Gabriel Pons

I was born and raised in Northeast Pennsylvania.  My father is a structural engineer.  He emigrated from the Philippines in 1970 to marry my mother, a third grade teacher.  I attribute my interest in art and architecture to my early fascinations with science fiction films and comic book artwork.  In 1987, when I was thirteen, my older brother introduced me to skateboarding, which consumed my teenage years.  The aesthetic of music and art associated with skateboarding opened a whole new world for me.

Along with skateboarding, music has been one of my chief motivations in creating visual art ever since I was a child.  On top of my life-long love for music itself, the album cover art and packaging from bands such as Iron Maiden, The Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy intrigued me and sparked my interest in graphic design and photography.  The social message of Hip-Hop artist KRS-One greatly influenced me as a young adult.  His lyrics were a call to arms to the youth, encouraging self-reliance, love of knowledge, cultural awareness, and attention to artistic merit.

In 1992, I entered Virginia Tech to pursue a bachelor’s degree in architecture.  Those years broadened my scope of creative activities beyond the drafting board to include painting, collage, photography, and video.  My Architectural education marked a critical point in my development through the emphasis on the interrelationship between the arts, sciences, and other design disciplines.  In the fall of 1995, I studied abroad for four months in Europe, documenting both historic and contemporary art and architecture.  It was then that I realized that art, design, and architecture would be a life-long pursuit in my life.  College provided a stimulating curriculum, and the friendships initiated back then continue to this day .  I met my future wife, Scarlett, and was able to interact with peers who shared my love for design.  I lived and worked with incredibly talented and motivated people who exemplified a strong work ethic.

After moving to New York City to join Scarlett in 1999, I worked in several architectural firms while privately pursuing my endeavors in painting.  Fortunately, New York offered me the opportune environment for reinvention and creative exploration.  The street art and graffiti throughout the city coupled with the proliferating skateboard culture fueled the inspiration for these artistic endeavors.  In 2002, I began designing and painting my own skateboard graphics, merging my love of art and skating.

My work in mixed media encapsulates the inspiration from all these experiences in my life.  I extract text and imagery from my environment and reconstitute it into new forms.  The act of layering text and imagery in a composition speaks to the nature of urbanity—a kaleidoscope of many different languages, cultures, and seemingly disparate images that when combined, creates new meaning and makes apparent inherent relationships between the parts.  Through my work, I explore the juxtaposition of old and new while taking timeless themes from Greek mythology and Classical Literature to retell a story in a style that speaks to present-day audiences.

In my more recent works, I include lyrics and other prose into my pieces.  The text, whether handwritten or printed, adds a layer of narrative that engages the viewer and presents more questions that either compliment or contrast with the incorporated imagery.