All posts tagged: MRKA

MRKA Gives High Marks to “Utility Writers” in Unique Street Tome

MRKA Gives High Marks to “Utility Writers” in Unique Street Tome

When academics and post-modern esoteric poets plunge into descriptions of graffiti sometimes they proffer colorful didactics and clever terminology like “mark-making” and “gestural” to describe the tagging practice. Conceptualist, graffiti writer, and multimedia artist MRKA takes a step toward the mundane and discovers a new kind of poetry with his “Utility Writers”.

Utility Writers by MRKA. Wallplay. NYC

Paying homage to the physical expression as well as the visual one, MRKA re-frames the fluorescent utility symbols that construction crews communicate with and rely upon. Here he helps you see it as art and communication in his uniquely bright look at mark-making. In interviews with professionals who he features spraying the streets, you also learn that there is a certain pride of creation that overlaps the braggadocio of graffiti writers who hit up walls across cities.

A limited edition book that was released to commemorate the solo exhibition that he procured in Manhattan last fall, “Utility Writers” also presents the MRKA’s own crafted alphabet derived from the directional urban hieroglyphics that we see and are blind to on our daily trip through the city.

Perhaps it is their individual flair and sense of expression to which he is most drawn; It’s “the endless possible interpretations of these symbols, and ultimately the individuals involved, who write,” he says when describing his experience capturing the collection of works on New York City asphalt and its sidewalks between 2016 and 2018.

“No matter where humans are or go, there is a good chance you may find a mark or story being told,” says Brazilian pixação writer and billboard crusher Sabio in an essay in which he tells us this need to leave something in public space is universal.

“The human hand can hold things, but more importantly it can mark a surface. For thousands of years we have left the writing on the wall, or in many cases, the ground. Look around you and find secret messages calculated and hidden everywhere. We live in big cities and a performance of shapes exist right beneath our feet.”

Study the method, study the panache, study the complete alphabets he has distilled, and you can understand the intensity of dedication MRKA employs to help draw the parallels.

“…As the book shows, both construction workers and graffiti writers share a bent toward creative expression through letter forms,” says filmmaker Selina Miles here. “I think this book suggests that if these two seemingly disparate groups have so much in common, maybe the compulsion to write your name on shit is just one of the basics of human nature.”

Utility Writers. Designed and edited by MRKA. Cover Spray by Lebron718. NYC.

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Studio Visit with MRKA : Graffiti and Branding

Studio Visit with MRKA : Graffiti and Branding

“Graffiti and branding are the same thing; One is legal and one is illegal.”

BSA Contributor Rosanna Bach visited MRKA for a studio visit and they talked about the intersections of the street, the Internet, branding, commercialism, and graffiti. Here is what she found:

At 23, New York based Lucas Benarroch (MRKA) is like a lot of artists who started out writing in the streets – in his case the streets of Madrid. Often he collaborates with San Francisco based Nicolas Linares (NKO) and in 2010 they formed a duo called Pillasbros (or Pillas) and they have worked together on projects for “Secret Wars” in Brooklyn and in Wynwood, Miami. MRKA crisscrosses all mediums and medias as an outlet, whether it be his murals, graphic artwork or branding projects allowing his shapes, symbols and ideas to evolve organically.

“Machine Fun” by MRKA for Pillas. Wynwood, Miami. 2012 (photo © MRKA)

I arrive to his apartment/studio on a sunny morning and he opens the door fresh out of bed, but immediately gets into action mode. “I want to show this and this, and what if we take the photo over here? What do you think?”  I laugh. Inside the rather generic “cookie cutter” apartment I find a world of prints, paintings, and stickers…

Rosanna Bach: You work on the majority of your murals with NKO. Can you describe that working relationship?
MRKA:
 I like to work with someone because there are two opinions. There are always two heads thinking about where to put the next shape or where to draw the next hand or tree. Our styles are completely different; He is more into characters and I’m more into texturing and geometries and the balance of the whole — and that’s what creates Pillas. I’m going a little more abstract, Nico keeps me more focused. He’s a serious man and I’m a little more distracted, so it’s a nice conjuncture of two styles. In terms of MRKA I don’t know if it’s a brand or just a lovely percussion instrument. I don’t know what it is yet. For now I’m just doing the projects I think are worth doing like the project for the Wutang Brand or the “Pillas Submarine” I painted with NKO in Miami last summer.

