About Under the Influence, Juan Miguel Marin’s live drawing installation series:
“Drawing for an audience makes me channel a distinct energy. The work reveals itself as it’s being created, guided by my own emotions but also by the interactions with the people who are witnessing the work. We are all part of the process. The installations are not only cathartic for me but also a vehicle for meaningful connection with community. I am looking for more ways to share these drawings with the world, because, I think in the end, we are here to make things and share them with other humans.”—Juan Miguel Marin
On any given day, one might find multidisciplinary artist Juan Miguel Marin walking in an auditory meditation through a city’s streets, recording the urban soundscape—formless and cacophonous on its own. But when played behind Marin as he takes his pen to a large blank surface in a public place, the recordings espouse meaning. Under the Influence, Marin’s mixed-media installation series, fuses sound and large-scale fine art drawing to produce murals that express the consciousness of the artist—each piece representing part of his past and future—and that of environment in which the art is created. The field recordings inspire a spontaneous drawing by Marin, who is guided by his own emotions in the moment but also by his connection with the audience—city dwellers, some quietly observing, some engaging with the artist directly. The components—sound, setting, artist, audience—come together organically to produce the work. (The sound recordings are available through Marin’s web site for spectators who view the murals later.) Marin has been doing these site-specific installations for over five years, in such places as San José, Costa Rica (as Guest Artist at the International Design Festival [FID]); Brooklyn (BRIC); and Philadelphia (as Guest Artist at the Roots Picnic), with plans to bring the series to cities worldwide.
Marin’s path to this artistic practice unfolded just as organically as the pieces themselves. Born in Ecuador, Marin arrived to the US at 20 old, after some family turmoil and a succession of moves. He had visited New York City at 17, and he knew then that he wanted to return, unsure how. In the interim, Marin followed his artistic inclinations, beginning with music in a small town on the coast of Ecuador, Portoviejo, where there was little to do and meager resources. Marin also began drawing and eventually seized an opportunity to study graphic arts in Charlotte, North Carolina. He found traction in Charlotte, where he met his “eternal slumber-party mate,” Catalina; played music; and found lucrative work as a graphic designer. But his urge to pursue his art in a deeper way kept gnawing.
In 2009, he quit his job and moved to New York. Within six weeks, he found an advertising position and Catalina joined him, but the full leap into working for himself as an independent artist did not come until 2011. A “salary addiction” was hard to surrender, but in its place came a flood of opportunity—collaborating with David Byrne (as one of the artists who created the Grammy-nominated package design of Byrne’s album with St. Vincent, Love This Giant; and as a contributing designer in the Programme for the Contemporary Color Spectacle); drumming in Brooklyn indie-dance band LEGS; directing music videos; working in film (e.g., as producer of the concert film La Casa del Ritmo: A Film About Los Amigos Invisibles); and exhibiting his smalls-scale drawings in galleries in New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and California. Based in Brooklyn, New York, he shares his robust and eclectic mix of artistic work internationally.
For more about Marin’s art, where it has appeared and where Under the Influence will occur next, visit www.juanmarin.me.