The Local Creative Series is a collection of interviews with people who contribute to Miami’s growing creativity. We pick their brains and share their musings in hopes that others are inspired to see the potential not only here in Miami, but perhaps in their own cities as well.
Our featured creative for this publication is Gilberto Mevi, award-winning Art Director and Artist with over 28 years in Advertising. Though most of his personal work is inspired by pop culture and abstract art, Gilberto’s most recent exhibition focuses on music icons, artists and humorists whom he depicts with geometric shapes.
We asked Gilberto about how he separates his art background from his work in advertising, how he chooses his subjects, and of course: how Miami influences his work.
Interview with Gilberto Mevi, Art Director of El Autobus, Inc.
By Rebecca Wagoner
How did you first get into abstract art?
Ever since I was a kid, I was interested in how artists were able to create and express different meaning through abstract shapes, without imitating or faithfully representing what’s real or natural, without using objects, landscapes or people. This consequently led me to a few visits with the school therapist since my drawings in art class were so different from everyone else’s. My “problem” was over when the librarian told the principal about all the books I was reading about famous artists during my free time.
What draws you to the iconic figures you choose to illustrate? Have you ever illustrated friends or strangers?
Each one has a special meaning for me aside from what they represent as great artists. Salvador Dalí, for example, was the greatest surrealist in my opinion and I don’t think there will ever be anyone like him. His creativity was astonishing, not only as a painter but also in sculpture, photography, fashion, film, etc. Fortunately I have a Dali museum just a few hours away in Tampa. I can spend so much time there enjoying his work, I could go back every weekend and never get tired.
I watched The Three Stooges a lot when I was little (and not so little!) I sat next to my mom and watched every day. Without even realizing it, these characters along with my mother, who’d been sick since I can remember, taught me so much about life. Moe, Larry and Curly had crazy lives - no joke! They were forced to work, by contract, until the last days of their lives; they suffered heart attacks, strokes, etc, and still their show was one of the most famous comedies in the world. My mom never stopped laughing either, even though she spent her whole life battling against a serious illness. For me, this illustration of The Three Stooges is a tribute to those who make other people laugh even when their own lives are falling apart.
Until now, I’d never thought of illustrating friends or strangers, but why not?
Your art is marked by your use of bright colors and geometric shapes. How does color influence the designs you create?
Color is undoubtedly a huge influencer at the moment of creating a new piece. Colors ignite certain reactions in people. I use it in my work to express feelings, moods or the personality of my subjects. It’s the principal component of transmitting what I want to get across. Different color palettes alone allow you to completely change the feeling of a painting from expressing happiness or sadness, discomfort or calm, etc.
How does your art background influence your work in advertising, or vice versa?
It’s impossible to separate one from the other. Art represents creativity, and in whatever field you’re in, you’ll find yourself seeing, breathing and eating art all the time. It’s how we’re constantly inspiring ourselves to keep creating and growing… experimenting new things, stopping to listen to classical music in the street even though you like rock, seeing movies both old and new, going to plays, visiting galleries and exhibits, keeping up with ad campaigns from around the world, etc. Whatever artistic experience you live can influence a painting or an idea for a client. It’s all art and they go hand in hand!
What’s the biggest difference in the creative process between creating art for a brand vs. creating art for yourself?
It’s really simple. In most cases, brands or companies have a graphic identity or distinguishing features that must be respected, like layout, colors, fonts, how much space to include between elements, etc. When I create art for myself, I can do whatever I want, use whatever colors and shapes I want, put certain elements together or break them apart, and nobody can change it, it’s mine!
How does living in Miami influence your work?
Miami is crazy when it comes to art, well actually when it comes to anything! There are thousands of artists creating so much at the same time that it doesn’t even seem real. As soon as you think you’ve seen it all, there are 5000 more things to see. You can find inspiration in every corner at any moment.
We’re also lucky enough to have Art Basel here once a year, the most complete art fair in the U.S. where more than 200 galleries from over 30 countries around the world exhibit work from over 4000 artists. It’s like letting a kid loose in a candy store and saying, go! It’s all yours!
Artwork by Gilberto Mevi | Exhibition on view at Studio Wynwood June 26-30, 2017
Post by Rebecca Wagoner