How has technology changed your way you life? Most of us have by now incorporated online media into our daily lives. Text messages, email, social media, alerts, etc. have been worked into our inner psyche.
Bridging the cultural divide in the digital age, Neo-pop is the next level of pop aesthetic. Similar to Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup series, Neo-pop incorporates internet culture, modern icons, popular messages, and/or symbols, to create integrated artworks with online media elements for the new digital age.
Artist, Mwanel Pierre-Louis’ latest Neo-pop series is composed of artworks that visualize the profound impact technology has had in molding our perspective of the world, and the changes online media has in our interpersonal interactions and everyday lives. Here, Mwanel shares with us a bit about his process, answering a general question that some may have already had about all artists —why make art at all?
What’s your earliest memory in Miami relating to your interest in art? What was it about it that caught your attention?
Started my freshmen year at NWSA (New World School of The Arts) in 2001, the seniors were really great mentors to me and my classmates. They all had drive and style pouring out of their souls when it came to art. I was drawn to their work and style. It made me want to become the best that I can be. There are two people that made me look at art and illustration very differently, Reiner Gamboa, and Serge Gay Jr. Very different styles, but very passionate with their subject matter and details of color and content. That’s what still motivates me even when I’m working on new work.
Tell us about your experience at New World and how that influenced you further into your current path?
New World, first of all, was a melting pot of all talented individuals throughout Miami. But it was a small family for creative individuals that grasp a language and vision to move others for greatness. I’ve experienced ups and downs, but we’ve all experienced that in high school. But I’ve learned to keep creating no matter what comes of it.
Did you ever think about doing something else? Why make art?
In my head, I’ve thought of many things that would have been tight to do. But in reality, I just laugh at it! I make art, to better myself and make people believe in themselves that their dreams can become reality as well. I know art was for me once I started to see recognition with peers that’s were outside of my circle in the art world. When I started to see people really wanting to spend large sum of money for my style of art.
Your style can be categorized as Neo Pop with a satirical play on #firstworldproblems. How do you maintain the serious element of fine art while exposing these modern issues?
I like expressing situations in modern media. That’s the world we live in right? So the attraction towards the media is really captivating to me. I endure so much flooding from celebrity media, especially. It’s my world for sure. I’ve been working in the music industry for a while where I’m comfortable to talk about the mess with tabloids and other outside sources. The style of it all is to keep things light and playful. That’s why my color choices are key with my work. It tones in the mood and presences of the person or people I portray.
What do you aim to accomplish when you exhibit in shows such as Digital Ambitions in Atlanta and “blank” in LA?
I aim for people to be enthused and willing to question themselves on how did he approach those pieces. Overall, I just want people to appreciate the style I’m giving to them.
You were been invited to “The Chocolate & Art Show” at Wynwood Warehouse Project in June. Tell us about your experience showing during Art Basel and other Miami shows and compare our local scene to the rest of the world.
Yeah! Well, I’m still humbled for what has happened since Art Basel this past December. It was a blast to be able to show my work on the busiest week of art in the northern hemisphere. But it also brought in newer crowds and better understanding to where I’m at a focus to push out more. You make a body of work for a show, but you to push the work to a new level. Be different from the last body of work. I felt excited when I did that; a challenge, but worth it.
This also pertains to other shows and events that I’ve been in. As for the show that I was in, it was a good amount of people that received the work as for what the work was. In this case, it was a digital show, my presentation and the work in it was high perceived in a great sense of design, color, technicality, and story. So that really drew in the spectators more than anything. Events are a totally different game, it’s where your work is displayed, by your involvement is different. I just did an event, Wynwood Life Festival, where I had to paint live in front of hundreds of people that were in passing. That’s different because you’re in a space where people get to see your process and also ask about your process.
What’s next for you Mwanel? Is there a destination in mind?
Well, what’s next is me traveling and getting inspiration for new work. Also, attack new galleries with my work and keep pushing out new content for my studio. The main goal is to be a brand, in general, like have the paintings, murals, merchandise, shows, lifestyle. But one at a time, I’m really excited about this.
Fine Art in the Digital Age
About Mwanel Pierre-Louis
Mwanel Pierre-Louis is an artist and illustrator based in Miami. His work is based from a graphic and color driven language of today’s pop culture and is mixed with realism and abstraction. The work derives from fashion, music, and people. He’s shown his works within Art Basel Miami in Dec 2014 to Tokyo, Japan in summer of 2013. Color is driven in most of his work and as well in his life. He now pushes the art into different avenues of the genres within the art world for 2015.