Focus on a great street art exhibition in Austin (TX). Pictures and Interview with James Huizar, curator of "Grafficanos" at the Mexic-Arte Museum.
Niz - Photo Courtesy of James Huizar
Bienvenidos a mi Sueno - 2012 - aerosol paint on museum exterior wall
Daniel Anguilu - Photo by Art Without Audience
Soledad - 2012 - Aerosol paint on museum exterior wall
18'5” x 14'
Interview with James Huizar by ArtwithoutAudience, Curator of Grafficanos at the Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78701. Exhibit opens on July 20, 2012 and closes on September 9, 2012.
The 17th edition of the Young Latino Artists (YLA) exhibition, Grafficanos, presents selected graphic artwork influenced by the U.S. graffiti art genre and the contemporary aerosol mural movement, specifically from the late 1970s to the present. The artists of Grafficanos employ a variety of media including stencils, screen printing, traditional drawing and painting, wood and textile three-dimensional sculptures, installations, and digital projections. The graffiti-inspired graphic artwork explores a range of themes including popular culture between the U.S. and Mexico, character-based politically charged imagery, formal qualities of pre-Columbian masks, typography, and the use of technology in the urban realm of street art-making.
FatCap : Can you tell us about the pieces on the exterior wall of the museum?
James Huizar : The murals on the exterior of the museum were painted to supplement the artwork inside. Since it is a graffiti inspired exhibition, it needed the added element to complete a full circle of the exhibition’s premise. Eddie Castro and Miguel Donjuan painted the word Uvas (Grapes) to represent the Oak Cliff, Texas Sourgrapes graffiti collective and their Mexican heritage. Bienvenidos a mi Sueno (Welcome to my dream) characterizes a celebration of hip hop culture and self-expression through spray paint. The images of the Mexican calendar girl interacting with Socrates-like figure handing over a microphone and spray can represents the idea of empowering women to express themselves. Daniel painted an abstracted version of a man’s face with a mask that represents the emotion of Soledad (loneliness) and that which occurs when something or someone is taken away from you.
FC : Can you give us a preview of what one can expect from a visit to the museum exhibit Grafficanos?
JH: The exhibition showcases 7 individual contemporary Latino artists and 1 contemporary Latino art collective.The term Grafficanos - derived from the words “graffiti” and “Mexicanos” - to describe a new school of contemporary Latino artist’s graffiti-influenced graphic artwork. The selected artists of Grafficanos are Daniel Anguilu (Weah), Eddie Castro, Jellyfish Colectivo, Antonio Diaz (Anti), Miguel Donjuan, Saner, Dsek, and Niz.
FC : What makes this year different from the past 16 years?
JH: Each of the Young Latino Artists (YLA) exhibitions differs each year, since each exhibition has a different curator. For YLA 17 Grafficanos I chose artists that fit in with the idea of what I wanted to see and who could fit in the criteria of not just being Latino and under the age of 35. I wanted to represent a new school of contemporary artists that I could speak about a shift in the graffiti art genre and the ongoing presence and influence it has on artists of this generation.
FC : How has graffiti as an art form changed over the years in Austin?
JH: In Austin, there is 2 to 3 events focused on the graffiti art genre. They are mostly pop ups and one night shows. So there is really nothing that is shown for a couple of days or hours. Graffiti on the streets is hit or miss. There is definitely walls that crews maintain, but as for downtown there is not many murals that could be a staple of the Austin’s visual art scene.
FC : How did you go about curating this exhibit? challenges?
JH: I have been planning the Grafficanos exhibition for 7 months. I initially contacted the first few artists in the beginning of the year to see their work. Most of them insisted on making new artwork and I received updates along the way. I was able to get Saner’s information by contacting a publisher of one of his books. I have been following his career for at least 3 years, and when I finally was able to talk to him on the phone it was mind blowing. His artwork was the second to arrive at the museum. Being an artist myself I know how difficult it is to work with us. I had to constantly ask for information on artwork, biographies and artist statement. But with all the challenges it turned out just how I had pictured it. I am the full time production manager at the Mexic-Arte Museum, which includes doing all the preparator work and installing of the exhibition. Grafficanos was no different, I still had to prep the gallery, frame artwork and install the exhibition and lighting and art handling. I was juggling all of exhibition installation and curating on top of that.
FC : Do you have a personal connection with any of the pieces in the collection?
JH: Since being the curator and production manager for Grafficanos I definitely have a connection for all of the artwork. I handled every artwork in the exhibition. I feel every piece of artwork is meant to be on the walls for the exhibition.
