During the Nineties in New York City I was one of the founders of the Culture Jamming movement. We worked on the streets modifying billboard campaigns and tweaking the semiotics of brand logos to create satirical social commentaries and challenge public perception of cultural icons. These were socially motivated works of art that questioned issues I experienced growing up: disproportionate advertising in minority areas and state decisions that had lost all ethical consciousness. In 2002 I moved to Barcelona where I began my ‘Identity Series’. I was drawn to the beauty of old surfaces and I wanted to blend photo realistic images of anonymous locals to question the controls imposed in public space. I decided to apply the same approaches used by advertising, such as strategic positioning and size, but with the intention of creating a poetic counter commentary that fades away with beauty.
The ‘Identity Series’ is about initiating a dialogue with a local community through art. These portraits transformed local, anonymous residents into social icons, giving relevance to an individual’s contribution to the community and touching upon the legacy that each life has to offer. I chose charcoal for its transparency and ephemeral quality. I involve the visual narrative of the textured wall instead of covering it. These time-based portraits gradually deteriorate. They become a metaphor of the fading of life, of fame and of the things we first thought were so important. The creation of the ‘Identity Series’ is also an act that is environmentally sound and at the mercy of the natural world. The pieces fade away like the warmth after an embrace.
The photo realistic drawing is only an aspect of the piece. The importance of the piece is the whole process of creation, destruction and memory. I enjoy continually exploring new materials. I am now working on a sculptural series with the same conceptual direction.
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