Pixel's murals are largely quaint and sometimes cute scenes of vintage style toy-like robot characters often in states of disrepair or disintegration creating pathos in the mind of the viewer. His robot characters are portrayed as non menacing inventions both male and female of all ages, which also includes a menagerie of robot animals. The theme of "trans-humanism" is evident in his work with robot and human bodies often being a syncretistic blend inducing in the viewer a strong sense of empathetic and affection. A sense of sadness or loss sweeps over us as we embrace his characters who seem to be engaged in human-like behavior and activities giving his images a depth and tenderness that touches our humanity.
Somehow the artist has reversed the bleak and scary dystopian future of the man machine interface by portraying the machine as "victim" at the hands of humans rather than the opposite scenario of potential "villain" touted by the film industry. Many of his murals are poignant and whimsical, showing robots as understanding, sentient guardians aware of humans and protective of their connection to nature. The images below illustrate what i'm saying.
Whether you find yourself in Paris, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Vienna or Los Angeles Pixel's surrealistic murals loom from building heights to interject suddenly like a hallucinatory vision into the banal everyday routines of locals and passersby. This young artist has already taken his unique style to many countries and has become an instantly recognizable street art brand on a par with "Osgemeos" the twin brothers from Brazil who have also become famous with their funky murals around the world. His work is also exhibited in galleries and sold as print editions, drawings or sculptures. The short video below catches Pixel in action painting a large challenging robot mural.
People have always left their marks on built surfaces in the form of signage, poetry, political commentary, romantic declarations or vulgar expressions and so it continues today. Seems people everywhere like to leave their mark for posterity. From the late 60's and with the newly available "aerosol" spray paint can graffiti went from simple text to elaborate pictures. Although still outlawed in most places (you can get arrested if you're not careful) graffiti has become a socially sanctioned activity by an increasing number of art organizations, community groups and urban authorities. What was once a cat and mouse game with authorities of illicit activity for young thrill seeking kids of "paint and run" after dark, has become a series of invite only events to paint a wall by art organizations and museums. Some early outsider graffiti artists went on to become mainstream art "stars" and i'm thinking here in particular of "Jean Michel Basquiat" and "Keith Haring." What has happened to "street art?" It's becoming more sophisticated semantically and visually.
Art innovative potential or new trends are now targets to be sucked up as soon as they are identifiable as ideas with commercial potential. Graffiti has been turned into big business via web strategies and i'm thinking here about "Banksy" the British "stencil" artist in particular. What's wrong with that you might ask? Nothing, if you don't care about co-option of art into reproducible images printed on every kind of object conceivable. Street art has it's own ideology but artists bring their own slant to this once "illicit" activity viewed as vandalism of public property.
Personally, i think street art is a great thing if it rejuvenates urban spaces but is a bad thing when endless buildings are defaced by those devoid of talent or imagination. Bad street art has negative psychological and emotional repercussions on those exposed to it.
Should there be a "vetting" of quality to ensure the benefit of all? I believe so and maybe the invitations to those who have proven their ability is a good way of doing this.
Is there a risk that institutions will eventually groom their own stars and attempt to control the outdoor art scene as well as the indoor exhibition scene? Yes, i think it's happening now.
Accepting this form of control is just the same as surrendering personal freedoms to more bureaucratic regimes where only a chosen, young and hip, art "elite" benefit from private promotion and sponsorships. Yep, it's a slippery slope alright!!
The images below are examples of small scale sculptures by Pixel.
The aspiring young artist gets a wide audience, reputation and the opportunity to exhibit his creations 24/7 as long as the murals survive.
The public get inspired, challenged and ongoing exposure to artistic visions they couldn't have imagined.
Public art can increase property values and lead to better community harmony, neighborly relations and quality of life. Pixel Pancho is one street artist among many that i admire and there is a growing number joining their ranks every year. If they change cities for the better i'm all for them and the innovative visions they create in public spaces.
View these great street art sites by clicking here and here
Read this essay about the impact of graffiti by J Tsoumas here