The Americas

Michael Vasquez

Born 1983, USA

The works of artist Michael Vasquez present the viewer with snapshots of urban life from a safe distance. Beneath layers of thick impasto, Vasquez’s expressive brushwork and pools of saturated crimson ebb and flow with the rhythms of hip-hop music, naturalistically rendered and rough around the edges. Vasquez presents his gangster types in viscous paint, personifications of masculine identity and dominance boasting chains that drip with diamonds and flickers of gold teeth. Kings of their canvases, Vasquez’s figures strike us as overwhelming and omnipresent forces executed in monumental scale. With an emphasis on dramatic colour, Vasquez intensifies and enlivens his paintings with wispy dabs of bright pastels and frantic thick strokes of primaries reminiscent of vibrant and energetic graffiti art. The raw, unrefined character of Michael Vasquez’s work, combined with loose brushwork, a strong use of diagonals, and shifting vantage points are all integrated into a dynamic and dramatic series of compositions that at once intimidate and intrigue any audience.

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