Bryan Avila (theproducerbdb): An Exclusive Interview with A.I.M.O.
I have been a fan of your work for years. Your pieces are always so colorful and have many layers to them. Can you kindly tell our readers about your creative process and how you approach each piece?
My artwork is a reflection of all the things I like, Music, Fashion, Art, Technology and History.
Each piece is a trip into the past, present and future. You will see great artists like Andy Warhol wearing Kanye West shoes made by an artist who is inspired by both.The crazy thing is these pieces will be around probably longer than me and they will tell the story of right now. I would like to think how would Picasso dress if he was going through his blue period today? Would he be in Chanel? Would he be drawing on a iPad? I could see Marilyn Monroe having a gold card at Starbucks. Or the greatest minds such as Albert Einstein, would he own a iPhone or Samsung? It makes you think. Or you could just look at it and see it as being dope; it's all the cool people in the cool gear drawn in a cool style. I will let the viewer decide. I think that's the cool part.
Do you use several mediums at once? Which are you most comfortable with? Any that are challenging?
Most of the time it's acrylic, watercolors and spray paint. I use resin on my fine art pieces and that can be challenging. You only have a few minutes to level it out get the bubbles out before it hardens and it can be messy.
There seem to be so many iconic faces in your work with a super modern twist to them. What do you like about the subject matter you choose? Do you have an affinity for these icons?
I wish they were still alive! I am inspired by all the icons I have done. I know that some people may not recognize their faces. So I figured if I put them in clothing that is popular today that maybe someone who didn’t know who Basquiat was would be curious to find out more about him. Cus there was a time I didn’t know about Basquiat and when I got put on, it was a pleasant surprise. I also did a series on my favorite musicians and now onto fashion Icons. The subjects I choose are all really cool in my eyes and I just want to keep them cool for the next generations.
You collaborate with other artists. Can you tell us how that comes about and what your latest collaboration was?
I enjoy doing collaborations especially when it's organic. My first one was with photographer Karen Bystedt, she saw my street art of Basquiat, Haring and Warhol on Melrose. She stopped took a picture and posted it on Instagram. After finding out it was me we would later collaborate on her Lost Warhols show. A couple artist friends I met thru that show, Chris “Flore” and Chris Brown. With Flore I really liked his artwork and style and it just fit so perfectly with what I am doing. We still make dope art together and he is a dear friend. With Chris Brown I was a big fan of his music and for him to come up to me and tell me he loved my artwork was one of the coolest things ever. I told him we should do something together and he was with it. We would later collab in the streets and we did a fine art piece together.
Any celebrities or artists ask for commissioned pieces? Has the fashion and art world embraced your talent? If so- how?
The first major celeb to notice my work was Rihanna, I did a piece on her and tagged her on instagram, not thinking she would ever see it. A few moments later my phone was going crazy because she liked it and started following me. That was a shock but encouraged me to keep pushing my art. I have been blessed to have Bob Marley's son Rohan Marley just recently applaud my work, which is big for me also Selena Quintanilla's sister Susie, Fat Joe, Swizz Beats, Cool and Dre., Paula Deanda and the list goes on.
Do you have a background in art? Fashion? Graphics? Design? I ask because so many of your wonderful pieces are immersed within those world's.
I started drawing at a young age, I was quiet and would just draw all the time. It started with ninja turtles and turned into comic books and in high school it became graffiti. I am a self taught artist. I didn’t go to college I just drew everyday. I found out that Graphic Design was a good way to make money. So I would go thru youtube videos and learn how to do design work on Illustrator and Photoshop. Once I got the hang of graphic design I would get a lot of design jobs for Fashion. Street wear brands would commission me to draw logos and design shirts. The more I did, the more I got immersed into the world of fashion. I now have my own women's line, Stelluh V and I am launching a limited line based off my artwork soon.
Can you tell us what you consider to be your greatest art moment to date? Something or someone that made you sit back and feel proud of who you are and what you do for a living?
My first Show at Bruce Lurie Gallery was my greatest moment to date. To have my first show at a major gallery was a great start. That day was a blur, but I could say that I did it and my life long dream to be a professional artist is a reality.
Do you have a mentor? If so, how did he/she help you navigate the art world via galleries and shows?
Pablo Picasso is a great mentor to me, even though he may not know it, lol. Andy Warhol, too. I think they make the best mentors because they can’t say no. I like to learn from them and their moves. Shepard Fairy, Gregory Siff, Retna, Knowledge Bennett and Flore are friends that have helped me also.
If our readers want to see more of your art, where can they go?
My Instagram @theproducerbdb I have updates of new murals, street art and upcoming shows... Bruce Lurie Gallery in Los Angeles, Lab Art Los Angeles and Lulu Laboratorium In Miami are all galleries that have my artwork.