Spaik: Modernism, Muralism, and Color in Morelia, Mexico

An Awakening!

A good way to start the week, and in the case of murals by Mexican Street Artist SPAIK a way to take flight. You can see it in all three – the small pink birds that lift off the heart, the voice, the printed page – and you know that the artist is also talking about his life through symbols, pattern, and with color.

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

The just completed murals in Morelia, Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico are striking because of the unapologetic use of color – strong, bold, even simple. Not surprising in a culture where color is an integral part of the artisanal, mythical, and even modernist legacy of the country. It is a well known fact that when the Spanish Conquerors entered Tenochtitlan, the sprawling Aztec city, they were most impressed not only by the majestic architecture but the striking colors in which most of the buildings were brilliantly painted.

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

Little of that color remains today in the archeological sites and Mesoamerican artifacts in museum collections – but it is extensively chronicled in accounts of the invasion and the post-colonial times that the  Aztecs adorned and highlighted their monuments in vivid colors. Master Mexican Muralists of the 20th Century carried the tradition and Spaik brings it into the 2010s with these huge figures, commanding and sweeping with polychromatic force and symbolism. As a painter Spaik is a student of that tradition and of folklore and as a formal student he is getting his bachelors in film studies – imagine where these traditions and magical mythical stories will carry him and us en la futura.

There will be more awakenings from Spaik.

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Detail. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening” Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

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Spaik “The Awakening”. Morelia, Mexico. 2013 (photo © Jose Hernandez)

Spaiks walls are part of Festival de Arte Urbano Nicolaita 2013. Please look them up!

 

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