A background in scenography has shaped Jaz's identity as one of the most iconoclastic muralists working in contemporary street art. His large-scale figures, both animal and human, seem alive, rippling and charged with a visceral kinetic energy.
Jaz (Franco Fasoli) cut his scenography teeth at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires before studying painting with Jose Marchi, Nahuel Vecino and Diana Aisenberg as he began to emerge from the graffiti scene in the Argentine capital, boasting his artistic ambitions. Quickly outgrowing the walls he could find with graffiti, he turned his attention to covering entire facades by delving into the muralism movement.
His large figurative works contain a raw and visceral energy, conveyed both by the way he portrays the musculature and motion of his subjects, but also through the unorthodox adoption of materials. He paints using various liquids like tar, latex paint and acrylics to embellish his already accomplished aerosol-wielding handiwork.
Both human and animal exist either alone, side-by-side or occasionally coalesce to create the subjects of his pieces. The predominant theme that runs throughout his work is the exploration of his South American identity. By engaging with local cultures and customs, whilst integrating popular cultural references, he meanders between vastly different eras and philosophies.
His work started appearing in 1999, almost two decades ago. His experience leads his work yet has never quelled his sense of creative adventure. Continually exploring new ways of expressing his artistic vision, Jaz draws on his morphing artistic identity to bring fresh perspectives to his pieces. Beyond solely his own South American identity, he looks to better understand the dualities and tensions that play out across societies in his part of the world.
The two wrestling worlds, chaos and order, often quite literally overlap in his work. You can think of them as giant yin-yang symbols manifesting as a variety of living things. For Jaz, the people seem to be boiled down to their most simplistic and primitive - like the animals, we too are beasts, we too exist with a powerful untapped energy that, like many of the species portrayed, have been caged by the society that we live in.
Consistently it appears as if his subjects are at war, possibly mistakenly with each other, a misdirected resentment that has turned inwards onto itself and those closest. Although the audience and surrounding world are never made to feel like the energy and kinetic power contained in his murals look volatile and capable of exploding at anytime - it's something we dare not poke or prod, rather examine from a safe distance.
One of the formative influences is the decorative Fileteado style that hails from his hometown in Argentina's capital. The highly stylised movement shaped his early years as a graffiti writer and the theatricality and superlative nature of the work is still present, although in a much more subdued manner, throughout the pieces that festoon the world's walls.
Fileteado's highly energetic aesthetic style often combined motifs such as jewels, flora and wildlife. This willingness to combine style and subjects is still prominent in his work and the movement acts as his anchor to Argentina. His portrayal of humans as always being in a state of flux or combat is reflective of their inner psychological states. His images are at once literal depictions of turmoil, yet are conversely deeply suggestive.
Jaz is in artist worth more than the sum of all of his parts. His whole life, his global residencies and his education from more classical forms have led him to where he is. He is not someone consistently adding something to his life, but rather becoming more acute. Like a block of marble, the ideal of Jaz is slowly being carved away. The more he chips away, the more impactful his work becomes.
The interplay and amalgamation of human and animal gives him a fertile plane to dissect our behaviours and existence, whilst contemplating deeply about our attitudes towards every living thing. In this way, Jaz has slowly began leaving behind the role of the artist and began to embrace being an activist or teacher - certainly someone with a depth of knowledge that could be transferred to others for the greater good. For us, for animals and for the planet that we share.
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