A short documentation of a mural I created in New York City with my friends Celso González and Roberto Biaggi from CERO Design out of Puerto Rico. The title of the mural, "El Regalo Mágico/The Magic Gift", refers to the gift of inspiration. The figure is based on my photos of respected Nuyorican author Nicholasa Mohr, who lives nearby, and is known for being one of the first widely published Latina authors in the United States.
Cero's part, the geometric infinity pattern that forms a halo around the figure, is composed entirely of tile mosaic. When the creation of so much public art now is streamlined for quantity over quality, it's encouraging to see the time and dedication that goes into their work.
It was a pleasure to work with such talented people, and join forces with an intent to create something that can hopefully offer some inspiration, pride and empowerment.
The mural is located in "El Barrio", East Harlem, on the side of a large elementary school at 111th Street and Lexington Avenue. It faces the First Spanish Methodist Church that once served as the headquarters for the Puerto Rican youth organization the Young Lords.
The mural was created as part of a public arts project called MonumentArt, curated by Celso Gonzalez and presented by la Marqueta Retoña initiative, with the support of city council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Many thanks to Nicholasa, Celso and Roberto of CERO Design, Melissa, Calma, Jose, 2 Alas, Billy, and anyone else that supported.
Special thanks also to Eric Heights, David Joseph Perez, Martha Cooper, and Daniel Weintraub for photographing the mural.
Video by Eric Heights
"Manuel Deeghit" by Cal Tjader & John Heard (1973)
"Harlem River Drive" Bobbi Humphrey
Video by RVCA documenting "Of Our Youth" from 2010:
"RETNA and EL MAC have teamed up for another mural, this time in Culver City. Their newest mural, titled Of Our Youth, can be seen on the side of Graphaids art supply store, on La Cienega between Jefferson and Washington.
The imagery and text used in this mural was inspired by their time spent at Skid Row, while painting their previous mural. The artists met a man by the name of Ralph Woodruff aka Chato and were inspired by this man’s past hardships, experiences and overall outlook on life. His ability to recognize his mistakes and atone for his past was something that resonated with the artists. The text which reads, “So today I’m trying to change a few things to rectify the situation of my past. So today I’m looking towards the future (of our youth highlighted)” is a quote taken from their conversation."
Painted with the assistance/ground support of Pablo Kuzberg (RIP 1981-2012)
Drawing in Los Angeles for an exhibition in Denmark at Galerie Wolfsen.
Filmed by Eric Heights
"A Divine Image" by David Axelrod (1969)
"Way Star" by Rubba/Jacky Giordano (1980)
"Welcome New Warmth" by Michel Sardaby (1975)
"Sitting Target Main Theme" by Stanley Myers (1971)
Last December I painted murals in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuaha and El Paso, Texas as a sort of independent binational mural project that I've been planning for a few years with my friend David 'Grave' Herrera.
In 2012 I photographed participants in the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity (Caravana por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad) when it passed through El Paso. The caravan was made up of people who lost family members to the violence, corruption and injustice that has plagued Mexico for the last near-decade.
"Juarense y Poderosa", the mural I painted in Ciudad Juárez, was based on photos I took of a young woman from there named Diana who lost her mother to kidnapping.
"Ánimo Sin Fronteras", the second mural, on the other side of the border in El Paso, was based on my photos of a man named Melchor, whose son was disappeared by corrupt police. Both Diana and Melchor represent countless others who've lost and suffered in recent years.
I felt a responsibility to paint these murals, to create images of inspiration and empowerment. In my own small way, with my own voice and platform, I hope to honor those that have suffered the effects of this ongoing injustice.
These murals were made possible with the help of David 'Grave' Herrera and Amor Por Juarez.
Filming / Editing: Eric Heights
"Ripped Open By Metal Explosions", Galt MacDermot, 1970
"Woman Is Sweeter", Galt MacDermot, 1969
"Romeo y Julieta", Rabbits & Carrots, 1969
"Freedom Time", Henghel Gualdi, 1977
Mural in Toronto by EL MAC with background by Toronto artist KWEST and Montreal artist STARE.
"The image is an homage to one of my favorite artists, Alex Colville, referencing his iconic 1965 painting, "To Prince Edward Island". Colville, who passed away last year, was one of Canada's best artists. I've been a fan of Colville's work since I first saw it as a kid, and felt it would be appropriate to paint this mural in Toronto, the city of his birth. His work often elevated and mythologized the commonplace, something I strive for in my own art. He also put a great deal of time and subtlety into his paintings, an aesthetic I share, which is at odds with our modern culture of increasing speed and decreasing attention spans. Describing his painting process, Colville said:
"It's a very unspectacular business, laborious, as I think it is with writers too. Every day you do a little bit and you hope it'll all come into focus."
More info: mac-arte.blogspot.ca/2014/08/to-future-new-mural-in-toronto.html
Music: Pretty Lights "Reel 12 Break 2" - http://prettylightsmusic.com
I painted this rooftop mural portrait of civil rights attorney and social justice crusader Connie Rice a few years ago for LA Times Magazine. Some sections of the wall had been wheatpasted with paper before and were now peeling off the wall, taking sections of the mural away, so I repainted over the missing areas.
