Jeff Henriquez: An Exclusive Interview with A.I.M.O.
It's always a pleasure running into artist Jeff Henriquez. His art speaks to me and is so very detailed that I spend quite a bit of time looking at each piece he creates. I knew I wanted to interview Jeff after seeing him at a recent event. He has a wonderful personality, too!
Lovely seeing you again and I especially liked the piece you did for The Sonic Jungle. Can you kindly tell our readers how you got involved with the project and what your mural meant to you?
I was invited to paint in the basement through @just_a_spectator. I met him a few times and we connected with the idea of working together. For the wall, I chose an old jazz musician named Joe Tate. I met him in D.C. during grad school where I picked up street photography. He was at a market playing for money. He had done sets and played shows with some of the greats like Coltrane and Davis. The difference is that Joe had survived the drugs. And you could see the long life in his face. The time, the hardships and pain and struggle. For me, it was an easy connection. I left D.C. in 2002. When I came back in 2008 I went back to his corner where he always played but didn't see him. I asked around and many people knew him. Finally a woman from the market looked at me sadly and shook her head. He was an underdog, a forgotten soul in society, jazz man. He was my friend. And was definitely one of my favorite subjects. The Great Joe Tate.
You have many mediums you have mastered. What do you prefer to work with?
If I had a favorite medium I would say acrylic. It's great for short production time and quick layering. Spray is fun shit too! But if I'm a grown up about it, I think it's better to be the student than the teacher, which means I still get to learn new things about the same mediums I've been using since forever. There is always a new variable that makes itself known which affects that medium's behavior from the weather outside to the molecular structure of the pigment. You might accidentally spill whiskey on your paint palette and discover that the wood barrel that gave that glass of JW its color has turned your crimson into something equivalent to good sex. You never know! Science, man!! So if I've mastered anything, it's leaving room to use what I know while adding to it when I work or 'practice'.
Your newer series "Sending Love" is so wonderful. What inspired you to do this series? Are they represented on both canvases and stickers?
I've been drawing birds and pigeons as elements in my drawings for a while but I decided to make them more of a focal point or signifier in this latest set of works as a way of conveying how I feel and look at life. I relate to the pigeon as a regular being, like us, anonymous, beautiful, with attitude problems, fat and happy, grumpy, disheveled, clever, privileged, abandoned, and all with the ability to up and fly away at the next whim. A power we don't have. How cool it would it be to be like them? To fly away if you want?
I took this bit and thought it might be cool to make a street art statement with it so I put a heart sticker in his beak to move throughout the street art landscape sending the message of the most universal and essential element of life that no social creature can live without.. SLAP!
You can see them on walls in my murals, in my canvas collection, and very soon on stickers!
What is coming up next for you? I know you are part of a charity that held a gala at the end of March in which you donated a beautiful piece to.
I just finished a mural on Myrtle and Hart in Bushwick, and had a charity event spearheaded by MEDair charities where I donated a piece which sold at the event. I am currently working on commissions for collectors from 3 different countries plus a client in Boston. There are a few other projects on the table that include restaurant signage and art work. Lastly, I just hung a group teaser show in Harlem at Dear Mama, 308 E 109th which will be up for 2 weeks. My good friend JT Liss curated this 4 artist show at Dear Mama for the upcoming show in May at La Maison d'Art at 259 West 132nd Street.
If you could collaborate with ANY artist, who would it be with and why?
Living artist? That's tough as there are way too many good beasts out there to pick but I will say Banksy. The reason is because we are different kinds of artists. He does stencils and I do realism of city scapes and the like. I could see one of his stencils in a painting where I show the side of a wall or mailbox and his piece as part of if not dominating the street art in the composition or even if it was just his piece and the walls are layered with old torn wheatpastes from the past . I think it would be sick.
Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?
All of my new work is on my Instagram @JARTISTA soon to be @JEFFHENRIQUEZART
You can see work here as well at Jeff Henriquez