Why They Work: Aryz
by Taylor Slattery | May 25, 2020
Aryz is a Spanish artist from Barcelona who is most known for his larger than life murals but more recently has also been forraying into the fine art world. He began his artistic journey as a child and his work has roots in graffiti, a lineage more evident in his early work. Naturally, spray cans are a part of his arsenal of tools though more recently, he’s taken to using rollers which he skillfully wields to recreate the feel of the rough strokes of a paintbrush, albeit at a much larger scale.
Whether on canvas or the side of a 20 story building, Aryz’s work feels very illustrative. He manages to capture the same energy regardless of the scale or medium. His works all have a very playful feel, despite the sometimes more serious subject matter. Looking at his paintings you can tell he loves what he does, if not by their carefully crafted compositions and brush strokes, then by the sheer volume of his works alone. Aryz is an incredibly proficient artist. Not only does he spend a good portion of his year painting large murals all over the world, the creation of which even a single is unfathomable to most, but recently, he also created a large number of works for his first solo show in France, titled “Pugna”, the Spanish word for conflict.
The series featured overlapping and contorted figures, in various stages of confrontation, from fistfights to being held at gunpoint. Aryz employed a style he’s been developing over the past few years featuring a limited palette of blues, reds, greens, and yellows in which the colors are applied to the figures with a seemingly geometric, coloring-book feel. Colors start and end with sharp borders next to each other and shadows are often crudely colored in as if with a large crayon. Aryz has also been working in this style for his recent mural work and I was fortunate enough to see the painting below in person. I was truly blown away by the scale of the piece and having been a long-time fan of Aryz, as I approached it on foot, I felt a large grin spread over my face as I saw it emerge into my field of view from behind its neighboring buildings.
Pictures on the internet don’t do art justice. I highly recommend you make an effort to see as much as possible in person. The experience is truly incomparable. Seeing this painting and standing below it gave me a newfound respect for what Aryz does. To me, even having watched videos of the process on his Instagram, after seeing this painting in person, the undertaking still feels unimaginable.
One of the things that I most appreciate about Aryz is his ability to reinvent himself. In a world where artists repeat themselves ad nauseam in the name of branding, it’s refreshing to see someone take chances and evolve as an artist. Similar to his fellow countryman, Picasso, who famously reinvented himself multiple times, Aryz is unafraid to discard comfort in the name of growth. He’s incredibly dedicated to his craft and I’m sure has inspired countless others to follow in his footsteps. Artists like Aryz are blurring the boundaries between street art, fine art, and illustration and he’s pushing the art world in an exciting new direction, and that… is why they work.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.