Trek Six, Celso Gonzalez, Rimx, Larregui, La Pandilla, Bik Ismo and Pay Aponte Proudly Represent Puerto Rico during Art Basel at Important Satellite Art Basel Exhibitions and Throughout Miami with Murals in Wynwood Art District and Design District
The world renowned Art Basel, the most important art show in the United States, a cultural and social highlight for the Americas heads back to South Florida for a supreme exhibition of our world’s most exquisite and prominent artists. Among those uniquely special presentations is The Co11ective and Multiversal, two Art Basel satellite events that has been carefully curated to include some of the most talented veterans in their respective areas of visual art. Several Puerto Rican artists form part of a conglomeration of bicultural visionaries known to employ distinctive skills and vision whether in the murals, structures or canvas they coat with their muse or in the mysteriously profound photographic statements they capture. Famed artists Trek Six, Celso Gonzalez, Rimx, Larregui, La Pandilla, Bik Ismo, and Pay Aponte will have special exhibits in Miami during Art Basel representing their Puerto Rican roots and pride.
Trek Six, Celso and Rimx have already taken over Miami’s Design District with a new mural at Miami’s Best Live Music Venue, The Stage. La Pandilla has taken over a mural in the Wynwood Arts District as they await the flooding of the streets by over an estimated 50,000 people over the course of Art Basel week. Some of Puerto Rico’s best artists are being represented at two of Miami’s most anticipated Art Basel satellite events, The Co11ective and Multiversal Group Art Show which take place December 1st through December 4th, 2011 which is where these amazing Puerto Rican artists will be showcased in the heart of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.
Wynwood is a neighborhood in Miami, Florida, is north of Downtown Miami and Overtown, and adjacent to Wynwood is also referred to as “Little San Juan”, and commonly known as “El Barrio” as many Puerto Ricans began immigrating to this Miami neighborhood from the island and northeastern cities in the 1950s. Puerto Rican-owned restaurants, shops, markets and other businesses align the streets of Wynwood. Recently, however, the neighborhood has seen a push towards gentrification with increased investments and developments. The Midtown Miami development built in the mid-2000s, brought renewed attention to the area, and previously abandoned warehouses have begun to be occupied by artists, restaurants, cafés, and lounges. The Wynwood Art District is a sub-district of Wynwood that contains over 70 galleries, museums and private collections. There are hundreds of other street art and graffiti murals around the district curated yearly by events such as The Co11ective and Multiversal making it one of the biggest street art districts in in the world.
Albizu by Trek Six
TREK SIX (See Art on Page 1) In the last two years, Trek Six has steadily built a reputation as one of the most potent talents on the resurrected Miami street art scene through vibrant, near-psychedelic pieces that crackle with rhythm and spirit. However, to describe Trek Six as a street artist alone fails to encapsulate the breadth and adventurousness of his work, which spills off of the walls and comes to life both on the canvas and through the speakers.
As a musician, Trek Six has was the first laptop performer to present his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Puerto Rico, and also provided the score to El Jardin de Frutas Prohibida, an installation by noted artist Charles Juhaz at the Bienial de Soa Pablo. More recently however, it’s been his murals and live paintings at various music venues and concerts throughout Miami that have gained him a new audience and created a rising demand for his work. His latest pieces capture the primal, passionate undercurrents of music from across the Diaspora, be it Puerto Rican bomba or salsa, American hip-hop, or African afrobeat. Whether they’re paintings of musical icons such as Fela Kuti or Ruben Blades or of players and dancers ensnared in the transformative rhythm of such musical shamans, each Trek Six piece is a vivid web of color and energy given form by the sound and spirit which inspire the artist, abstracted just enough to suggest a pulse, beat or point of origin just beyond the five senses. This ethereal sense even finds its way into pictures of birds, trees, and speakers; it’s as if Trek Six is illustrating the energy pathways embedded in each of his subjects.
An integral part of Trek’s mission is exposing his hometown’s hidden talents through a variety of collaborative efforts with local allies, be they familiar or new faces. The only pre-requisite is that their work is stellar. “I want all of Miami’s scene to be noticed, not just one artist,” says Trek. “There is so much talent here, but people seem to think we’re just hacks hanging out in Speedos sipping mojitos.” As one of the main people responsible for bringing together the various talents on display at The Co11ective, his mission is now that much closer to being fulfilled.
Multimedia artist Pay Aponte’s art draws the eye into a maze of images, one within other. Edilberto “Pay” Aponte was born in the small fishing town of La Parguera in the municipality of Lajas in Puerto Rico. He grew up among mangrove jungles, homemade boats and seashells. He came to Florida at 22 to study at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and completed a bachelor’s in computer science and animation. His most recent exposition called Las Caras Oscuras de la Vida (The Dark Faces of Life), was held in his hometown in Puerto Rico in December of 2010 and consisted of abstract drawings in pencil, color and ink, including three-dimensional sculptures. He won the Broward Art Guild’s “People’s Choice Award” for his piece “Virgen en Pena” (The Virgin’s Sorrow) at Gallery 101’s Black and White Showcase. His art has been chosen for display at The Art of Communication through Objects of Art Gallery, The ArtServe Organization, Broward County Art Fest, and the 9/11 Memorial at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
It’s not common to find an artist so adept in different media, even less so to find one whom is able to communicate a shared spirit through these various forms. Celso Gonzalez fits the bill, however, producing graffiti, sculptures, paintings, and a deluge of other works ranging from video projections to performance, all of them brimming with his individual, esoteric visual language that seems to pick away at the seam between dreams and reality.
