After nearly a lifetime of painting graffiti murals, Miami native Trek6 will debut his first gallery show in the Magic City.
Best known for using spray paint in the streets to pay homage to his Puerto Rican heritage, the artist explores similar themes in the exhibit “La Mancha de Plátano." The name is a representation of island culture, speaking both to symbolic and physical representations of Puerto Rico. While “la mancha de plátano” is part of a popular saying in Puerto Rico that explains the ways cooks’ hands become stained with plantains as they work with the fruit, Trek says the adage also has a dual meaning on the island.
“The meaning of that saying is more like saying your Puerto Rican identity cannot be removed,” he explains. “I’ll never not be Puerto Rico... For me, it will never be possible to remove myself from that. I’m stained. I’m from the island and I’m stained. So the Puerto Rican is in me, and it’s going to come out.”
Trek’s gallery exhibit will explore themes similar to those that appear in his graffiti work, but visitors can also expect to see new tools and techniques from him in this show. Until last year, Trek says, around 95 percent of his work was done in traditional graffiti fashion: using a spray can. However, he decided for this exhibit to create art done in the classic paint-and-brush style, which he formally studied during his adolescence and when he was living in Puerto Rico.
When he began painting canvases, Trek recalls, his mind made no separation from the work he was doing as a muralist. “As I started painting more and more and getting some of the rust off and developing my technique again, there was very little I couldn’t do on a canvas and vice versa,” he says. “And it’s something a lot of mural-based artists struggle with.”
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Another struggle: finding a venue to present his work in the more traditional medium. Trek says one reason it's taken him so long to present his first gallery show was that local gallerists constantly rejected his work. “For many years, I tried to get galleries in Wynwood to look at me,” he says. “I even had galleries tell me because I’m local, they’re not interested in me.”
Now that he's landed a space, he says, Miami viewers will get to see a new side of the artist who's decorated their city for years.
"If people are expecting a spray can out of me, I'm going to give them a brush."
"La Mancha de Plátano." Saturday, February 10, through March 14 at LnS Gallery, 2610 SW 28th Lane, Miami; 305-987-5642; lnsgallery.com. Admission is free. A free opening reception will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, February 10.