Does fortune favor the bold? Ask Felipe Pantone. His stylized, colorful, mural-art aesthetic characterized by geometric patterns and digital references has left the art world mesmerized. Felipe Pantone is an artist who saw an opportunity to do something different and did not hesitate.
But let’s back up and learn about Felipe Pantone and how he earned his stripes. It’s apparent that he was an art addict from an early age.
“I used to draw Mortal Kombat characters and 80s heavy metal bands logos since I was a baby.”
With this love for pop culture, the preferred medium for the self-starting artist was an obvious choice. Graffiti art became the passion of young Felipe who composed his first mural at the young age of twelve. After years of educating himself on the mural art ways, the artist decided to give higher education a shot. Not unlike other artists of his caliber, he found the experience to be an overstructured bore.
“The whole degree felt like a waste of time learning all the traditional techniques over an over.”
Instead Felipe Pantone opted for more street experience, joining the D.O.C.S. team and later UltraBoyz, all the while developing skills in every style of graffiti art. Carrying the moniker PANT 1, he was beginning his journey to find his own unique expression.
The Birth of the Idea that is PANTONE
Felipe Pantone had a problem. If he was going to commit to the life of an artist, he wanted a message that stood out amidst the crowd, a style that communicated with the viewer unlike anything else. With this idea, PANTONE crafted what he calls his Ultradynamic Manifesto: a list of what he wants his art to embody. The artist outlines dynamism and unpredictability in the work, with strong and aggressive expression. He speaks of omnipresent speed and the implementation of computers to form improbable connections. In short, the artist was piecing together a style that would be alive with kinetic energy and would burst into the viewer’s mind with its highly contrasted colors.
With a completely fleshed out view of this radical new approach to street art, PANTONE’s game was afoot. Aggressively, acting almost as if the world depended on his success, the artist began producing mural art by the scores throughout cities in Europe.
The world started to notice what some have called “the intersection of Blade Runner and PhotoShop.”(Forbes) The “bright colored typography, Synth pop music, and SMPTE color bars on the TV” easily overpowered the stereotypical mural art that neighbored it. (Widewalls) “I was trying them to stand out on the street, to be loud and compete against the visual pollution in the cities. I increased the contrast (pictorially) so I ended up painting with black and white and vivid colors only.” As his mural art evolved, Felipe would eventually abandon any structure whatsoever, simply opting for the abstract nature of art. Now it is not hard to recognize new works by Felipe Pantone street art as it shines in its glorious color contrasts on the walls of old city buildings.
What did the world think?
There can be a calculated risk to creativity. PANTONE largely ignored any such risk, completely throwing out the traditional artist’s book when he crafted his Manifesto. In doing so, he was rewarded. People of all nations have become obsessed with the cultural phenomenon that is PANTONE.
Soon after his initial mural installations, people were excited to see new works by Felipe Pantone Street Art. His first gallery opening was in 2006, and since then he has gone on to appear internationally “from the Mesa Contemporary Arts Center to the Long Beach Museum of Art (USA) and the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), via cities as Mexico City, Osaka, Lisbon, Palestine, Italy or Australia.” (Danysz) He is described as “the spearhead of a renewed street art scene,” having helped rejuvenate an art form that already seemed so rich with creativity. His creative risk paid off.
“I grew up as a simple painter, trained as a painter, and now my biggest goal is to get clear of all the academic training and to be able to make art freely, with the tools that work best.” PANTONE embodies the untamed spirit of the graffiti artist, the need to take art out of the gallery and into streets. This is conveyed in his “themes that relate to today's landscape, namely movement, the notion of time, saturation, alienation, and destruction.” (Forbes)
Still, the artist takes this one step further by creating mural art that is challenging and provoking to the viewer, an abstract product with a message that must be sought out. Why graffiti art though?
“Graffiti is a response to art, the same way than Twitter responds to traditional sources of information such as newspapers: it’s immediate, ephemeral, dynamic, and everyone can write it. I feel my entire aesthetic and discourse are a response to this idea.”
True to his word, Pantone has continued to show the responsive nature of the medium, most notably in his giant QR code (see PANTONE Photo Gallery). “It's a statement about ubiquity, that you can be anywhere, everywhere, that your art doesn't belong to a physical place anymore, but that everything is global.” With this total embracement of the new and the old, Pantone continues to demonstrate the relationship between the technological era and fine art.
Current and Upcoming Projects
The work of an avid artist is never completed. PANTONE’s most recent project has been a collaboration with Hennessy on crafting a new label that completely embodies the artist’s progressive niche. This project follows hot on the heels of his gallery opening “Distance, Speed, Time, Formula” in Shanghai, China which closed in March of 2019 (see PANTONE Photo Gallery). It was yet another opportunity for the artist to express that “everything flows, changes, move.” At the same time as this exhibition, PANTONE completed two large installations for the MIMA Museum gallery opening in Brussels.
In November of 2018, The W3-Dimensional BKK became PANTONE’s most recent public art display, located in the Siam Center in Bangkok, Thailand (see PANTONE Photo Gallery). It is clear the as artist has no intention of slowing down his creative process. The public will certainly be seeing more Felipe Pantone art in the near future.