JOSE AURELIO BAEZ
Jose Aurelio Baez is a Puerto Rican painter from New York and a graduate in fine art from Carnegie Mellon University . He remembers the first time he was exposed to art, it was a large print of Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère which hung above their family dining room table.
In 2015 he was featured on NY1 for his work with the Sing for Hope Piano Project, while his other art pieces were exhibited in places such as 212, Plush, SPiN NYC and Warehouse Galley.
He was also a set artist for VH1’s Black Ink Crew, did mural installations with JMZ Walls, and had commissioned work for Samsung, Droga5 & New Castle Lager.
He currently lives and work in the Upper East Side.
Your greatest inspirations or influences?
My work is very informed by my childhood inspirations. I spent a lot of time in my own head as a kid, escaping the real world through comic books, graffiti, cartoons and Kung-Fu flicks. Lately I am inspired from the current social environment and political circumstances.
In this age of hyper-communication, it's easy to over-simplify situations with hashtags or tweets. I think its more important than ever for the public to question where we get our information and what we do with it.
Favorite websites, social media handles or publications?
- and The Economist.
Current instagrams accounts I enjoy:
Most interesting project to date?
I recently did a series of watercolor paintings to raise money for Standing Rock.
I used images from social media to create portraits of protestors. It started out as a simple fundraiser but I ended up getting a very positive reaction. It helped me realize that art is meant to do exactly that, no matter how small the impact may seem at first.
I am still encouraging people to get in touch with me to donate money to the Sioux Tribe Legal Defense Fund.
What would be a dream project for you?
A collage mural on the side of a building. It would be site-specific and change over time it as it is affected by the elements.
Anything else you would like to share?
I recently had the opportunity to hear Dara Birnbaum speak. She spoke to the importance of artists to spur change in these times more than ever.
"This is in part what i think the arts should do...to bring us together...[Art] is there to raise consciousness and alter perspective, to challenge and defy. Art is the open hand that extends towards it receivers even when its met with clenched fists"
Dara Birnbaum at the New Museum 02.16.17