Meet Aerosyn-Lex, the Artist Behind the Longest Painting At Art Basel Miami

Come early December, creatives and their ranglers pack their aloofness and come in droves to Miami for art events like SCOPE Art Show. Then, you meet an artist like Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic (remember, the artist we introduced to you to a couple weeks ago?), and your whole perception of the art world changes.

Aerosyn-Lex has been on the come up for a while, creating painstakingly thoughtful visual pieces from murals to short films.

Despite traveling around the world and working with heavy hitters like Diplo, he’s as humble as they come. We sat down with him as he prepared to install his groundbreaking 150-ft. long multimedia installation, NOESIS, at Miami’s Mansion nightclub for the VH1+SCOPE party. Read through the interview and see why he’s our new favorite artist.

Have you ever done anything like this?

This is definitely the largest scale of work, at least for a painting. I’ve done big sculptural work for SCOPE earlier this year. This is the biggest painting for sure.

Where did the title of this piece come from?

I handmade the brushes I used to create this piece, so I had to have that presence of mind. Being in that state of awareness, both visually and physically, that’s where the title comes from. Noesis is a Greek term, which is the act of understanding that you’re perceiving something. To create this, I had to be so in tune and in the moment, like choreography.

 How involved are you in this installation?

SCOPE and VH1 brought me in as a featured artist to help celebrate the conclusion of SCOPE. I took a look at the space and had some ideas on how to transpose the work I had been working on for the past 12 months, and doing something on a much larger scale. I wanted to break it out of a gallery setting and turn it into something moving, almost sculptural. It’s a hybrid of a sculpture and a painting. I could put a UPS box on a white gallery wall and people will walk by and say ‘that’s art.’ It’s easy to put something on a primed white wall. It’s a challenge not to scream above the space, but to infuse honesty.

How is this location different?

It’s Mansion. It’s like one of the craziest nightclubs in Miami. It’s a very loud space. How do you infuse something that’s a really sincere piece of artwork, and give it impact? We’re going to use lighting to help put some focus on the painting. The idea is to quiet some of the attention from the bar and the bright neon signs that are here in the club.

In what way do you want the party attendees to be involved in this piece?

It will drape about 15 feet over their heads as they walk in, and it will drape down through the entire front rotunda. And then there are some ancillary pieces that are about three feet long. I devised a system to accentuate the architectural space and guide the attendees through this painting. Then, I’m taking over the audio-visual system. That will display a series of living paintings that I shared at the MoMA earlier this year. I want people to understand the motion and physicality of the work. It’s an interesting venue and it’s a challenge. Yeah, it’s a club, but how do we give people a moment, even if it’s just for a moment, that they’re outside of the environment and in the work?

Are you inspired by music?

100%. Music has always been such a big part of my life. I work in and around music. I’ve worked with Kanye and his creative team, Lynch Mob, Skrillex’s label OWSLA. I’m working on projects with OWSLA doing music video direction. I worked with Diplo for my film with BBC. I’ve been able to work with great musicians. This artwork is a performance piece.

What songs were you listening to when you created this work?

Totally awesome turn up stuff—Mike WiLL Made-It and a lot of different stuff. A lot of post-apocolyptic, deconstructed club stuff. Lots of bass-heavy, aggressive music.

Is that what you listen to day-to-day, or is it specifically to get you in the mode to create?

I’m turned up all the time. Music is always there for me. I can’t live without it. At home, I can’t have silence. I need to have music playing, and I love stuff with energy.

What will happen to the work after the party?

That’s a good question. It’s not going to stay in the club, but we’ve discussed putting it on sale. Logistically it’s hard to display, but in my mind, it is divisible into panels even though it’s continuous here.

 Is this work helping you develop any ideas for future work you’d like to do?

I have some shows coming up in Paris and this is informing that. I’m expanding my repertoire and my foundation. It’s about communication and language. It’s an interesting dialog.

[Photo: Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com]