Samuel E Vázquez: UNYIELDING
WELCOME to the Indy Arts Studio Series, where you will find behind-the-scenes information such as raw footage from conversations with featured artists, details about artwork development, artist bios, the show at-a-glance, and other details about the exhibitions in Gallery 924 at the Arts Council.
January 26 – February 17, 2017
Visual artist Samuel E Vázquez’s inspirations are rooted in style writing, and have evolved into a highly polished studio practice. Having spent his formative years in New York City, Vázquez’s expressive, gestural style stems in part from his colorful past as part of the subway style writing scene in the 1970s and 1980s. His bold, organic work investigates human interaction and humanity’s resilience to rise above social constructs. Through the use of diverse materials these investigations are manifested via an uncommon, impulsive, and organic voice—full of vibrant colors, uninhibited gestures, and relentless energy.
The Arts Council talked with Vázquez about his creative process and Gallery 924 exhibition:
How did you become an artist, and what brought you to Indianapolis?
Samuel E Vázquez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1970 and grew up in New York City. During the late 70s and 80s, he became involved with the subway style writers. Vázquez moved to Indianapolis in the early 1990s and enrolled in the Herron School of Art where he studied painting, graphic design, and photography. Although his studio practice has evolved over time, he still uses spray paint, in combination with found materials, and says that his time in New York City still inspires his work.
“I incorporate some of the nuances of the city as far as what was going on at the time with the layers of…decay and weather. My work speaks of the history of the city…”
Along with style writing, his inspiration is rooted in the works of Ed Clark, Jackson Pollock, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Vázquez’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and cultural institutions. He has lectured on the history of style writing in venues such as the Arts Council of Indianapolis, New York City College of Technology-CUNY, Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch, Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler Arts Center, and Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Beginning in 2017, Vázquez will be a Scholar In Residence at the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and maintain a studio practice in both Indianapolis and New York City.
“My work is going to have a closer connection to my upbringing.”
How has your work evolved over time? What is the meaning behind the exhibition’s title, UNYIELDING?
“I was speaking of the strength of my roots and the beauty often found in things that seems to be forgotten or neglected.”
UNYIELDING refers to the strength that Vázquez has had to have in his life’s journey. It also reflects on the resiliency of communities sharing his Afro-Latino roots. A lot of the materials used to create works in the exhibition are found objects. Each work consists of many layers of paper, plastic, wood, paint, and VHS tape. Several of the pieces also integrate typography into color fields made from repurposed materials.
You can read more about Vázquez and UNYIELDING in this interview with WhatYouWrite.com.
For More Information:
Gallery 924 is open Monday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. Thursdays from 9 am – 6 pm.