This was a story I was asked to write for Fusion in January of 2011. I got the call for the story on Friday afternoon, did the interviews on friday night and on sunday. Wrote the article on sunday night to make the deadline and as I recall the pics we had were not that great so the story was pushed back for the next issue, then for a later issue. It never got published due to the story becoming dated. I submitted it for the first issue of the El Paso tribune and it was considered for a later issue, of which never materialized. These artists didnt get their story told at the time but their talent continued even though this story never did.
MAD VIZUAL POETZ
By A. Lawless
When fellow artists stand together they can create something positive and important, not only for themselves but for their community, they can create an art scene. El Paso’s art scene is alive and well thanks in part to the vision of some talented artists.
The Mad Vizual Poetz (MVP) consists of 21 different local area artists of all different styles and mediums. Airbrushing, oil painting, graffiti art, sound, and sculpture are just some of the various mediums represented by the roster of artists in the MVP collective. The group shows their artwork at various events around town but also does live exhibitions where some of the artists create artwork live on the spot. The MVP was founded six years ago by artists Fernando Fernandez and Victor Muhevvine with the intent to build a fellowship of artists that would create their own art shows and not only encourage each other but to seek out other artists and encourage them to showcase their work along side their own. Membership was not open to just anyone, artists had to show a certain dedication not only to their love of art but to having the same goal of creating an art scene. Recently the MVP have been featured at the First Fridays events, a once a month party get together on the first Friday of every month at the San Carlos Building located at 501 Texas street. This month’s First Friday event showcased five MVP members, Zapien, Ray Ray, Shedrick, Primo, and co-founder Fernando Fernandez. In the cold, very cold January night, Ray Ray, Fernando, and Shedrick, each captivated the hundreds in attendance with their execution of their different styles of artwork. Shedrick worked the acrylics on his own canvas while Ray Ray collaborated with fellow artist Luis House on a painting inspired by the night’s events. Fernando amazed and awed those who saw his airbrush mastery of his portrait rendering of rap artist Talib Kweli. While watching their artistic creativity and ability flow, airbrush and multi media artist, Zapien gave me the rundown on what MVP was all about, “Mad Visual Poetz was started because we all wanted to show our artwork and to promote ourselves. We wanted to show El Paso all the different art styles that are around that you don’t see in art galleries or museums like graffiti art or airbrushing. There are all types of art out there that you don’t get to see, street art, underground art and the Mad Vizual Poetz wanted to expose El Paso to these types of art and let the people see what we do.” Zapien has been airbrushing for 13 years and likes the medium because of its fluidity and speed for which to create. He favors female portrait painting but also delves into other dark imagery and uses other mediums. Zapien has been a member of MVP since its inception and further explained,” In Mad Vizual Poetz we do shows where we paint or do our artwork in front of the crowd so that people can see what we do. It gives them an idea and better understanding of how we create from start to finish. Then afterwards we get to talk and interact with the people and with other artists.”
Ray Ray has been a member of MVP for 3 years. He has been an artist all his life but started painting in acrylics 5 years ago because he likes their qualities for live painting in front of an audience. Ray Ray explained his interpretation of MVP; “the best thing about Mad Vizual Poetz is that it keeps the art scene alive. The group together makes an impact by showing our support for the scene itself. ”
Fernando Fernandez, aka Graphix is an artist who makes his livelihood from the art he creates. He is a multimedia artist and more notably co-founder of MVP. He recounts, “When we started nobody wanted to work with us. Bars and clubs would turn us down but as we grew and got more artists involved we started to do our live shows and it created an interest and slowly it picked up. More people started coming to our shows. We were able to show our art and encourage other artists to show what they do. We were able to create an art scene here in El Paso and keep it going and after six years it still is going. In the future we aim to get bigger and get more shows, finding new artists and keep the scene alive.”
The next time the MVP are out doing one of their shows go and check them out. Watch and appreciate their creativity, talent, and abilities and in doing so you are supporting El Paso’s art scene. The Mad Vizual Poets can be found and contacted on Facebook.