Interview with the 2017 Poster Artist: Pixel Pancho

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Born in Turin in 1984, Pixel Pancho was introduced to color and form by his grandfather, who painted occasionally. With time, his passion for art and design led him to the Albertina Academy of Fine Arts followed by the Academy of Fine Arts in Valencia, Spain, where he obtained his degree. It was in Spain that he became familiar with the graffiti and street art scenes and began working on outdoor surfaces with spray cans and markers. Traveling between Turin and Valencia, Pixel Pancho took every opportunity to make his mark, using different media such as tiles, wall painting and sticker/poster art, eventually expanding across Europe.

Pixel Pancho’s work is drawn from several diverse influences. Traces of Joaquin Sorolla, Salvador Dali and the political painter group “El Equipo Cronica” to the more modern Ron English and Takashi Murakami can be seen in his works. Traveling extensively for graffiti jams and gallery exhibitions has allowed his style to evolve from a simple robot character to the more complex compositions in his work today. The narrative in Pixel Pancho’s art is driven by a forgotten world that sits under a blanket of dust. In it, broken and dented robots are found decaying into the ground, their iron and rusted copper bodies falling and laying as if discarded into oblivion. Although the scale of his work ranges, the surreal realm is a constant thread, piercing through contemporary and historical references that add a sense of relevance within our place and time. The strength of physical and gestural references that humanize these robots results in the artist’s unmistakable mark. Found on the walls of abandoned buildings in cities throughout Europe, the U.S. and Mexico, Pixel Pancho’s design is an interconnected structure of stories. The murals, the paintings, the sculptures in the end are only a small part of something greater, another story within the ever-growing realm.

Chicago is a city that loves its parades. St. Patrick’s Day to Thanksgiving, presidential inaugurations to baseball championships, and Helenic Heritage to Pride — there are plenty of opportunities to hit the streets and fly your freak flag. For the 2017 Lollapalooza poster, Pixel Pancho played on that tradition and imagined Lollapalooza as an old-timey street fair complete with marching band. His version gets a surrealist spin with the musicians as robots, one of his signature motifs, powered not by gears but by the greenery of Grant Park. While the execution is vintage in style, they march forward to today, when Lollapalooza will once again fill Chicago’s streets with music.

Read more about Pixel Pancho in our interview about his background and inspiration for the 2017 Official Lollapalooza poster.

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You have an inspiring story. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started on the path of becoming a world-renowned artist.
When I was a child I used to creates things, spending time in my dad’s garage where I start[ed] assembling pieces, fixing bikes. [On] the other side there was my grandpa, a talented amateur painter, who [taught] me the way to express myself trough painting. Then followed the years of the graffiti, the studies and [graduating with] Fine Arts in Spain, [it was] the first big wall… I’ve always believed in what I’ve done, while I was doing it.

We are curious to know what inspires the themes in your work and how the use of earth tones helps convey the story you are telling.
I paint in the way I see the life surround me. Plants, nature, time get me inspired. Robots are a metaphor of life, as the skin [gets] old, the iron gets rusted. The warm tones come from there, from the rust, from the ground, the soil, the leaves, flowers and fruits. Things to which we belong, things we should be grateful [for] instead of] try[ing] to destroy them.

What was the inspiration behind your design for the 2017 Lollapalooza commemorative poster?
I’ve imagined a band who fled from a carillon, one of those [from a] old dusty music-box, feeling free to play the music that they love, with no rules, breaking down the barriers of everyday routine. That is [the] way music [is] supposed to be [for me]. A way to make you feel free, out of market rules.

As an artist, does contributing one of your works to become a part of Lollapalooza’s history have significance for you?
Yes, sure. Lollapalooza in [it’s] history has [been] promoting a lot of music since the ’90s that [has also] accompanied me through this time.

Does music regularly have an influence on your art?
Actually, there [are] no rule[s]. Sometimes I love to hear it loud [while] singing, sometimes I prefer the silence. But, yes, the truth is that some songs have been the soundtrack and the inspiration for some of my works.

Where did the name Pixel Pancho originate from?
[At first,]there was Pixel, it was me. And [also] there was Pancho, a guy from South America who started this project with me. Then one day, our roads moved on different paths, however, I decided to push forward the “cart” of pixels ahead.

Your murals are spectacular masterpieces found all over the world. Are there any special locations around the world that are meaningful to you where hope to paint a mural in the future?
Antartica, sounds weird but this is it.

Do you have any advice for a young artist just discovering their talents?
Never stop studying, keep informed, let yourself be inspired without being too influenced.

We heard you will be attending this year’s festival in Chicago. We look forward to having you there! What are you most looking forward to? Is this your first time at the festival?
Yes, it will be my first time at Lollapalooza. I’m curious as I always [am]. Nothing in particular, [and] everything. “Nothing shocking” [and] everything surprising.