Rice has an impressive history of fighting for the rights of the socially and economically disenfranchised, and is one of the classiest people I've had the privilege to meet and photograph. The title of her memoir is Power Concedes Nothing, which comes from this classic, ever-relevant quote from over a century and a half ago:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.”
- Frederick Douglass, 1857
Filming / Editing: Eric Heights
Music: "Scrabble" by René Costy, from 1972
This video includes a short interview and some documentation of a couple murals I created for Prada at their headquarters in Milan in September 2013. The murals were created as part of a project called "In the Heart of the Multitude" which was the environment for the Spring/Summer '14 Prada Women's fashion show. I painted three different women in the space, guided by the themes of beauty, femininity, and power.
This is a short video documenting a recent mural I painted in Los Angeles. It's my interpretation of Mictecacihuatl, or la Señora de La Muerte. The mural was sponsored by FX in promotion of their new series The Bridge. The show is set in El Paso/Juarez and deals with some of the border issues and violence there, which is an important subject for me. I lived near there for a little while when I was younger and have some very good friends from there, so the region has always been close to my heart.
Filming / Editing: Eric Heights
Music: "Slow Motion Picture" by Sammy Burdson, from 1973
I was commissioned by Rapt Studio of San Francisco to paint this mural for the new Adobe campus in Utah in 2012.
For this company that has had such a huge technological impact on art over the last few decades I wanted to paint an image representing an innocent approach to creativity, something that could convey the fundamental appeal and power of creation that's inside all of us.
Many thanks to Cory and everyone at Rapt Studio, Adobe, MTN, Kim, Carol & Noah, and especially Milena for modeling.
Filming / Editing: Rapt Studio (Sean Slobodan, Landon Christensen, Michael Paul)
Music: "Coffee Cold" by Galt MacDermot, from 1966
"This is a short time-lapse video documenting the creation of my centerpiece painting for the Public Provocations show at the Carhartt Gallery in 2011. This was shown during ArtBasel on the Swiss/German border. The piece is titled "Portrait of a Dying Cockroach". I tried to paint this in the most graceful, beautiful way I could. It's based on some photos I took of an unnoticed roach on the spotless floor of the Margulies collection in Miami. This was from when Retna and myself painted a mural on the side of their building during the Miami ArtBasel a couple years ago. Something about painting that there during the Swiss ArtBasel seemed appropriate."
Video shot & cut by: Dan Künzler - http://www.carhartt-gallery.com
Music: "Wind" by D-Fekt
More info: http://mac-arte.blogspot.com/2011/06/portrait-of-dying-cockroach-new.html
This video documents the painting of EL MAC's mural at the MTN paint factory outside Barcelona, Spain in 2011.
Video shot & edited by: www.Popcranc.com
Video produced by: www.OFFF.ws
Music: "At the End of the Day" by Amon Tobin
More info: http://mac-arte.blogspot.com/2011/11/new-el-mac-mural-in-barcelona-spain.html
This mural was painted in New York City in October of 2010.
All images copyrighted 2010.
Video by K.Ann Hagey
Song: "Mystique" by Yusef Lateef (1976)
Model: Ashley Vera
This mural was painted at and donated to the Jonah Project in Los Angeles' Skid Row in the Summer of 2010.
Photograph of "Slim" taken by Estevan Oriol.
Slim was rendered in spraypaint by El Mac.
Text and halo designs painted by Retna.
All images copyrighted 2010.
Video by K.Ann
Song: "Heaven & Hell is on Earth" by the 20th Century Steel Band (1975)
*Note: Chato/Ralph one of the gentleman who appears in this video was the inspiration for the next mural Mac & Retna did together following this one, in Culver City: http://vimeo.com/14375730
Process video showing the creation of a new painting for the upcoming solo show in NYC at Joshua Liner Gallery. Opens October 14th, 2010.
Shot and cut by K.Ann
Music by Riz Ortolani
Process video of a mural painted in East Berlin in June of 2010. Portrait by Mac, triangulations by Kofie.
Video shot & directed by Kofie www.keepdrafting.com
music: "Filigree Funk" by Anthony King
El Mac, Retna and Kofie were commissioned to create a mural for the Manifest Equality Event held in Hollywood, California in March, 2010.
The mural was painted over in beige three weeks after completion without notice or warning by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Thanks to Tom, the Sergants, FAIR & Mid-City Arts.
video shot & directed by: Kofie - www.keepdrafting.com
Model: Ginalyn McNamara
Music: "Reaction" by Freedom Power
This was a mural painted by Mac & Retna at RVCA headquarters in Costa Mesa, California in 2009.
Artwork copyright ©2009 Mac & Retna
Video shot by Taylor Sage
Music: The Animals
Model: Ashley Vera
Process video of the creation of a large commissioned painting for Aedifica ( www.aedifica.com ), an architecture & design firm based out of Montreal, Canada. Artwork copyright ©2009 El Mac.
Video directed by Phil Arsenault - www.philgoodmovie.com
All detail photos by Shani Dissizit
curated by Basta! - www.bastacompany.com
Process video of the creation of a large painting for Nick Cassavetes. Artwork copyright ©2010 Mac & Retna. Photography: El Mac, Music: "Paz y Alegria" by Adrian Quesada & Ocote Soul Sounds