Three Southwest artists collaborated on a mural for Por Vida Gallery's new wall, built to showcase artists' works by rotating new murals through every few months.
Phoenix-based artist Thomas "Breeze" Marcus collaborated with Tucson's Dwayne Manuel and Jaime "Vyal" Reyes from Los Angeles during the Paint PHX weekend in March to paint the first mural on Por Vida's wall on 16th Street near Barrio Cafe.
Manuel, who goes by "Dwayno Insano," had painted a different mural with Reyes on 16th Street for Paint PHX, and when that one was completed the two agreed to work on a second mural with Marcus.
"And then we got to the wall and, before I knew it, the magic was happening before my eyes," Manuel says.
For a collaboration like this to work and this "magic" to happen, Marcus says that the artists need to be familiar with one another's work prior to beginning.
"Their styles of painting complement each other," says Marcus. "Dwayne already knew Vyal's work and vice versa. It's really just about technique, the amount of time given, the size and the scale they are able to work with."
With limited surface area to paint, the three had to be conscious of each other and their use of space.
"For such a small wall in Phoenix, we just worked in sections where we wouldn't be in each other's way," Marcus says.
According to Manuel, the three took the working concept for the wall from the first Paint PHX mural he and Reyes painted. Then they talked briefly about the lay out, space, and who would paint in certain areas.
"Vyal did the centerpiece, and Dwayne and I did the rest of it," Marcus says.
Manuel says he didn't know what the final image would look like until its completion.
"I couldn't envision the finalized image because when collaborating on a wall with another graffiti artist, I tend to work intuitive and it is not until the final stages of painting where you start to see it come together," Manuel says.
The abstractness of this wall and the rest of these artists' work is influenced by a mix of cultures that each of them come from including Native American.
Marcus, who identifies with various tribes and comes from the Salt River Community, says his work is about "balancing cultures."
Manuel says that he and Marcus "share an artistic drive" when it comes to murals.
"We are both O'odham, descendants of the Hohokam, the original inhabitants of the land where Phoenix sits. It is our duty to represent our ancestors and our people. Being graffiti artists and muralists, we do that visually," Manuel says.
The mural, which took about four hours to finish, was sponsored by Lalo Cota and can be seen for the next few months before it is painted over to showcase other artists.
"From this wall I want people to feel amazed, excited, inspired, disoriented, lost, confronted," Manuel says. "I want them to look into Vyal's eye as Vyal's eye looks back into them."
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