Urbanscapes 2017: Clean Bandit Live in Kuala Lumpur

English band Clean Bandit played to the packed KL Live on 18th May, Thursday night, performing their signature blend of electronic and classical sounds on their show in Kuala Lumpur. The event started at 8 p.m with an hour-long opening act by Alextbh, the local RnB artist from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, opening the night with his hit ‘You’. The show proceeded to its main act at around 9pm. The crowd screamed to welcome the band members who appeared one by one on the stage, Clean Bandit kicked off the show with 2014 track ‘UK Shanty’, followed by another 2014 track ‘Stronger’, immediately sending the party vibes throughout the hall.

Urbanscapes - Clean Bandit - PPS_4257 - Photo by All Is Amazing

They continued the night with their other hits, ‘Extraordinary’, ‘Come Over’, to the more recent songs like ’Symphony’ and ‘Rockabye’ were also on their set list. The band members regularly interacted with their fans and showed off their musical skills by playing many instruments, including violin, as well as electronic drums. The crowd also played its part in the concert, singing along with the band, clapping hands in the air and dancing individually or in small groups making the hall a party scene.

Urbanscapes - Clean Bandit - _MG_0092 - Photo by All Is Amazing

After performing 15 songs, the band left the stage making it seem like the end of the show, but in just couple minutes they were back and the party atmosphere continued when the group started performing their other hit, ’Tears’. As the song ended, the iconic intro of ‘Rather Be’ which won the Grammy Award in 2015 for Best Dancing Recording, was played and the crowd went crazily enthusiastic again. There was definitely no place electronic music lovers would rather have been at that moment but right there, singing the song together to close one amazing night.

Urbanscapes - Clean Bandit - PPS_4178 - Photo by All Is Amazing

A Day at Urbanscapes House

Urbanscapes 2017 - AIA_8701 - Photo by All Is Amazing

Malaysia longest creative festival was back to Kuala Lumpur from 5-21st May 2017, with “Rediscover KL” as its theme for this year, Urbanscapes brought a lot of exciting acts start from the local artist to international ones, such as Mew, Cigarette After Sex, and even the Grammy Award winner, Clean Bandit. Not just about the acts, we also didn’t want to miss the Urbanscapes 2017 visual art component and installation at Urbanscapes House.

Urbanscapes 2017 - IMG_9252 - Photo by All Is Amazing

Walking down to the white colonial building at the corner of Hang Kasturi street, we were greeted by the hospitable host giving a short explanation on what was going on at that historical building.

Collective | Individuals
Located at the basement of Urbanscapes House, Collective | Individuals is a visual art projects which works with 7 visual arts collective and 36 individual artists in total.

Urbanscapes 2017 - AIA_8550 - Photo by All Is Amazing

We were impressed by a lot of art installation that caught our eyes as they used various of mediums to represent the ideas, from social commentaries to political humour.

Urbanscapes 2017 - AIA_8949 - Photo by All Is Amazing

Immersio
Stepping into the first floor of Urbanscapes House, just right after we opened the door, we were directly fascinated by the dark room that was filed by the visual, digital and sonic exhibition made of light and sound.

Urbanscapes 2017 - DDY_3776 - Photo by All Is Amazing

They also had little space for virtual reality, the visitor were invited to put the VR headset and step into a virtual world to paint their very own version of KL

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#THISISKUALALUMPUR

Moving up to the third floor of Urbanscapes House, the visitors were offered by the intimate look of KL street scenes, character and city silhouettes wrapped in all the hanging photograph all over the room.

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What we love most is how it clearly showed one of the best feature of Kuala Lumpur, the complexity, yet rich mixture of different cultures and heritage.

Urbanscapes 2017 - NIK_0731 - Photo by All Is Amazing

Why You Need Know Shawn Carter Peterson (AKA Dax in Perfect Pitch 2)

2015 has been a tremendous year for Shawn Carter Peterson!
Aside from many national commercials, television appearances and film offers, being a member of the cast of a #1 film for multiple weeks and in multiple countries around the world has been the highlight so far!  Pitch Perfect 2 has grossed over $285 million worldwide, opened #1 in Australia, New Zealand and the US and has become the highest grossing musical comedy of all time.
Shawn: I star as “DAX“, an intern at “Residual Heat”, the record label run by Keegan-Michael Key- who happens to be DAX’s uncle.  The film was directed by first time director Elizabeth Banks (who did a phenomenal job), and I had the opportunity to work with Keegan-Michael Key, Anna Kendrick & Snoop Dogg.  I wanted to take a moment to share my work on the film with you.  I thank you as always for your continued support and know that much more is yet to come!