Axwell Manzano - Concept Artist
I`m a Mexican American artist based in Lynchburg. My installation piece was inspired by the unrealistic expectations we all develop when we are children. If a child is good at writing, all the adults in their life encourage them to pursuit that interest. Teachers and parents fill their hearts with dreams and fantasies of one day publishing a book or becoming something remarkable on the subject. In my case, it was with art. I had dreams of one day becoming a famous artist and help bring my family out of poverty.
I wanted to make an installation that would encourage children to also create beside me and show off their brilliance and hard work. An installation that celebrates them all rather than a judged art contest. Art is relative just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I wanted to give the children an opportunity and a fantasy world for them to enter and enjoy the summer without any worry or stress. It`s good for them to unwind and express themselves without any critical judgment.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I wanted to be an artist when I was praised as a child for my artistic drawings during kindergarten and school. More importantly, I wanted to be an engineer at the age eleven. I`ve always thought there`s nothing more beautiful than artisanship.
How does your personal story/background influence your work?
I became self-aware of myself by the age of 15. I had then decided who I wanted to be as a person. Growing up in a Mexican household, I carry with me Mexican influences, but most of my influence comes from within myself. I use dark colors simply because they are my favorite colors. I create very conceptual pieces because I want to give myself a challenge and move out of my comfort zone.
Which of your works are you most proud of?
“L`Axunivers Typeface”. You could say I use it in all my work because it`s my actual handwriting. I worked hard as a child to specialize my handwriting. All my teachers would tell me how very neat I wrote. I made my handwriting into font so I can use it even on computers.
What is the hardest part about being a professional artist?
I wouldn`t consider myself a “professional” artist. It`s more of a pastime for me. I rarely sell anything, and I must constantly work to pay off debt and bills. I make art in my few free moments. I think they hardest thing to hit professional status is the networking part. If you don`t already have it made, you will never get discovered. There are opportunities out there; even if they are few, you must make time and motivate yourself to come through with the work required.
Who are other artists that inspire you?
Mossgarden – www.davidlynchburg.com/
Rick Hughes – www.Rusrick.daportfolio.com
Nechtriggy – www.rgentry8321.wixsite.com/nechtriggy
What advice would you give aspiring artists who came from minority or under-represented groups?
Make art that inspires you. Good art speaks for itself.