Walking in the door of 412 Lincoln Road Wednesday night was like entering a nightclub, albeit a well-lit, captivatingly adorned one. Energy and vibe was rampant in the narrow space, the spirit of New York’s urban culture vibrantly alive. I couldn’t help but feel the adrenaline, a rush much like what must inspire Miguel Paredes in the creation of his cross-over art. Basel has arrived and I like its style.
The pop-up gallery kicked off Art Basel on Wednesday evening with a private event showcasing “The Manifestation of Cross-Over Art: An Exhibit of New Media Genesis”, Paredes’ newest exhibition. Cross-over art is achieved by dominating the complexity of fusing mixed styles of art and media through a variety of artistic mediums. Paredes is a master of this form. Beginning with drawing, his artistic skill expanded to include painting, graffiti and pop art, and eventually sculptures, toys, conceptual art and mixed media. With an interest in art that dates back as long as he can remember and a father who was an avid art collector, Paredes seemed destined to follow a creative path. After gaining entrance into the influential Fiorello La Guardia High School of Music and Art, he was able to hone his craft. An apprenticeship with Paul Kus, a former FBI art forgery expert who made his mark on the art world by meticulously replicating master works in the style of his own hand, catapulted him conceptually to the next level.
Paredes, who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, gained inspiration from his immersion in New York urban street culture, hip hop, and break dancing, in addition to the works of past masters Picasso, Chagall, and Miró. What else inspires him?
“Anime, big time,” he said in a sit-down interview Wednesday evening. “I created my new toy, The Pulgha, and it’s going to be released in January, but I’ve been a comic book and a toy collector all my life. I own over 70,000 comic books. I was so fascinated by toys and comics that I wanted to cross them over because really, people look at a toy and think oh, that’s cute, it’s for my kid, but if I can interpret it into an oil painting then it’s no longer going to be something for a little kid. It’s a piece of fine art. And I think I accomplished that today.” His children are huge sources of inspiration for him as well, showing up frequently in his sculpture and print work.
Paredes expertly transcribes the melting pot of his background and experiences into the creation of his strangely alluring pieces. Looking at the insanely detailed manifestations of his design, it’s clear that there are no boundaries to the depths of his creativity. His creations range from oil paintings to sculptures, hand drawn digitals, giclées on metal, backlights, marble canvases and limited edition toys. His design versatility is evident in such creations as his Pulgha™ character, which was transformed and crossed-over from a digital piece of artwork to a collector’s toy figurine. An example of his combination of styles is evident in one of his Los Niños pieces called “Clowning”, which showcases the fusion of graffiti, pop art, and urban street culture. Most artists stick to one form of artistic media, but with Paredes the sky is the limit. It is impressive, to say the least.
Besides his enormous success as an artist, Paredes is a master in the business arena as well, a fact which he feels sets him apart from others in his field. Owner of Paredes Publishing, which offers giclée reproduction, and graphics and printing company PK Graphics, he has been in business for 15 years. PK Graphics earns him over $30 million a year nationally in the creation and distribution of flyers alone. Though he does have a manager, he is firmly in charge of his own career. That fact is clearly undisputable.
These days the New York native spends his time raising a family and creating his art in the warmer, more laid-back Miami atmosphere. Hands down, New York is his favorite city and remains in his heart though Pinecrest is now his home.
“I love the energy in New York, but I love Miami,” he said. “When I’m here, I’m home. This is where I raise my children. I go to New York, I run all day, then I come to Miami and I don’t have to run. I walk, and I am walking faster than the runners here.”
Hopefully the world will be able to keep up, because Paredes shows no signs of slowing down. Check him out at Art Basel Miami Beach through Sunday, December 6.