Kusi Mate // coloured
FOLKDAYS Nº 108
If you have ever walked past Abel's house on Willoughby Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I'm pretty sure that you'd remember it. The walls are bright blue and the house is entirely covered in vibrantly painted snakes. Although you see quite a lot of street art in Bushwick, Abel's home is quite exceptional and you really want to enter and discover who lives behind these colorful walls. If the house is a piece of art from the outside, wait until you see the interior - this is when the true journey into Abels world begins.
When I first crossed the threshold into his place, I didn't know where to look first. The house is entirely covered with ephemera that Abel has amassed over the years, along with many of his paintings and mobile sculptures. It seems like there isn't an inch that hasn’t been carefully curated. But at the same time it doesn't feel like a gallery or museum at all - there is a comfortable randomness in the air that makes the place exceptionally cozy. You want to touch and look at everything, but that would take hours, if not days.
Abel is a well known street artists in New York and many people are familiar with his bright yellow bunnies or pink thunderclouds pasted or painted on walls in and around Brooklyn. People might be less aware of what he creates indoors, which is truly amazing. There are his trash sculptures which are constructed from found objects like sticks, pieces of plastic and old books; and his paintings in which he incorporates other items he has collected. He manages to transform worthless junk into art pieces that are beautiful and dreamy, but also slightly disturbing, all of which made me curious to explore the mind behind all this.
Abel, who are you?
My name is Abel Macias. I am a multi-media artist and painter living and working in New York City for 13 years now. My studio workspace is inside of my home. Im lucky that I can wake up and just walk downstairs to my studio and begin working. Of course the downside to working from home is that sometimes I don't get out much. I live in Brooklyn, specifically in the neighborhood of Bushwick, which has a very big budding artist community. There are many galleries, studios and street art everywhere. Its a great place to live at the moment but like all things New York, its rapidly changing.
What are you up to here and what made you start?
I moved to NYC after college because I always wanted to be a professional artist in NYC. There is no other city like it. It has so much diversity and personality. It helped me find my artistic voice among the masses. My early days here, I did a lot more of illustration and design type of work for commercial brands and editorial print publications. I soon became very interested in the street art world. People notice and interact with street art very differently than how they would with art that is inside the confines of a gallery.
Has your work changed any of the choices you make in your personal life?
My current work though, has evolved. Now, I bring the outside inside. My work has a lot to do with finding new purpose in something disposed. I look for aesthetic value in objects that I find in nature and in sometimes in dumpsters. Because of this I constantly hold on to things. I like the challenge of using unconventional materials and textures in my art. My studio has a big inventory of objects. I believe in getting maximum use out of the things you buy and so the items I own gain personal value through stories. Of course that means nothing to others but I do believe that objects retain energy that you put into them. Even if they belonged to someone else, they say something.
How do you imagine the ideal world?
I suppose living in such a populated city has also given me an exaggerated sense of the waste us humans make and Im constantly rebelling against society’s commercial pressure to buy more, buy more. Every time I walk around the sidewalks on trash days I see so many manufactured plastic objects, cheap furniture, old TVs, and you name it, just put out and it never ceases to appear week after week. So much is wasted. Through my art making process I consider the idea of trash turning into gold. Art can do that. It has the power to make you look at something deeper than the just the surface level.
Any last words?
No last words.
Meet Abel here.