Painting since his childhood in Puerto Rico, where he attended the School of Fine Arts at the Cultural Institute of Puerto Rico, Gonzalez worked as an architect after completing his studies at the New School of Architecture in San Diego. His work out west would ultimately find him becoming the first Latino to win the prestigious Lyceum Fellowship Award in Los Angeles. As an artist, Gonzalez has been jaw-droppingly prolific, exhibiting work in countries such as Ecuador, Taiwan and France, as well as the United States. In his homeland, Puerto Rico, his artwork has literally become part of the landscape; working on commission for the Puerto Rican government for the past 7 years, he has developed over 40 public art projects to the island.
All of his pieces – regardless of media – are intricately constructed, many of them featuring meticulous line work and carefully selected blends of colors that seem to suggest constant movement through time and space, or a deck of dimensions collapsing on one another. Into these moments, he sometimes inserts everything from cartoon characters to legendary salsa musicians, creating a realm at once familiar and strange, almost representative of the hidden layers of our creative psyche at play.
In many ways, Bik Ismo is the Robin Hood of Puerto Rican graffiti culture. Though his whimsical pieces have captured and thrived on the public imagination across the island for years now, he is also the most prosecuted street artist in the island’s history. Despite this, he has been able to take his eye-popping,idiosyncratic work around the world, exhibiting as far away as Israel and Japan, in addition to cementing his authoritative reputation by judging graffiti competitions throughout Europe.
In all of Bik Ismo’s work, pop culture and modern life are warped into fizzy, vibrant works that seem to present an alternate reality in which these everyday symbols and ideas melt together and are held aloft, attention-grabbing demigods in a global consciousness increasingly linked by mass media. His work at The Co11ective adheres to this aesthetic, taking icons from the local landscape such as Mickey Mouse and the Miami Dolphins logo and filtering them through his crafty worldview, melding them into a polychromatic works that capture the sun baked, harlequin spirit of the state of Florida.
Although they’ve only been working together for one year, Alexis Diaz and Juan Fernández of La Pandilla (“The Gang” in Spanish) have already made quite an impression with their work. Repulsed by the sight of blighted buildings along many of Puerto Rico’s busy streets – specifically, those in their neighborhood, Santurce -they successfully attempted a little “urban redevelopment” by turning them into canvases on which they’ve painted fantastic, surreal creatures, beings from their jointly-imagined mythological realm such as merged elephants and sharks, humans with fish-head umbrellas growing out of their skulls and vicious octopuses with turtle heads.
The buildings, once abandoned, are now home to a menagerie of bewitching and bewildering storybook beasts. Although Diaz and Fernández both attended the Central School of Visual Arts in Puerto Rico, they each pursued distinct paths: Fernández took up sculpture and studied architecture at the Polytechnic University, while Diaz continued painting and drawing at the School of Plastic Arts. They would both go on to start their own urban clothing lines and work in advertising. Together once more and sharing a new mission, their work engages and enchants the imagination of those who walk past their walls.
Don Rimx’s work is an assault; a welcome one, certainly, but an assault nonetheless. His paintings are dense, layered and teeming with the contents-under-pressure spirit of modern urban life. Wild tangles of color –often muted, stoney -and carefully intertwined line work usually adorn found materials such as wood, cardboard and cork, all of which serve to conjure up the feelings of knockaround, hardscrabble life in the city -not negative, mind you, but intense and unrelenting; scowls, scars and stitches. Hailing from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Rimx was a student at the School of Plastic Arts in Puerto Rico and is one of the members of the artist crew CORO, with whom he won the First Biennial Urban Art Competition on the island. His fibrous, meticulous line-work shares its intricacy with his other creative outlet, tattoo art. As a painter, he’s had his work featured at art shows from Spain to Japan, and curated the very successful show Espacio Disponsible at the Caribbean University in Puerto Rico.
There’s more than a hint of mischief in Larregui’s work. When taking a passing glance, one is immediately struck by his use of bright colors and almost cartoon-like figures, but a closer look reveals subversion within: the omnipresence of logos of American brands pockmarking the landscape of beautiful Puerto Rico, indicating a degree of corporate colonialism; grimacing local punks sniffing the underwear of the U.S. military; a baby screaming as his body is filled with questionable immunizations. It’s sly, seemingly fun, but littered with meaning.
A product of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Egardo Larregui is well known on the island, and is one of 50 artists featured in the noted book Frescos, which showcases the work of 50 Puerto Rican artists under the age of 35. In addition to his notoriety on the island, Larregui has exhibited at the International Museum of Contemporary Artin Lanzarote, Canary Islands, and has shared his work on the streets of Barcelona, Spain. On the homefront, he has been commissioned by the government of Puerto Rico to create various murals and to aid in the design of a building to house several contemporary arts offices and provide workshops to the island’s young artists. In all of this work, Larregui aims to peel back the layers of power and control in our society, revealing unsettling, but ultimately empowering truths.
- The Co11ective featuring Trek Six, Celso Gonzalez, Rimx, Larregui, La Pandilla, BikIsmo
- Multiversal featuring Pay Aponte
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