Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic. Photo credit: Tostfilms.
Argentinian artist Francisco Diaz (aka Pastel) uses a distinct visual language in his murals. He fills his walls with patterns based on the local flora of the area he’s painting in — an effective way to connect with the communities he encounters in his travels. His botanical references often address history, geography, society, and politics. Along with these nature-based elements, Pastel often paints ancient, Stone Age tools to glorify humanity’s strength without referencing a specific culture. His distinct yet decorative style lends itself well to collaborations with other street artists, such as Pixel Pancho and Agostino Iacurci, who both worked with Pastel recently.
With his past experience in creative pursuits as diverse as architecture and graffiti, Pastel sees his street art as “urban acupuncture.” According to him, modern cities are full of “non-places” because of irregular and non-inclusive master-planning, so painting walls can be a jump-start for bringing attention to those areas. They range from smaller interventions on eroded walls to huge murals like the one he did in Zaragoza, which is his biggest piece so far.
In creating these public works in cities all over the world, Pastel seeks to honor indigenous communities rather than using his street art as a tool of gentrification. One of his favorite pieces is one he created not long ago in the Dominican Republic. The mural reminds Pastel of the great relationship he built with the neighbors and the memories from the entire experience. Aside from his murals, Pastel frequently creates installations and paintings. His last exhibition was a two-man show with Argentinian artist Elian at YoAmo305 in Miami. Going forward, Pastel plans to continue painting all over the world. He’s focused on reactivating “non-places,” using his murals as a technique of urban acupuncture.
Collaboration with Pixel Pancho in Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic. Photo credit: Tostfilms.
Collaboration with Agostino Iacurci in Miami, FL. Photo credit: Worldjunkies.
Buenos Aires, Argentina.