Preparations for the highly anticipated solo show opening tomorrow night at the FIFTY24SF Gallery are currently underway. The show will feature a new body of work, including a sculpture and studies that give us a glimpse of process and techniques that ARYZ spends time exploring in between large scale walls and canvases. We finally caught up with ARYZ, who stopped to sit down and chat with us a bit about his background, his first memory of seeing a mural and the title of his show, STYLE IS THE LIMIT. – Jy-Ah Min
Jy-Ah- Tell us a bit about your background and how it impacts your work, if it affects your work at all?
Aryz- In my family there has always been people who work in crafts. Most of them work with things that have to do with their hands and not their head. I mean, of course they have to use their knowledge and think a little, but they focus on their craftsmanship. For example, my grandfather was an organ builder and my uncle is a carpenter.
I actually didn’t realize that my family was not that common until a few years ago. I thought I had a normal family but then I met other people and when I explained to them what my family worked on, and what my family did, they were surprised and said it was unusual. But what I mean is that this context helped me when I started painting because it was well received. It was of course a bit surprising to them at first when I said I wanted to leave the technological field and go to the artistic field. Because in Spain when you are sixteen you start choosing what you want to go into and I first chose the technological field.
Jy-Ah- And why the technological field?
Aryz- At the beginning I wanted to be an industrial designer. I kind of liked it but I was a bit too messy. I’m not good at doing things neatly. So I thought that maybe being a graphic designer might work. And since I have a lot of friends in the graphic design field, I thought that it was a good way of making a living.
Honestly, I never thought I was going to be able to travel by painting or that I could make a living from it. That’s why I thought industrial or graphic design could be a good job. Painting on walls and stuff like that was always an extra thing. I was painting for many hours a week but I wasn’t expecting that painting was going to take me anywhere. My main goal in life when I started painting was to paint with the graffiti guys from my town. And it’s funny because one or two years later I was already painting with them, so I consider everything that came after that as a gift. I have had lots of presents lately. It’s been almost like Christmas all the time! I’ve had the chance to paint with really nice people and meet lots of guys of whom I’ve always admired their work. I also had the opportunity to travel around and that’s priceless for me.
Jy-Ah- And who were the guys you wanted to paint with that inspired you?
Aryz- I think just the guys writing on walls in my neighborhood were the ones that inspired me the most. Because when you are a kid, those first impressions are really powerful. There were many emotions when I saw those graffitis for the first time… With time you get used to it and you become more critical, but I’m still a fan of a lot of graffiti writers. I really like lots of things they do and sometimes its crazy when people who’s work I love, mention me and manifest their appreciation.
Jy-ah-Do you still remember the first mural or artwork or something that you saw on a wall? Like the first time you looked at something and you said, “I want to do that”?
Aryz- Yeah I first paid attention to a mural walking to my school with my mother and my brother. We were living in an apartment and on our way to school we had to go behind a football field that had a long wall. I remember that it was painted with some letters and characters that shocked me a lot because it was something really new for me at that moment.
Jy-Ah-How old were you?
Aryz- Maybe I was 10 or 11 years old. Years later, I realized that, this painted wall behind the football field was made by a guy who is now in my crew! I still remember, when I went by the wall once and some guys were painting there and that was really a crazy moment for me because it was like, ‘Ohh wow! This is this guy and this is that guy’. And to finally recognize them and see them painting was magic.
I also think that sometimes meeting them is not always so cool, because you tend to expect more than what that experience actually is. Maybe because you expect them to be something different and in fact, many times, the person does not match the work he does. Actually that’s quite sad because you like the artwork and when you meet the guy sometimes it becomes a filter between you and his work, so the artwork changes meaning for you. Or at times you see the artwork and its not really special but then you meet the guy and the artwork becomes more interesting to you.
Jy-ah- Do you try to consciously separate the two things? What you do and who you are?
Aryz- For myself I don’t really separate it, but I try to avoid showing myself because I want people to see the work and not see the guy behind the whole thing. I don’t believe people should be interested in me. I mean I do what I do and if they like it, it’s okay but I think it’s the artwork that has to remain in the end so I don’t think it’s so necessary to be seen. It’s easy to find my face if you search around. People can see my face because when I’m painting I don’t really care much about wearing a mask. Its just when people ask me to take very direct or frontal photos that I’m not a big fan of it.
Jy-ah- You mentioned that in your family or in your background there’s a lot of people who work with their hands and who understand craft. But defining yourself as an artist is not just about the craft but also having style, right? So what is your definition of style?
Aryz- Style is the way you do things. Everyone has their own style. Everybody has certain ways of doing things. So actually, the way you do them and the small mistakes from not knowing how to do things is what makes your style special.
In painting, if I don’t know how to do a hand or how to do ears, other people are going to see that I paint some weird hands or some weird ears. But if you keep doing that and keep repeating that mistake, it’s what’s going to create your style. So if you don’t know how to use color or even how to do straight lines, probably those lines or those colors are going to have something special. That’s what connects one work to the next work, and that’s why I call the show STYLE IS THE LIMIT, because your limitations are what define your style. I like the sentence and I thought it was a bit strange at first, but finally I thought it was a nice concept to work on. I mean for a show, I realize that it’s a bit strange because I don’t want it to mean that I have no limit (because I have a lot of limitations.) I’m just trying to work as much as I can on my own limitations. With my mistakes, I try to exaggerate them so that they become my strength. That’s the battle between the artist and his work and I think everybody has his own struggles.