The Surprisingly Moving Street Art of Axel Void
Although born in Miami, Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mevs, the man who would grow up to call himself "Axel Void," moved with his family to Spain at the age of three. With artistic talent already coursing through his veins, he suddenly found himself in a country that boasted a rich tradition of artists. While in Spain, Void would go on to study Fine Arts in Granada and Sevilla, but not before learning the tradition of classical painting.
His great grandfather was a painter for Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, and was tasked with the job of sweetening the figure of the “Generalisimo,” (Franco’s nickname) in his portraits. Void’s grandfather would follow suit, becoming an artist celebrated for his work in charcoal (the influence of which you can see in Void's work today).
Void’s knack for the arts was inherent. He notes that at a very young age he began drawing. When he turned 12, he turned his talents towards the streets. There he found his love for getting up, trading in the brushes and charcoals for wall paint and spray cans. But there is a softness in his work different to the caricature- and typography-driven art of the streets. This is done on purpose.
His two mural series, Gray and Mediocre have different narratives. One mural from Mediocre, called Nada, shows an immigrant who was attacked while traveling on Mexico’s "La Bestia" freight train line. Since his canvas was a cargo train, Void decided that this particular image would fit the best. Gray, is based more on what he feels like painting, offering site-specific pieces that fit on a more visceral or intuitive level.
You’d think that an artist who creates work like this would be hunkered down in the studio making adjustments, calculations, and hammering out drafts. This isn’t the case with Axel Void; he notes that he does little to no sketching in preparation these days, nor does he use a grid system or a projector. He just lets it flow.