Colombia-born, New York-based artist Alexis Duque creates highly detailed paintings of incredibly crowded cities. The 42-year-old works with just a few colors, but his acrylic paintings are anything but simple. Each piece can take between one week to one month to complete. His paintings often show over-populated capital cities in developing countries. Through his works, he hopes to shed light on the chaotic and unavoidable processes of urbanization in our globalized and overpopulated world.
As he told us, “I am obsessed with imaginary cities, sometimes I like to depict futuristic architectural metropolises, and other times, I am inspired by slums and shanty towns from developing countries, overflowed with crowded objects and furniture in an uncontrollable growth of accumulation and waste.”
What is his creative process like? “I prime and stretch the canvas directly on the wall, so I have the support of a solid and hard surface,” he said. “Then I start by sketching with a 0.5 graphite pencil. I draw with sharp lines to define the entire structure of the work. Then I proceed to paint many smooth layers of acrylic painting, using mostly very small brushes.”
You'll find hints of Greek and Roman architecture in his works. Why? “It is part of the architectural fabric of many cities conquered by old empires around the world. Also, there is an eternal beauty in the ruins left by these civilizations,” he said. “I am particularly in love with this infinite beauty embedded in these buildings.”
Duque's paintings can next be seen at at Flux Art Fair in Harlem, New York from May 14 to May 17.