Darien Fernandez is a 26-year-old mixed-race artist born and raised in New York City. Darien’s artistic introduction to the world involved cartoons combined with seeing endless amounts of graffiti and street art growing up in Washington Heights and Harlem; a foundational step in his creative journey. Even though he was impassioned by art at such an early age, it was his formative years at the High School of Art and Design in Midtown Manhattan that introduced him to the captivating realm of oil painting. This formal art education laid the groundwork for his creative exploration, but it wasn't until he pursued his undergraduate studies in Studio Art at the State University of New York at Cortland that his artistic horizons truly expanded. During his time at Cortland, Darien was exposed to a diverse range of artistic media, including sculpture, fibers, printmaking, and digital design. Yet, despite his love for painting, he felt there was a missing link to his work. Being exposed to graffiti and street art his whole life, Darien always pondered the idea of incorporating spray paint. However, spraying on canvas seemed out of reach due to the large scale required for freehand execution. Everything changed when Darien embarked on a study abroad; a landscape painting course in Dingle,Ireland. There, amidst the enchanting beauty of the Irish landscape, he encountered a local street artist named "KNOWN," who would become a pivotal figure in his artistic evolution. Through "KNOWN's" mentorship, Darien discovered the intricate world of spray paint stencils—an art form that bridged the gap between street art and canvas, which he adopted immediately. Darien’s paintings now utilize the electrifying qualities of spray paint with the expressive beauty of oil paint. An array of personal passions like sports, music, and fashion fuel his creativity, with pop culture as his muse. Breathing life into nostalgic narratives, his artwork pays homage to friendship, family, and New York City, his home. Darien seeks to represent his culture in unanticipated and evocative ways, using his talent as a bridge between diverse perspectives. As Darien's artistic journey continues to evolve, he remains steadfast in
his commitment to exploring the boundless potential of self-expression and cultural representation. Drawing inspiration from the very essence of the urban landscapes that shaped him, his work entices viewers towards an exhilarating visual voyage, where the realms of reality and imagination unite.
"I create paintings using spray paint and oil on canvas; where the dynamic qualities of spray paint stencils intertwine with the wide versatility of oil paint. Through this creative marriage, I've developed a unified aesthetic that marries cartoon-like simplicity with the essence of realism and naturalism. Embracing the genre of "Pop Surrealism," my paintings are a reflection of my fascination with pop culture and blending fantastical elements with everyday subjects. Vibrant and enhanced color schemes play a vital role, helping me to convey the emotions and feelings I hold towards each subject. As I paint, my canvases become a testament to the connections I share with friends and family, the places I've immersed myself in, and my passions for basketball, hip-hop, and streetwear. Each piece captures the appreciation of these cherished aspects of my life, and through them, I hope to bring forth a unique representation of my culture. My art serves as a bridge, uniting diverse elements of life and culture, showcasing their beauty in unforeseen ways. I aim to reveal the underlying connections between different aspects of life and communicate the profound significance they hold in my heart. Through my work, I invite viewers to explore the boundaries between reality and the fantastical, sparking curiosity and conversation. My journey is a continuous exploration of self-expression and cultural representation, seeking to inspire and resonate with those who encounter my work. In this ever-changing artistic endeavor, I embrace the power of creativity to provoke thought, stir emotions, and ignite a deeper understanding of our shared human experience." -Darien Fernandez
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