The turbulent story of Juandrés Vera’s life and art intrigues. Having lost his mother to a car accident at an early age, and later leaving home due to family feuds, art guided Vera through his rough journey to mural painting and solo shows all through the early 2000s. Most noted for his public transport vinyl carpet concept pieces and his street art collections, Vera’s current series of figurative, seascape, beer and wine bottle interior paintings, “Soleidoscopium,” runs as part of the New York exhibit “Transformation,” up until April 22 at P.J.S. Exhibitions (238 W. 14th).
There’s mention of a family feud that seemed to frustrate you in your youth. I’ve lived on my own since I was 17, and fully understand how family can interrupt or sometimes spark artistic impulses. If you don’t mind me asking, what was going on then?
Due to my family problems I had to leave my house and I also left university. I started living by myself and painting on the streets. I started making some money on my own. That is when I realized that art was part of my life and that’s when my career started.
Tell me more about how you fell into abstract street art. What does it all mean to you?
I don’t really think it is abstract art, I have a lot of influences like traditional paintings, Madonnari and 3D painting. I feel like thanks to all the technology I am able to produce my paintings more easily
How’s Monterrey these days?
It’s very diverse, especially in a social-political aspect, there is a lot of violence because of the narcos, and I think this will influence a lot of the Mexican artists.
Who are some artists or musicians you’re excited about right now?
Music: Beirut, Pink Floyd, and I also listen to classical music when I am working.
Art: René Almanza (Mex), Daniel Lezama (Mex), Banksy.
MY INSPIRATION IS MORE ABOUT TRYING TO TRANSMIT MY
FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS.
What was your first memory of art?
I think it would be the first time I drew a picture in primary school. It was the first time I realized what an image can transmit.
Who were your role models growing up?
Talking about art, a lot of the classics were my role models, like Da Vinci and [Diego] Velázquez and a few Mexican artists like Arturo Rivera, Rafael Cauduro, and Gabriel Orozco.
What’s your process look like? Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration in a lot of different places. My inspiration is more about trying to transmit my feelings and thoughts.
What’s one of your biggest frustrations with the art scene today?
I think all the speculation about pricing and how an artist’s work is appreciated, but I guess it’s part of the business and you have to live with it.
Do you feel estranged or invited by the global graffiti culture?
I like graffiti culture but I think what I like about it is that now graffiti is considered art.
Your work uses a lot of dismembered body parts? What does the dislocated limb symbolize for you?
I think it’s a tool to attract peoples’ attention and make a statement about the body part and its uses. It also makes my art a bit more dramatic. I also do it with other objects to make my work iconic.
Your current work seems like a pretty wide rift from your previous work. Where is your craft and experience taking you?
My art has always been realist and figurative and I have always worked with specific concepts in mind.
How do you feel about this New York show, “Transformation?”
I am very excited about it and thankful for the opportunity, I look forward to seeing people’s reaction to my work.
Explore Juandrés Vera’s new work at P.J.S. Exhibitions up until April 22nd.