One particular body of work, that demonstrates many of his abilities and could quite possibly be his strongest work, is a series of portraits of graffiti artists entitled “Graffiti aHEAD”. Felix has chosen these people to paint because of his admiration and respect for them as graffiti artists. This comes across in the work in various ways, first and foremost the size of the works.
He creates a nonpareil perspective into the world of portrait art- He begins by sitting each subject down for a photograph. Encouraged to pose in such a manner that represents themselves, their individualities come alive frame by frame.
Felix Maldonado Jr.
A proud native of East Chicago, Indiana, Felix is a self-taught artist with 25+ years experience in painting., drawing and graffiti art.
In 1995, he received his bfa in advertising with a minor In graphic design from the American academy of art in Chicago.
His work has landed him at several agencies in Chicago directing and producing commercials for companies like Culligan Water, Peoples Energy, Roto-Rooter, Head Tennis and ATA Airlines.
In 2003, Felix helped form Cisa Studio, llc. A creative services company producing work locally and around the country from murals, kustom paint and airbrushing to advertising, design and multimedia.
His clients have included : the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, the Environmental Educational Center, the Indiana Visitor's Center , Horseshoe Casino, Tortillas Nuevo Leon, Ni-Source, Reaper’s Realm haunted attractions and the list goes on.
Felix also has an extensive history of solo and group art exhibitions in the Midwest and throughout the
country., exhibiting at the south shore arts center-Munster, Cisa gallery-Hammond, the Mexican fine arts museum– Chicago, art expo-Chicago, Swope museum-Terre Haute, SOMArts museum-San Francisco and recently in 2014 in the “paint, paste, sticker”/street art show at the Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago.
Felix Maldonado is an artist in every sense of the word. His passion and enthusiasm for this subject is evident in everything he makes.
This initial photo session is imperative to Felix's creative process for portraits as this is where he begins his “visual conversation”. These larger than life portraits command attention and respect, which Felix bestows upon these people.
The detail in the faces of the subjects is made with care but also with a spontaneous and physical manner synonymous to the medium they all use—the spray can..
“While most see a furrow of an eyebrow as just that, I see this gesture as a continuous pause in the color reflection and refraction: an ever-changing palate with every expression made”. Using this medium , he ties them to each other in the tradition of graffiti art, Felix is currently working on “Graffiti ahead”: A documentation of Midwest Graffiti Artist series #2” due out in May 2014.
My goal for this particular body of work is to invite the viewer to take an optimistic view of the world for a change and away from the social, political and cultural issues that seem to
posses our everyday curiosity and distract us from what’s actually around us. In my work I attempt to deconstruct our surroundings: the industrial landscape, urban decay and the gripping mundane color palate that has been part of my childhood and adult culture by engaging the viewer with the subject of the flower or “Magnoliophyta” as it is scientifically referred.
I reproduce this familiar visual arranging them into new conceptually layered pieces and developing a new sense of introduction. Aside from the obvious places, often times these subjects are featured around non-typical domestic objects around us such as: under wood pallets, growing out of sidewalk cracks, clinging to brick walls, long railroad tracks, etc.—places we don’t usually look to find the flower (s). I juxtapose them with whimsical strokes and often embellish it with stenciled patterns. The colors I choose for my pieces establishes a dreamlikesurreal quality, suggesting notions of calmness and safety yet formally unifying the disparate subjects they’re set in with an almost chaotic-like background.
While I like to change the subject of my works in each project, my methodology is consistent-the spray can. I find a natural confidence of using spray paint as it allows me to control the style of work I want to achieve in each piece while giving me a sense of satisfaction knowing I can accomplish this “impressionistic graffiti” (as some of my peers may like to refer to it as) Also the subject matter of each piece determines the message in each “accidental stroke” in my work (another favorable term to describe my methods).
Magnolio Graffita’s purpose is to challenge the viewer to “stop and smell the roses” if you will and try to understand that beauty exists even in the bleakest of places without discrimination to how or why it got there.
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