Interview dd. 28 May 2016
Real Name: Ernesto Maranje
Sphere: Artist, Illustrator, Muralist, Street Artist
Techniques: oil, acrylic, spay and water colors
Born: Chicago (IL, United States)
Raised: Hialeah (FL, United States)
Now: Miami (FL, United States) We have met on the presentation of his first mural in Kyiv on May 28. He was positive and smiling, with pleasure communicating, giving answers on different, sometimes intricate questions. He came to Ukraine to make such stunning presents to the inhabitants and the guests of the city.
UnexploredCity: Ernesto, you’re from Miami. But where is your Motherland?
UnexploredCity: Please, tell more about your work on the mural. What is the duration of the work? A month?
Ernesto: About 6 days. 8-10 hours a day. I slept very little while working.
UnexploredCity: How long do you plan to stay?
Ernesto: Now I’m painting one more mural (author’s note — Lesi Ukrainky Blvd, 5)
UnexploredCity: Why Kyiv?
Ernesto: Well. Kyiv invited me. The project invited me. I saw the project, it looked good. I liked what it actually stood for. I want to give an opportunity to get painted to everyone invited me. What I do like? Once I get to the place, I like to see how it is developed. Kyiv has been great.
UnexploredCity: What do you like the most in Kyiv?
Ernesto: There is a lot of traditional — architecture, buildings. And at the same time it’s very modern. I like the tunnels. I think it’s very clever to cross the street like this — you go to the tunnels and there are little markets inside. I like all this stuff. The people are just amazing and friendly.
UnexploredCity: Only street art?
Ernesto: I paint for indoors, on canvas…
UnexploredCity: Maybe, it is a good idea to make an exhibition of your works?
Ernesto: Yes, it will be great.
UnexploredCity: It will be easy, especially now, when you have a visiting card here in Kyiv (on the moment of the interview there was only one mural by Ernesto. Now there are two works by him in Kyiv)
Ernesto: I like Kyiv. It’s very green. There is a lot of trees.
UnexploredCity: What about symbols? Why a peacock, flamingo? These characters appeared not for the first time here, on the mural, did not they?
Ernesto: Yeah. The thing is that the bird itself is not a specific bird. The main thing about my pieces is that there is many small parts coming together from far make this image. I’m not very much worried whether it’s a peacock or a flamingo. It doesn’t matter. What matters to me how it starts to build and grow from there and turns into its own life and develops. And I like how it all along comes together.
UnexploredCity: Do you make a sketch before painting?
Ernesto: I make a very loose sketch. A very rough one. I think of a big shape and then I fill the shape with the small clusters. Every space I’m in, I give much attention and later I go back and look at everything. And it’s about of a small space and a big one. I don’t know how to explain. I give the individual a lot of detail and then it starts coming together. So the symbol. It’s like unity, working together. Everything together is tough. And at first a lot of decisions to be made, but then you look back and “ohhh”
Ernesto: I try to give to my pieces a lot of detail because I enjoy finding something new every time even in myself. I make the work, go back and see: “Oh, I forget to paint a little flower there”. There is so much detail. There is always something to see, something new, which can’t be seen at the first time, every time you see something new. I like that
UnexploredCity: During these 6 days how often did you look at your work from the distance?
Ernesto: Every day we work 8-10 hours. And maybe 3 times a day I come down and look, how it’s developing.
I didn’t have an opportunity to go up often to see, because it’s too much time. Every time I come down it takes about 30 minutes. So I lose 30 mins. Not lose because I look and see what’s next I’m going to do.
UnexploredCity: A lot of trees and a lot of grass
Ernesto: And it always grows. Always. It’s interesting to me how life finds its way all the time. Every spices wants to survive. This is reflected in my work. Especially talking about the nature. You see one thing will grow anywhere. You see — conquer, conquer and finally a flower. I like that. It’s about life that strives to come up.
UnexploredCity: What about our national colors? Yellow and blue.
Ernesto: I did it on purpose. I tried to keep the integrity of the national colors alive in the work. And a flowing. A little bit here, a little bit there. You see? And there are a lot of other colors. If you stay away.
UnexploredCity: What techniques do you prefer?
Ernesto: I like everything. When I make a mural it takes 2-3 weeks. But when I make too many murals, I think: “Oh, I want to go inside to do a nice detailed drawing. I’m always bouncing
UnexploredCity: No preferences?
Ernesto: No (smiling). I like spray painting. But I like more house painting because you can get more texture. So here in some areas I put a lot of paint, so there is texture. I really like when it builds up. We spray paint, you can build it up.
(After his words my eyes begin to differentiate those areas. Take a closer look at yellow petals)
Ernesto: Yeah. …there is no really preference. Some paint dries fast allowing me to mix. I like to mix.
UnexploredCity: Different materials? Different techniques?
Ernesto: Traditional oils are a little harder to get involved with other mediums at the same time. You have to layer them in a certain order but I like to mess with water-based ones — water color, acrylic…
UnexploredCity: Something besides painting?
Ernesto: I like sculpture. Eventually I want to do a big piece. I do illustrations as well. Black and white.
UnexploredCity: What illustrations?
Ernesto: The project I am currently working in is for [not clear — Tiliko?] company. It’s the illustration for the bottle. It’s pretty cool. I like that.
UnexploredCity: What about your family?
Ernesto: It’s new for them. Because I never painted before.
UnexploredCity: Are you a new-comer in painting?
Ernesto: Yeah. 3 years. 1 year – murals. 3 years – I started learning how to draw.
UnexploredCity: You felt so?
Ernesto: Yeah. I was in a military coast guard. I was a diesel mechanic. And from there I started painting. 2011.
UnexploredCity: Inspired by the sea, by the ocean?
Ernesto: Yeah. I paint a lot of fish. Inspired by the sky and the water — everything we have near us.
UnexploredCity: Only 3 years. I can’t believe it.
Ernesto: Yeah. Always learning. I can say, I haven’t decided what I like. I’m always experimenting.
UnexploredCity: Always in search?
Official site: www.ernestomaranje.com
Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/ernestomaranje/ @ernestomaranje