I went back to the Bushwick Collective after almost a year since I last painted there. It felt good to be back, but this time I wasn’t alone. I had the honor and the pleasure to create with fellow artist, Raquel Echanique. She is known for her portraits based on abstract compositions filled with an infusion of dynamic lines, shapes and colors. Her style is bold, bright and vividly distinctive to those who know her expressive works on canvas. Last year was her breakthrough year as a mural artist and she gracefully went from canvas to wall and painted at Welling Court and in Brooklyn, including The 407 Bushwick.
In the past we had talked about combining my grafstract designs with Raquel’s style and the wall on the corner of St. Nicholas and Flushing Avenue was the time and place to make it happen. Working with Raquel was like working alone, in the sense that we just meshed and flowed together as one. She does not play when ‘at spray’… Echanique is strictly business while at work. It took two days to complete our mural and we were happy with the outcome. Usually when two artists collaborate, you can tell which section each artist paints, but with this collaboration it is hard to distinguish. It was fun to share space with Raquel, a very talen
ted artist and friend.
Receiving Fumero’s invitation to work together for The Bushwick Collective was a great surprise. He is an artist friend whose work has been inspiring me for years. When I thought of a collab, what came to mind was the idea of painting a designated space next to each other. Once we faced the wall, there was no need for a sketch, a plan or a strategy and we didn’t need to talk that much about what we were about to paint.
Working with an artist who has been developing and sharing a style in the same line of what I have been bringing to the table was the main reason I was able to work happily and loosely on our completely merged collab. Our process involved intertwining lines and gestures while playing along with the composition that the other was formulating. Having a similar visual style made the experience really easy and spontaneous; it helped us respond quickly to color and overall composition of the mural. Painting it made me think of old school street art and the spirit behind graffiti: it was an expression of freedom without the limits that one encounters when having to follow a sketch, a photograph or a certain pattern of colors. I would even dare to say that it felt like a purer way to create, even though I will never abandon my love for representation.
It is both fascinating and exciting to evaluate what is happening with this generation of contemporary artists, on a more precise note with street artists. There is a whole new wave of hardworking artists who are bringing new things to the light. It is important to look closely to realize that we rewrite history everyday. There is always room to develop new things, if we not allow the nostalgic idea that “everything has already been made” and that “the good ol’ days brought the real art” to prevent us from opening our eyes to what is arising.
I always get excited when I find contemporary art that responds to the same visual style that I perceive as necessary for our time. Fumero is a great example of this and I am glad we had the opportunity to work together. I make the things that I would like to see and I love finding other artists working with the similar visual language.
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Coming up next…
Big thanks to my friend, Joe, who tirelessly works in partnership with local business owners to allow NY artists such as myself, Raquel and many more of our peers to paint the neighborhood.
The Bushwick Collective is an outdoor gallery that constantly rotates artists and murals during the spring and summer. Sunday, June 1st will be a special day when 18 street artists, including myself, will be painting during the 3rd Annual Bushwick Collective Block Party. It is free and open to the public of all ages. Come out and have fun while you support The Bushwick Collective and the artists who together do it simply for the love of it all.