Graffiti and street art are traditions that have existed since ancient times and range anywhere from the scribbling of obscene words or phrases to intricate, powerful murals.
The artist behind the “Off The Wall” exhibit at Philbrook downtown is Thomas “Breeze” Marcus. This exhibit consists of four paintings done on various mediums: vinyl records, an installation of the tools Marcus used to create the art, one large mural and a couple tribal pieces used as inspiration.
Marcus began his art career with fleeting temporary street paintings on trains, brick walls, and other exterior mediums that were subject to destruction by weather, other artists and law enforcement. His work as a street artist heavily influenced his adaptability when it comes to the medium behind the painting he is working on. This progress, adaptability and search for something fresh is manifested in his paintings done on vinyl records.
The first installation, aerosol and oil on vinyl records, was made of four separate pieces used to represent the seasons. He used combinations of deep reds and vibrant blues to simulate the fading from one season to another and then covered the record in intricate, distinguished geometric designs.
Marcus derives his inspiration from reinterpreting past traditions. He focuses primarily on abstract patterns and reoccurring geometric shapes. He pulls from past traditions in the world of street art but also Native American influences as well.
The contrasts between these two main influences are what make Thomas “Breeze” Marcus’ art is impactful. On the one hand, he is a street artist, so the influence of fast pace city/urban life is reflected in the bold colors and mesmerising patterns that characterize his work. But on the other hand, Native American art and community inspire how his linework is intended to mirror the way rivers and streams flow through and breakup landscapes of Arizona and Oklahoma.
Marcus’ paintings are powerful and commanding among the white walls of the exhibition room. The bold outlines and dazzling, swirling colors leave an imprint on the street art community, preconceived ideas of Native American art and, consequently, viewers.