“Pillas Submarine” by Pillas (MRKA & NKO). Wynwood, Miami. 2012 (photo © Victor Alarcon)

Rosanna Bach: What makes a project worth doing?
MRKA:
 You have to think about if you’re motivated for it, if you’ll enjoy it or if it will be a pain. The relationship with the person you do the deal with is very important. I just put a MRKA on the cool shit that I do even if it’s commercial. Doing collaborations with commercial brands doesn’t bother me — That’s how the world works and you’ve got to eat. But you choose which brands you do and don’t want to work with. I mean why not? As long as you keep it personally artistic and you do what you want and not strictly what the brand wants, you’re good.

Rosanna Bach: Tell me, what’s the Maraca (MRKA) about?
MRKA:
 Just like people who have put their logo or their symbol or their icon all over the place — like “BNE” for example — it’s just a way to get attention from people. And then you can do whatever they want with it; in his case he built a water foundation.  The MRKA is used the same way. You see it on a coffee package or on a mural or on the Internet. It’s like a hashtag on Instagram — a way to link all your works. I mean I feel like social media stole tagging from graffiti…. basically it’s branding.

MRKA “His House”. Detail. (photo © Rosanna Bach)

Rosanna Bach: But branding for what exactly?
MRKA:
 Consciously or unconsciously you brand yourself little by little. It’s great when they find out your work is not just little stickers and little tags. It could bring you an exhibition with five screens or a mural in the Bronx. Graffiti and branding are the same thing; One is legal and one is illegal. I’m not sure which is which anymore since everything in this world crosses over these days. I’m mixing it. One guy told me today you have to focus, so I did the opposite. That is what a MRKA is. If you open it you’ll see all the sand inside, those grains are my ideas and my exhibits and the mailboxes I tag and all the things I wish to do. They just move around and shake and suddenly some of them get together to make a bigger noise…and that’s when the joy comes because something is born.

Rosanna Bach: So what would you say your work is about?
MRKA:
 It’s about seeing a final physical product of my idea (He smiles). I love seeing that physical thing after I had a dream or a thought and two days or a couple of months, maybe years later, it’s there. You make your own little world you try new techniques new materials. It’s like having a physical Facebook.

MRKA “His House” (photo © Rosanna Bach)

Rosanna Bach: Street or gallery? Does it matter?
MRKA:
 I don’t think much — just do what you feel like doing that day. Because if you obsess over street or gallery, artist or designer, matte or glossy — you end up doing nothing at all. Don’t think too much, just shake well.

Rosanna Bach: Some use it as a chance to cast an opinion outward into the world.
MRKA:
I don’t do that. Mine is straight art, I just do it in the street. Because it’s pure art. It’s not street art as something profound or subliminal. It s more related to graffiti as here I am and it s related to the fine art here I am but I m not just fucking up your wall I’m doing it here instead of on a canvas and I m going to share it with you. The street is cool because you can go huge and you don’t have to move it. There’s no secondary intention apart from this is what I do I hope you like it call me if you need anything.

Rosanna Bach: It is just as simple as that?
MRKA:
 It comes from inside. It comes from the desire to do things well and just doing in general. It’s a reflection of how I like geometry and balance and branding and graffiti and how I put it all together. It’s about making a shape recognizable. It could be a circle or a square, it could be anything, but it’s how you use it where it can become something good. How high can you get this symbol? – not in the sense of fame but in the sense of how much can it involve? I do all sorts of things within the same realm under this umbrella. My MRKA is as simple as that.

MRKA (photo © Rosanna Bach)

New drawings (in process) by Pillas (NKO + MRKA) (photo © Rosanna Bach)

MRKA. Jack and Queen from Royal Flush Series. (photo © Rosanna Bach)

MRKA (photo © Rosanna Bach)

Links:

http://www.emerreka.com/

http://minimaldose500mg.com/

http://pillasbros.blogspot.com/

http://vimeo.com/mrka

 

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