Street art is a voice on the walls of all great cities, every great society has had its own version of graffiti. This art form whispers to those who look around, asking questions, sparking thoughts and influencing perspectives. It was the classic street artist origin story: skateboarding around the streets led to a love for graffiti and street art. Voxx Romana, a Portland based street artist, grew up in the Midwest. With small stickers on street signs to large murals in alleyways, his work colors the walls of great modern empires. Art has always been a part of his life, but his interest in street art developed in middle school. Another major influence in those formative years was his high school art teacher, Floyd D. Tunson, an established visual pop artist in the Rocky Mountain region. “He inspired a lot of my friends to become artists,” Voxx told me.
Early in Voxx’s artistic career, he worked as an apprentice for a screen printing company. The company was based around “unique production approaches.” This formative experience taught Voxx that every project could be an exciting challenge, as he experimented with different mediums, and took risks with his artistic range. Voxx learned a variety of eclectic printing techniques, like stenciling. “Stencils make the most sense as a tool for my vision as an artist. In a few easy steps I can create crisp, vibrant and precise artwork on a variety of surfaces with different color combo,” the artist explained.
Rome was one of the world’s greatest empires, the voice of Rome could only be a voice of great influence.
When devising his moniker, Voxx Romana, turned to history. His name comes from the Latin phrase for “The Voice of Rome.” Rome was one of the world’s greatest empires, the voice of Rome could only be a voice of great influence. In taking this name on as an underground street artist, Voxx represents the underbelly of a great society. His work emphasizes the importance of refreshing old ideas and building them into something new. He seeks to address the society who sees his work as a voice for them, reminding them to pay attention and build their own beliefs about the voice of authority.
Voxx is well known for his Albert Einstein image, which he began using in 2007. The figure of Albert Einstein is just a standard portrait of the physicist looking forward, sometimes Einstein has cunning adaptations made to his eyes or skull. When altering the perception of Einstein Vox is reminding the viewer to, “neither rejecting nor accepting any proposed truths of organized religion, established norms, media, etc.” He continued explaining, “They should determine if the belief is valid based on their own knowledge, intuition, research, and reason. I don’t want to tell people what to think, I just want to make them think!” Along with the Einstein image, Voxx has a collection of other characters who appear in his work. These figures are members of pop culture, the political world, and everyday society. Using a combination of stencils and saturated colors, Voxx’s work is almost immediately identifiable. As an artist, he’s an activist “awareness of global problems.” Like many street artists, the state of the world influences his subject matter and style.
Voxx has a distinguishable and evolving style, often resulting in varied textures and colors due to the plethora of mediums he employs in creating his work. In a collaboration with the Portland-based marbling artist Danny Ebru, Voxx used Ebru’s images as a background for his own stenciled work. This overlay of pieces highlighted the fun of color from Ebru’s work, alongside the intense pop of black stencils from Voxx. The collaboration is one of Voxx’s favorites due to its dreamlike imagery. The interplay of cotton candy-like colors with Voxx’s characters atop created a dynamic contrast of bright hues and dark lines.
Over the past twelve years Voxx noted, the popularization of street art caused its integration into mainstream, “making it an even more powerful tool to get a message across, or just beautify the world. The progression is really exciting and I feel we are the next generation of innovators in the evolution of street art!” Over this period of time, the artist’s work has become more detail-oriented, and each new piece brings something fresh to the table. Voxx said, “ I’m always changing and improving because I try to learn something new from every painting or stencil I do.” His steady growth has earned him the admiration of artists across the world.
Voxx Romana is a creator who pulls from his experience and the world around him to create deeply meaningful and beautiful fine art collections, as well as equally impressive street art pieces.
Later this coming year, Voxx will release a collection of screen printed propaganda posters addressing the state of the social and political world. For Voxx, being part of the art world and having the ability to be a voice for his community allows him to remind people to think for themselves and come to their own conclusions. Voxx Romana is a creator who pulls from his experience and the world around him to create deeply meaningful and beautiful fine art collections, as well as equally impressive street art pieces. His thought provoking presence on the streets is there to remind us as viewers that as Einstein once said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Moira Hampson is a street art photographer based in Portland, Oregon. Her passion for street art has driven her to travel the world to learn about street art and its relation to community.
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To see more of Voxx Romana’s work, check out his Instagram.