of art history. Driven by a genuine desire to capture our philosophical interconnectivity through art, Ueno’s multicultural references coalesce through the unpretentious spontaneity of his imagination and a fundamental belief in the universality of a shared condition.
Unexpected juxtapositions and cleverly contradictory elements emerge and interact within Ueno’s worlds, while a surreal freedom conflates the ordinary restrictions of time and space in support of its fantasies. The ancient and the contemporary are continually recombined, existing on a timeless plane through the simultaneous referencing of the traditional and pop-cultural. The unexpected poetry of these alliances, much like the paintings themselves, reveal complex accretions of cultural sediment, the result of an unimpeded admixture of worlds. Anchored by the concept of Yin and Yang and the elemental balance of the light and dark forces it implies, Ueno’s works strive to capture the plasticity and flux of these energetic constellations as they vie for poetic balance and positive resolve.
Inside the studio with Leon Keer as he prepares for his exhibition ‘Contradictions’ showing at The Brand Library & Art Center for NEXUS III.
Leon Keer is a world-leading artist in the anamorphic street art. He has executed commissions in Europe, The United States, Mexico, The United Arabic Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, New Zealand, Australia and several Asian countries.
A message seems to be present in his work. Current issues are reviewed, such as environmental concerns and the livability of this world. Leon Keer is constantly aware of the playfulness and beauty versus the degradation around him, a contrast that he expresses and amplifies in his work and which he uses as a metaphor for live.
His paintings reflect his thoughts, confronting the viewer with the diseased spirit of our times, visible decay counter-pointing a timeless longing for unspoiled beauty.
The artist adds: “Every street art piece is unique and belongs to the street and its residents, the temporary fact about this artform strengthens its existence”
Technically self-taught, Amy Sol has spent many years perfecting her own mixed pigments and materials. Known for a distinctive palette with a subtle ghostly cast, her compositions possess poetically measured images that invoke melancholic pause in spite of their idyllic beauty and calm, feeling at times like the magic of fairytale tempered by the ambivalence of the adult.
I painted these works over the summertime of 2020 during the pandemic. I approached these pieces as a form of meditation & introspective peace I was searching for at the time. The portraits for instance, are focused on medicinal plants I had as reference in my studio with a very limited colored palette. This allowed my mind to wander and relax a bit while I got lost in the small details. I had to look inwards to find calm during times when I could not find it in the outside world. It was my goal to communicate this with each of the paintings.
Do you have any pre-studio rituals that help you get into a creative flow?
I always drink tea and try to go on a walk before I work. I’m lucky to live in a pretty beautiful area where there are abundant trees and plantlife to look at.
It’s was a challenge to stay free of distractions during some of the stranger times this year. I found that if I went straight to work and stayed away from my phone a bit, it helped me maintain a flow state necessary to paint.
When you were working on this body of work, what were you listening to in the background?
I listened to a lot of new music I found online, I really enjoyed instrumental lo fi and wavy music playlists just to have going in the background. I spent more time with my windows open just hearing bird sounds as well. I have a broad taste in music, it just depends on the mood and vibe of the moment!!
When I start sketching, I definitely go for music to help with the creative flow. As things start to get technical and tedious I’ll put on an audio book or podcast to keep myself entertained.
Is there an artist or piece of work that has made a significant impact on you?
Many many, but off the top of my head I saw some Eyvind Earle originals at an art fair while I was a teenager. These works definitely sparked something in me and kind of woke me up to the possibilities.
Has that work influenced your own artistic voice/style?
Sure, I do think his work inspired me to explore and experiment to find a way to uniquely communicate my love of nature. I also loved animation and his art was a sort of bridge from illustration to painting mixed with a strong visual language he made his own, I found all of that intriguing and inspiring.
What piece challenged you most in this body of work, and why?
I think the painting Biome was a challenge to paint because I was trying to express a very strong feeling I was dealing with. It was challenging to synthesize this feeling into one simple and emotionally nuanced portrait but that was my goal.
This piece started when I was experiencing some old emotions stirring up from my past trauma dealing with severe pneumonia. That trauma sort of re awakened because of this pandemic. This feeling blended into a concept, the reality of interconnectedness of humans and nature and the need to recognize vulnerability as awareness not weakness.
I started off sketching mycelium-like forms to represent the lungs of the subject. The salamander is a symbol of vulnerability & vitality. I choose an Amphibian because they are sensitive creatures being both land and water borne. Because of this, they are considered accurate indicators of the health of the environment they dwell in.
Her floating head in the darkness sort of reflects this idea that because our minds & egos are all encompassing to our own human experiences, we sometimes forget how interconnected we are to other living things.
This piece really helped me put some closure on my past experiences & navigate some unresolved emotions.
What do you think will be said about the New Contemporary Art Movement in 100 years?
I hope it will be looked back upon as a time of positive & progressive transformation in the psyche of humans and our push towards a better future. Many artists make art to send messages about what we care about & we communicate what matters most to humanity across a broad spectrum.