The eagerly awaited part 2 of our look at (only a few) of Argentina´s most exciting graphic designers, illustrators and street artists.
Neeco Demo has a simple idea of what a place to work should be like, “A studio with open doors. A place to throw happenings like shows, readings, and other events.” And this is precisely what Neeco is doing with two good friends in his gallery/exhibition space called ‘Mite.’ How is he contributing to Argentine, and more specifically, B.A. culture? My job is to show what’s happening in Argentina and I believe that’s reflected in ‘Mite,’ in the role I take on curating exhibits.”
When asked about his own work, and who he thinks it’s for, “It’s like when I play music; I want everyone to dance!”
WUBA Neeco Xtra: Neeco´s pride in Mite is well deserved. It’s a great underground, eclectic gallery for new and exciting artists who otherwise would have to wait until their fame and buzz grow to get their stuff shown on the conventional circuit. Neeco and Mite speed up the process like any big city should and we’ve been a supporter from the get-go.
When I ask Piranha about a ‘national perspective’ he might have as an artist, he responds with more than just skepticism, “I don’t even know what that it is; I’ve never done anything like that”… He adds that in this ‘globalized’ world, “it seems impossible to group things by a national identity.”
Piranha grew up in a family that always gave importance to art and design. For this reason, he says, “I’ve always been in contact with notions of aesthetics.” His father, also a painter, was a great influence on him and Piranha says that’s where he learned to paint, by watching his father do the same.
With no technical training of his own, Piranha sees his art as being “more than anything, for a youthful audience (mentally, not biologically). “That’s, who is able to appreciate my art for what it is, and not what it should be.”WUBA Piranha Xtra: Piranha first caught our eye when he teamed up with Diente and rocked the walls of HIC with such ferocity that we were left speechless. We must have not been the only ones, the same duo recently teamed up to strut their stuff in Chicago.
“Dirty concepts, and old ones too” are the main sources of inspiration for designer, artist, and illustrator ‘Po!’. More specifically,… “from the Victorian era or even comics from the 60’s” Po sees his work as a mix of, well, everything, which is how he claims to “indirectly” reflect something about his homeland. He notes that “I don’t look for iconography or direct, linear references with respect to my country...”
It is in the specific choices that he makes, particularly when designing a character, that Po is able to bring his art to life. From the minute details of a character´s outfit, to the expressions used to recount its backstory, Po adds meaning along the way. In this aspect, in particular, Po accentuates the fact that … “nothing is empty aesthetics, every concept has a natural context that gives it meaning.”
WUBA Po! Xtra: Po´s work is in hot demand and has been for quite a while. A flyer designer for tons of hype parties, bands, festivals and more, he is responsible for the early takes on communicating visually the pop explosion of now superstars Miranda!
Pum Pum draws inspiration from “thousands” of sources, many from “her childhood and all of its imagery both by real illustrators and friends alike.” Pum Pum’s signature style is made up of iconic figures and characters (most of them female) and an ice-cream-flavor palate of colors that´s easy to detect throughout Buenos Aires. Pum Pum assures us she creates entirely for “personal pleasure.”
If there´s one thing Pum knows without a doubt, it’s that her art “brings her closer to people from all over, of all ages, and from different situations.” This, she says “is amazing.” Making art in public places does seem to have it’s advantages, … “lots of people from all over see my stuff and they see it from their own perspective and through their own imagination...”
WUBA Pum Pum Xtra: We first met Pum Pum the same night we met Los Alamos. After pizza at Guerrin with los pibes, we headed out into the street one late Tuesday night. There is where Pum took out her marker and started drawing those little rabbits that would make her famous. Ah, you’re the little rabbits, we said. Yeah she responded, giggling.
“My influences have never been concretely defined”, Rodier-Kid states with confidence. And when you look at his intensely intricate graphic creations, truly, it would be hard to ‘concretely’ understand where they’re coming from. Rodier-Kid leads us outside of the realm of visual culture when he talks about inspiration, “Instead,” he says, “the influences are always in front of you, like in the street, or in front of your monitor, and not where you work. There, outside, is where originality is.”
