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Next week, Miami-born artist Alexander Mijares, known for his colorful artwork inspired by his Latin roots, will make his New York City debut. On view from October 11–November 4 at Hub Seventeen in Union Square, Mijares will present a new collection of black-and-white works—a stark contrast from his colorful creations. The new pieces were inspired by a three-day trip to the city, wherein he disconnected from society’s Internet craze a bit and roamed the streets instead.
In advance of his New York debut, Whitewall spoke with Mijares to learn more about the new works, where his love for art started, and what he’s working on next.
WHITEWALL: What was your first piece?
ALEX MIJARES: I started painting right after I finished my MBA. I was living in an apartment and had a really large wall that needed a piece of art. All of the art that I liked for the space I was unable to afford at the time. So, I decided I’d just go to the store, buy a canvas roll, and paint in myself. Not knowing what I was doing I got a roll, some paint, one brush, and began. The whole process was very hard and not relaxing at all! I always heard painting was easy and relaxing, but my first piece was not. Once I finally finished, I took it to get it stretched on wood. When I got there, the guy asked me if I had trouble painting it. I said, “Yes, how did you know?!” He told me I painted on the wrong side of the canvas, the side that wasn’t primed, and we both laughed. The piece was inspired by a photo of a friend of mine on a bicycle and also my trip to Spain, which occurred at the same time. I loved stained glass, so that was my inspiration behind my original style and colors.
WW: How has your practice evolved?
AM: If you were to compare my first painting with my latest works, I personally feel I have grown leaps and bounds in seven years. For starters, my confidence has increased. I no longer fear trying new things and experimenting. This allows me to create without worrying what others might think and allows me to follow my intuition. Over the years, I’ve learned to use a brush as an extension of my body. I can’t explain it, but it feels like I’ve been painting for 20 years or more in my mind. I started out just painting on canvases, and am now working with sculptures, bronze sculptures, murals, paintings, paintings on different types of surfaces, etc. I’ve come a long way, but I also feel I haven’t even scratched the surface as to how far I can go!
WW: Is there a material or medium that you haven’t explored yet, but would like to?
AM: I would love to explore working with stone or stained glass in the near future! With stained glass, I think it could be really cool to see how light shining through my work would look. Just the thought alone excites me! I also think mosaics could work very well with my style and would like to try that out one day.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about your new exhibition at Hub Seventeen?
AM: My NYC show will consist of a lot of new things for me. The entire show will only be paintings that were done in oil, which is a new medium for me. Additionally, the bulk of the show will be black and white with very minimal color, which is also a first for me. I’ve always been known for my vibrant colors, but with this show I wanted the focus to be on the linework of the art—keeping it simple, yet complex. I will also be featuring some sculptures in black and white as well.
WW: What are you working on next?
AM: Following this new collection, my next venture will be to mix my original style of acrylic with oils and play on both new styles. I think it’s really going to add texture and depth to my work in a stronger and deeper way. My pieces that are acrylic have a lot of movement, but I feel that by adding oils to the finished product will give it richness and texture like never before. I’ll also be exploring darker/warmer colors to the pallet to change up the look that I am known for.