Street Art

El Mac

United States 1980

Urban Art, Street Art

El Mac
El Mac
United States
December 12, 2013

El Mac was born in Los Angeles in 1980 to an engineer and an artist. El Mac has been creating and studying art independently since childhood. He was inspired at a young age by classic European painters such as Caravaggio, and Vermeer and Art Nouveau symbolists such as Klimt and Mucha.  This was mixed with the more contemporary influences of graffiti and photorealism, as well as the Chicano & Mexican culture he grew up around. El Mac began painting with acrylics and painting graffiti in the mid ’90s, when his primary focus became the life-like rendering of human faces and figures.  El Mac has since worked consistently toward developing his unique rendering style, which utilizes repeating contour lines reminiscent of ripples.  Turing patterns and indigenous North American art.  In 1999 he began to paint portraits of his friends and anonymous Mexican laborers in public spaces throughout the American southwest, both legally and illegally.  El Mac also started painting large technicolor aerosol interpretations of classic paintings by old European masters. This led to being commissioned in 2003 by the Groeninge Museum in Brugge, Belgium to paint his interpretations of classic Flemish Primitive paintings in the museum’s collection. He has since been commissioned to paint murals across the US, as well as in Mexico, Denmark, Sweden, Canada, South Korea, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Spain, France, Singapore, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Vietnam and Cuba. Some of his murals have become local landmarks, especially his collaborations with Retna, which combine Mac’s representational figures with Retna’s typography and designs. The majority of their collaborations have been painted in LA, though a few notable murals were painted in Miami’s Wynwood Arts district for Primary Flight/Art Basel from 2007, 2008 & 2009, including one painted on the Margulies Collection building.  Mac and Retna had an important exhibition together, “Vagos y Reinas: at the Robert Berman Gallery at the Bergamot Station in Santa Monica in 2009.  Alianza, a book documenting their individual and collaborative works was published by Upper Playground/Gingko Press that same year. Mac’s art was featured on the cover of Juxtapoz magazine in 2009 and again in 2012, as well as the cover of LA Weekly for a feature on the Seventh Letter collective.  In the last few years El Mac has had successful solo exhibitions at Fifty24SF Gallery in San Francisco (2009), and Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC (2010).  In 2010 he also painted a large mural on the museum of contemporary art (MARCO) in Monterrey, Mexico as part of the Seres Queridos project.  In 2012 he painted a large mural in Havana, Cuba for the 11th Havana Biennial sponsored by the Cisneros-Fontanals Art Foundation. El Mac continues to balance his love of painting large-scale public artworks around the world with his meticulous and time-consuming creation of indoor works.  He aims to uplift and inspire through his careful, perfectionist renderings of both the sublime and the humble.  He lives and works in Los Angeles.

YearGallery/Museum/Name of ExhibitionType
2013Katherine Cone Gallery, Culver CitySolo
20127th Asia Pacific Triennial, QAGOMA, Brisbane, Australia (installation)Solo
201211th Havana Biennial, Cisneros-Fontanals Foundation, Havana, Cuba (mural)Solo
2011”Public Provocations”  Carhartt Gallery, Basel, Switzerland (installation)Solo
2011”Avant-Garde Urbano” Tudela de Navarra, Spain (mural)Solo
2011”See No Evil” Bristol, UK (mural)Solo
2011”Street Cred” Pasadena Museum of California Art, LA (offsite mural)Solo
2011”New Masters” Subliminal Projects, LAGroup
2010“The Humble and Sublime” Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2010“Vox Humana” Volta6, Basel, SwitzerlandSolo
2010“Seres Queridos” MARCO, Monterrey, Mexico (murals/exhibit)Solo
2009“Primary Flight III” Art Basel, Miami, FL (murals/exhibit)Solo
2009“Vagos y Reinas” Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CAGroup
2009“Faces of Life” Upper Playground/Fifty24SF Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2008“Primary Flight II” Art Basel, Miami, FL (murals)Solo
2008“Writing alla Ribalta” Milan, Italy (murals)Solo
2008“Streetlab” Amsterdam, Netherlands (mural)Solo
2008“Low & Slow” Mesa Contemporary Arts, Mesa, AZSolo
2008“Manifest Hope” Andenken Gallery, Denver, COSolo
2008“Full Custom Living” 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2008“R-16 Gyeonggi” Suwon, S.Korea (mural)Solo
2008“Urban Nature” Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, COSolo
2008“Express Your Skills” San Juan, Puerto Rico (Mural)Solo
2008“Kofie, Mac, Retna: New Works” Red Letter 1, Tampa, FLGroup
2007“Primary Flight” Art Basel-Miami, FL (mural)Solo
2007“Just Writing My Name” Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico (mural)Solo
2007“Expo Graffiti Internacional” Salamanca, Mexico (mural)Solo
2007“Letters First ’07″ Bread & Butter, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2007“Burn” Grand Central Arts Center, Cal. State University Fullerton, USSolo
2007“Collabro” The Showroom, New York City, USSolo
2007“Mac in Montreal” Le Kopshop/00Ggallery, Montréal, CanadaSolo
2007“Dreamgirls” Mina Dresden Gallery, San Francisco, USSolo
2007“Relative” Pravus Gallery, Phoenix, USSolo
2007“Represent, Represent!” URB Gallery, Culver City, USSolo
2007“Underdogs” Toyroom Gallery, Sacramento, USSolo
2006“Sexta Feria del Libro en el Zócalo” Mexico City, Mexico (mural)Solo
2006“Letters First Tour” Taipei & TokyoSolo
2006“Monkey Killing Monkey…” Cachi Gallery, San Francisco, USSolo
2006“Typewriters” Red Letter1, Tampa, USSolo
2006“1 Year Anniversary Show” Hive Gallery, Los Angeles, USSolo
2006“These Fools” Kettle Art Gallery, Dallas, USSolo
2006“Streets of Chaos” White Walls Gallery, San Francisco, USSolo
2005“Festival Kosmopolite à Bagnolet” Paris, France (mural)Solo
2005“Home Style Stereophonic” Gallery 1988, Los Angeles, USSolo
2004“Alt+Ctrl” Beall Center, University of California, Irvine, USSolo
2004“Translations” EVOS Arts, Lowell, USSolo
2004“Graffite” Crewest Gallery, Los Angeles, USSolo
2003“Characteristics” Subject Matter, Costa Mesa, USSolo
2003“Global Skillz” Minascapes, Osaka, JapanSolo
2003“Meeting of Styles” Muntplein, Antwerp, Belgium (mural)Solo
2003“Young Primitives” Groeninge Museum, Brugge, BelgiumSolo
2003“Bomb Pop” C-Pop Gallery, Detroit, USSolo
2003“Urban Alloys” Thought Crime, Phoenix, USSolo
2003“Guerillart” Bridge Center, El Paso, USSolo
2002“Roskilde Festival” Roskilde, Denmark (mural)Solo
2002“Overture” ICU Art Gallery, Los Angeles, USSolo
1999“La Phoeniquera XIX” MARS Artspace, Phoenix, USSolo
1998“Nitty Gritty II” Tonatierra, Phoenix, USSolo