"This is another ode to my former neighborhood Washington Heights. Which is located at the norther tip of Manhattan. The slang terminology for the area is uptown. Uptown is a place that is alive with culture. A mostly Dominican neighborhood but also a mix of many ethnic backgrounds. I have a fondness for this area because it is where I got one of my first apartments and where my amazing wife lives.
I used the circular pattern to convey my feelings that this neighborhood is a center of attention. I was originally going to leave the letters just in blue but then I realized the letters were getting lost in the background. I then decided to go over the letters in a chrome silver to make them stand out. This work was presented for the cover of magazine that comes out every year about an art festival that takes places in the area."
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ACRYLIC AND INK ON CANVAS
16" x 20"
New York City
“Art defines me. I don't feel like I chose art, but more that art chose me as a vehicle of expression. I feel most free and alive when I'm creating artistic ideas and concepts. It's what gives value to my life. Art has been the thing that's kept me alive when I've been very depressed.”
Dubblex has been creating and studying art in New York City since he was 12 years old. He describes being drawn to graffiti since a young age, and says he got his artistic start by creating tags on stickers and filling notebooks with drawings. Dubblex utilizes a combination of graffiti handstyles combined with hieroglyphics and calligraphy. One of his favorite parts of his art process happens after it’s completed and on display. He says, “I like the part where people are spending time with what I have created, working out the letters, and what the painting says.”
Dubblex describes his style, saying, "It’s not calligraphy and it’s not really graffiti. I spent some time thinking up a name to call it. I came up with the name XudeL, which is a word formed from the letters in DubbleX. The X in XudeL is pronounced as a Z."
Dubblex typically begins a work of art with unformed ideas and words. He creates his own lettering style, combines them with symbols, then brings them together to make a statement. Sometimes he writes certain phrases, or his or his wife’s poetry that he wants to bring to life. Dubblex uses markers, acrylics, inks and spray paints to create the writing, symbols and backgrounds in his artwork. Dubblex says, “I find that markers and inks work best for fonts because they help me feel more in control of the materials. This has the effect of providing me both a safe and uncompromised art process."
Dubblex describes having lived through significant struggles in his life: “Nobody said that life was going to be easy. For me, life has always been difficult. I grew up with a very abusive mother and an alcoholic father. I suffer from Schizoaffective disorder. Growing up, I heard a lot of voices in my head and saw things not there. I did poorly at school and was not social. I lost my job because of my illness and was forced to go on disability. I have spent my life going through ups and downs.”
Despite his struggles, Dubblex says art and music are what bring him the most joy and give meaning to his life, helping him through hard times. He receives supportive services at Fountain House and is a contributing member to Fountain House Gallery in NYC, where his artwork is exhibited and he connects with other artists who have mental illness. He writes, “The most important lesson I’ve learned is do what you love and be around those who you love, because life is too short to waste on doing things you don't love or being around people that don't love you.”
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