February 17, 2015

Alexis Diaz in Wynwood

Prolific street artist, Alexis Diaz, teamed up with South African, fellow painter, Faith47, for a massive mural part of the Wynwood Walls project, “The Art of Collaboration.” Alexis Diaz in Wynwood is not new for Miamiams. His 2013 Art Basel wall, illustrating a beautiful transfiguration of eels and a squid, served as an impactful precursor to this new masterpiece, full of dark green and grey hues.

In “Desire of a Star,” a green and bare woman is loosely wrapped in two snakes whose tails disappear as they share a single torso that alternates between scaly flesh and skeleton. By her feet, one snake’s head is a naked skull, and by the woman’s flowing hair is the other snake’s head, which is alive and hissing. The transfixing image is doused in sketch-like roses and blooming flowers.

The work is refreshingly new for Diaz who rarely incorporates the entire body of a human in his art, and, yet, it is also a classic representation of his style. He plays with animal-splicing and imaginative depictions of creatures fused with human parts, skeletons, or other animals. Using thin and black paint strokes, his technique is illusive of drawings, an influence due to his childhood pastimes in Puerto Rico.

Like many street artists, Diaz disliked the idea of selling his art where only a small amount of people might enjoy it. From this stemmed his admiration for street art. However, growing up in Puerto Rico he felt limited. Graffiti was scarce and deviating from blockbuster Graffiti was frowned upon. He felt limited by the styles to which he was confined until he discovered the work of Keith Haring, a pop street artist and social activist. Suddenly, Diaz’s drawings became sketches for larger than life paintings.

Diaz began creating murals with his friend Juan and together they called themselves La Pandilla, which means The Gang in Spanish. In 2012, the two Puerto Rican artists split in order to pursue individual goals, but La Pandilla remains a high profile name in the street art world. Diaz grew as an artist during this partnership, and he expanded his ambitions to help improve his homeland and spark interest in street art and creativity in general.

His major success in spreading interest in art and Graffiti came with his creation of Los Muros Hablan (Spanish for The Walls Speak). This urban art festival became an international sensation unlike any other, attracting accomplished street artists such as Faith 47, herself. Diaz was able to cultivate a culture appreciative of street art that brought more Puerto Rican artists to the forefront of this inspiring movement.

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