By Maurice Pendarvis
Images courtesy of Marco Zamora
How would you describe the type of art that you do?
I make paintings, drawings, prints and installations I have a show coming up in May in Chinatown which I might play with performance art.
When you mean performance, do you mean dancing around?
I would be creating a piece in front of an audience which would involve the audience, showing where the imagery comes from and how I go about getting that imagery.
Is the process the same when you go from creating a painting or an installation?
In a way yes, they are the same; I am collecting physical items and imagery with my camera, then reconstructing to create each piece.
What was the Backpack installation all about?
Well, from the work that I’ve been making over the past year it has been based off of unknown items or objects that have been left behind. In some of the drawings I’ve done I’ve had bags over people’s heads. A lot of the people that I draw are always carrying things, I mean its all street life, people moving, and that’s their way of carrying, protecting, and hiding objects. So for this show I wanted to dig a little deeper into that idea. Originally I was trying to find about three hundreds objects and conceal them in the bags, but the bags alone were already four hundred pounds. So, I said, that’s not going to work, but I had already received the backpacks. They were all recycled old backpacks that had been thrown away.
So did you have to find all those backpacks yourself?
I actually found them through a guy that receives recycled clothing. I asked him if there was a way he could find used backpacks? He didn’t know anyone that sold them, but he said he thought he could find me some. Then one day he calls me and says he found three hundred backpacks. Some of the bags still had wired little objects left in them from the previous owner and others had kids names on the them. Each had its own history. The show was called VENERATE Ã¢â‚¬Å“Collectors of the Human ConditionÃ¢â‚¬.
Is your work a direct reflection of what you see in your immediate environment? Like, everything from the backpacks to the Fixies.
Yes. It is a reflection and a form of documentation. One of the reasons why bikes have been incorporated into my work is because I do cycle. I find forms of movement and transportation very interesting. It is not just because I see it it’s a conscious decision of what I see and relate to.
What is it that makes your art unique? What is it that you see that sparks Ã¢â‚¬Å“itÃ¢â‚¬?
Reality is what I see that sparks “it”.
Is there a medium that you enjoy more?
Yes, I love ink and I’m starting to play with gouache. It’s more of an opaque watercolor that’s flatter, stronger and brighter. Before I was using watercolor.
Are most of all your paintings are just watercolor?
Watercolor and ink everything from my drawings to my paintings on panels.
Why is watercolor your preference?
It is easy and quick it’s the same thing with acrylic or oil it is just what I prefer.
What is your opinion of the difference between street art and fine art?
Art is art. People are making things. It’s all valid and it all makes sense. Art is getting mixed up and moved around with words and what you’re calling it. I guess its how you see it. I know the difference for myself; I make paintings about my life and reflections of what I see on the street today. So people sometimes bring it in to the idea of street art and ask me questions like, are you a street artist? No, I’m not. I respect and value street art. They put me in that genre because I’m making art about the urban environment and situations that are involved with that. I’m an artist. I make art.
Who influenced you when first started to paint?
Picasso, Basquiat, the usual that everybody sees growing up. I painted and drew on my own and everything I painted was very emotional and abstract. Now, its contemporary art and my friends.
Did you grow up in a house full of art?
No. But my parents and my sisters are very creative, but no one really had a art background.
So, you’re the first artist of the family?
Yeah, I’m the one that fell off the track.
Did you go to school?
Yeah, I went to Cal Arts from 2000-2004 and since 2004 I’ve been continuing on the path I’m on now.
What are you working on now if you can talk about it?
I’m working on a whole new body of work for a solo show in Chinatown at the POVevolving Gallery in May. I’m making new paintings, drawings and trying to figure if I’m going to do an installation or a performance. In March I will be involved in a group showat Mallick Williams in New York which should be exciting.
Did you ever think you could make a living off of this?
No. I’ve always thought that I’m going to do this and this is what I’m going to keep doing. I’m going to keep making art and if I like it I’m going to pursue it.