So how would Rodier-Kid characterize his own aesthetic? Simple: “Feeling.”
And that means…?
“In part, what I do could be called abstract, but really that’s not what it is, it’s simply a sum of forms and colors that remind every observer of something within themselves, and it generates different sensations.”
His own sensations in check, Rodier concludes that people who enjoy his art the most “tend to be people like edgier stuff and look for something different.”
WUBA Rodier-Kid Xtra: Rodier-Kid´s vision and design is from another planet, period. When we first caught wind of him, we immediately and unanimously decided to ask him for a Zizek flyer. He rocked last month’s flyer and did not disappoint.
Sebastián Lahera constructed his first wooden robot in 1988.
This, the robot detail, leads me to my next point. Sebastián talks about a range of influences and interests; with self-taught painting, graffiti, and carpentry skills at the center of his artistic endeavors.
His process seems to be finely tuned and Sebastián places emphasis on “the methods, the sketch, the trial.” Details are a priority, he describes part of his process to us; “the paper has to be clean, the print has to be uniform, the outline has to be even.” That said, he assures us that he enjoys the process even when, it “doesn’t achieve perfection.”
WUBA Sebastian Lahera Xtra: Sebastian showed his work at the short-lived but excellent gallery El Tigre Celeste, whose space was handed down to WUBA in 2007. We still have the decaying paper-mache boat on our outside wall, taking a life of its own, as all good art does!
In Sol del Rio’s art and in the phrases she uses to describe her work she seems to skip around the playground. She admits, “Playful things attract me, the interaction with space, movement, and sound, the contemplative and the tactile.” Sol sees the recent work of many Argentine artists, as well as artists from around the world, as “sharing the same taste for experimentation, bouncing from one medium to another,” which in turn, she believes “makes the work more friendly, fun, and open-ended.”
Sol’s current work ranges from art toys to spacial installations, and includes both music and painting. Speaking with conviction from her creative wonderland, she concludes that she sees her art as “embodying those who are sensitive, curious, and with the capacity to play and rediscover their own space.”
WUBA Sol del Rio Xtra: Sol is the perfect compliment to a diamond. That being said, you can currently see her work in the windows of the hippest boutiques in Palermo, yes she designed that shirt you’re drooling over, or at most forward thinking parties and festivals these next two weeks as her new hobby/passion: VJ.
“We have to work in various media at the same time,” Tec says in reference to his own arsenal of creatives. “We’re designers, producers, artists, interns, graphic designers, this [versatility], is very much Argentine.”
Tec’s work, he says is “related to experimentation, pushing the limits of what we understand ‘beauty’ to be. ”
Most of Tec’s influences come from street art, beginning with, “graffiti in New York from the 80’s (through Basquiat),” and continuing through, “animation, Joan Miró, and children’s drawings.” On the subject of his audience, Tec leaves us with a little wisdom about young people who can appreciate his work, because “they see that with a few colors and doodling, you can make some noise and really piss-off the neighbors.”
WUBA Tec Xtra: Tec is a part of Mundo Fase, a collective of amazing visual and audio artists whose works, installations and gigs can be caught around the world. They’ve produced more underground magazines, posters and shows than we can keep up with.
As his name might suggest, Tester gets his motivation from testing the limits, his art lives on the edge where it confronts convention. In his words, “There’s a lot to see, to change, to learn,” and more importantly “there’s a lot to do and little requires asking permission.”
His tactic for doing this?
“A lot of brushes and very little sense.”
Tester’s influences are as crazy as they are understandable, “coffee in the morning, Minuteman in the speakers, crime as art,” he goes on, “ the act of making something and coming up on new material, getting dirty, sharing and bringing something original out of yourself, getting to know yourself, understanding how you get into trouble.”
When all is said and done, Tester demands just one thing of us:
“Just show me that the gallery is big, like a city, change it up and break down all the structures.”
WUBA Tester Xtra: Tester along with a crew of ragtag street artists run HIC, THE place to see what´s happening in the scene outside of the streets themselves. He and Fede Run Dont Walk wherever they can and they also rock a skate punk band called Amoeba.