Joshua Vides checks off some of the cliches that street artists tend to get saddled with. He grew up in the working-class city of Rialto, California, where – in his words – “there is not a lot to look up to”; his Guatemala-born parents had immigrated to the US in the ’80s. He skateboards and dresses like he’s part of the entourage of some hip-hop star (beanie, sweatshirt, cargo pants, minimal jewellery – any flash is concentrated in his sneakers that are most likely limited edition). That however is just about where the stereotypes end.
While many of his counterparts work with spray paints to come up with airbrush-perfect, coloursaturated graffiti, his masterpieces are mostly monochromatic, distinguished by hand-drawn, marker-like squiggles that have the uncanny ability to imbue said drawing with a cartoon-like quality. “Reality to idea” is how the 30-year-old describes his aesthetic. “Basically I bring every surrounding back to its origins, which is a sketch,” he explains.
“When I started, graffiti here in the city was often about having the cleanest lines where it would almost look digital and I wanted the complete opposite. My work stood out from everything on the walls because all that art would be so clean and crystalline while mine was kind of wobbly; my lines inconsistent and squiggly.”
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