Mwanel Pierre-Louis Dabbles in Alchemy for Black History Month Series

1xRUN is excited to present the return of Mwanel Pierre-Louis for an exclusive print edition as part of our Black History Month collection, curated by Greg Cummins. Alchemy blurs the line between figurative in abstract: colorful shapes intertwine with a woman’s figure, reflecting her image like shattered glass. Read our exclusive interview with the artist below.

1x: How did the idea and execution come about for this image?
So the idea was very broad at first, but it was narrowed down from personal conversation or situation that I’ve come across with. The idea became thoughts of themes of basic alchemy. From those themes of alchemy, I thought of which conversations complied to those themes or words and went from there. 

Within my process: I would sketch, photograph my references and then mess around digitally to execute my final idea. From there, I would re-draw my digital drawing onto a wooden panel. Afterwards, I would go to town with painting in acrylic. I started off with the background, middle ground and finally foreground. 

1x: Why is it important for people to see this image on a stamp?
It’s empowering, graceful, and as well it’s energetic. The vibrancy alone is magnetic so that the figures within the piece can bounce off of one another. If anyone is going through a time of disbelief or is uninspired, I believe this will be something for them.

1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
This piece is unique due to being lighter in context and less complicated as of execution. I have a tendency of putting tons of ideas into one piece. Therefore, this piece keeps my energy at ease. 

1x: If you could honor a historic African American with their own national holiday who would it be and why?
 I’m conflicted between two people, Kobe Bryant and Pharrell Williams. For me the two of them are influential in my upbringing as for culture and highlighting that we can all get to the finish line. They’ve always found a way of being on top of their game and being different at the same time. 

1x: If you could have dinner with any African American from past or present who would it be and why?
Well on the subject of last question, Pharrell would be the guy to have dinner with hands down.  We’re both eclectic individuals that have common taste in various topics. He’s an artist and an art collector as well and I know that his creative sense would definitely gel with my creative intellect. 

1x: How did you first get into art?
My parents got me into art at the age of 3 or 4, watching Bob Ross and his Happy Trees programs. My father was the artist in the house. My mother took me to museums in New York. But, my parents encouraged my talent to heighten by placing me into art classes by the age of 5/6. Never looked back after that. I’m forever grateful for them doing that.

1x: Did your parents or family approve/support you becoming a full time artist?
1000%, my family do and would forever do so. They’re always trying to figure out how to help or support my craft. It could be a few words of wisdom, supplying me a few dollars for some materials or putting gas in my car. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

1x: What would you consider a dream collaboration?
Nike/ Jordan is something that has been on my radar for a while. 

1x: What artists inspire you now?
  James Jean, Hebru Brantley, David J. Rice, Tim Okamura,  Octavi Arrizabalaga, Reinier Gamboa, Juan Travieso, Jose Mertz, Drew Merritt, Chase Conley and a few others.

1x: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
I’m having a mini show with Antler PDX in Portland, Oregon this April. There’s a few other things that I can’t get into at the moment. You’ll see that real soon.

Follow Mwanel at @mwanel1_l, and view the print collection here.