The indigenous aerosol art collective called NeoGlyphix is making its mark on Phoenix, with works created by indigenous graffiti artists and muralists from Arizona and beyond. Its latest work is an abstract mural spanning the north-facing exterior wall of the Hive, featuring work by Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, Dwayne "Dwayno Insano" Manuel, and Los Angeles artist Vyal.
The untitled work replaces a mural previously painted by Marcus and Lalo Cota, as well as smaller works by Jeff Slim and Joerael Elliott on or near that same wall.
Artists completed the mural on Friday, January 6, just in time for the opening reception of “NeoGlyphix,” an exhibition of works by collective members that continues at the Hive art gallery through Sunday, January 15. Artists featured in the exhibition include Breeze, Vyal, Douglas Miles, Rezmo, Rise, Akers, Ingen, Knoks, Erode, Yuku, Navem, and Manuel.
The collective comprises about two dozen artists working in several states who’ve completed projects in cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, and Anchorage. A handful of artists formed the group in 2014, after taking part in a live painting event at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson.
“We wanted to get more exposure for Native American graffiti artists working mostly underground,” says Manuel, one of the collective’s founders.
In 2015, indigenous artists from Arizona, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Sonora, Mexico, held another live painting exhibition at the museum, which is located on the University of Arizona campus.
The collective’s name reflects the marriage of old traditions with new techniques. "Neo” means new, while “glyphix” references the ancient art form of petroglyphs, created by etching images into stone.
This year, the collective is holding a NeoGlyphix live painting event in downtown Phoenix on Saturday, March 4. Funds raised from works sold during their current exhibition at the Hive will help fund that event.
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It’s tough to find contemporary indigenous art represented in Phoenix, says Marcus, who also helped start the collective. “There are a lot of indigenous artists, so we wanted to bring a platform for those artists to have a voice and present their work,” Marcus says.
But NeoGlyphix is about more than making art, says Douglas Miles, a founding collective member whose mural art graces several downtown Phoenix art spaces including monOrchid and Bentley Projects. It’s a way to spotlight contemporary Native art, create fun experiences for indigenous artists, pass down art-making techniques, and share different cultures.
The collective gives young artists a chance to work alongside older ones. “That’s how all art forms are passed on in all cultures, from generation to generation,” Miles says. “It’s an amazing, beautiful process to watch."