If interested in getting the exhibition to travel to your city, please contact Jamesh
Antonio Diaz (ANTI) - Can't Stop Won't Stop - 2012
Screenprinted vinyl stencil on latex paint with wheat paste
12" x 13.6"
Fueled by punk’s "Do–It–Yourself" motto and aesthetic attitude, San Antonio native Antonio "ANTI" Diaz forms reflections of a daily, gritty reality in his work. Drawing from future reflections and the personal, inevitable experiences he and his family undergo, Diaz deconstructs and re–appropriates new compositions and narratives. It would be Diaz’s early creative drive that landed him in Austin, Texas doing design work for punk music. Without a doubt, Diaz’s continued work shows a derivative of the punk rock ethos: a call for social commentary. It is the extensive processes of drawings, typography, and printmaking that assemble a narrative based on action and reaction.
Niz - On the Fence - 2012
Aerosol paint on found object
25" x 25"
On the Fence is a political, environmental, and economic commentary referencing the negative effects of the U.S.–Mexico border. The background contains the American and Mexican flags representing the political border between the two countries while the foreground contains a female figure personifying "commerce" interacting with a Mexican gray wolf. The constructed U.S.–Mexico border interrupts the Mexican gray wolf’s migratory patterns and their search for large–hooved animals and freshwater sources within the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The woman illustrates the slowing transport of commercial goods crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. and vice versa. Her associated thought cloud contains the statement "Esta Frontera nos esta chingando (The border is f***ing us over)" embodying the overwhelming repercussions of the constructed U.S.–Mexico border fence.
Niz - Los Moros - 2011
Aerosol paint on wood
36" x 24"
Niz is a Peruvian born female stencil artist based in Austin, Texas. She is known for her multi-layered photorealistic stencil work and paintings on skateboards. Niz's work draws from elements of graffiti, pop culture, existentialism, and spirituality. She finds her expression through old world Latin culture, African American music, the female aesthetic, skateboarding, and the graffiti art genre. Two of the selected artworks for Grafficanos are part of a series Niz created on large pieces of stained Birch to experiment with spray paint and the natural world. Both artworks are portraits of Latino women, who Niz states "represent the words strong, vibrant, and beautiful". Niz painted a mural on the exterior of Mexic–Arte Museum to supplement her selected Grafficanos artworks.
Miguel Donjuan - Amigos / Enemigos - 2012
Mixed media on Birch
4' x 6'
Miguel Donjuan - Se Armo - 2012
Mixed media on Birch
4' x 3'
Miguel was raised in Dallas, Texas, but was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He is also a member of the Sour Grapes Collective. His passion for art began in grammar school, with an emphasis in replicating comic book figures and cartoon characters. He was introduced to graffiti in middle school, and graffiti art consumed his art direction and lifestyle for the next decade.
Donjuan’s current body of work deals with the characteristics of graffiti culture. Although his new work is produced on panels—versus an actual street setting—Donjuan considers it "fine art with an essence of vandalism". Graffiti appears and disappears in these new works with the purpose of giving the example that "nothing lasts forever", even in his paintings. The figures in the selected works are all wearing animal masks to conceal their
identities and mask themselves from the rest of their surroundings, as would some graffiti artist in their natural surroundings.
Eddie Castro - The Paletas del Futuro Series - 2012
Latex paint and wood
60" x 30"
Eddie Castro and Miguel Donjuan.Photo Courtesy of James Huizar Uvas
2012 - Aerosol paint on museum exterior wall
18’ 10” x 8’
Eddie Castro was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and began graffiti art in 1997. He is a member of The Sour Grapes Collective, formed in 2000. The collective is comprised of friends and family that create artwork in the streets of Oak Cliff, a community of Dallas. The Sour Grapes Collective created the paleta–based character in memorial of local paleteros who were robbed and killed while selling ice cream from their push carts over ten years ago. For the Collective, the paleta–based character illustrates the community's shock and voices their outcry.
DSEK - Panchita Calavera - 2011
Aerosol paint and acrylic on canvas
23" x 19"
aerosol paint and acrylic on panel
40" x 20"
Internationally known graphic designer, graffiti artist, and photographer, Federico Fernandez Guerra—a.k.a. Dsek—was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. He began painting graffiti in the 1990s because he was drawn to a process that allows one to develop their own unique style, which identifies and separates one from the rest. He started with tags and slowly evolved into letters and characters. Influenced by the grotesque and a love for cartoons from the 80s and 90s—combined with northern Mexican regionalism and the current war with the drug cartels on the U.S–Mexico border—Dsek uses vibrant colors and graffiti tag lines to fabricate an animated reality.
Born in Mexico City, Saner is a graphic designer, illustrator, and urban artist. Saner is a leading member of contemporary muralists and fine artists working in both Latin America and Europe. Saner's mural work has been inspired by the Mexican Muralist Movement, David Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, and Diego Rivera. His research into Mexican customs and folklore, mysticism, masks, and skulls informs his current works. His artwork illustrates characters and their most basic rituals, allowing the viewer to see inside Saner’s personal symbology.