Edgar Bolanos: Street Savvy Samurai
When you get down to brass tacks, fashion shows are really just pure theater. A designer presents their newest work on the world’s style stage, with all the drama of a Broadway production. Fittingly, there’s a touch of Japanese kabuki flair to the bold set that artist Edgar Bolanos has dreamt up for menswear designer Pyer Moss, which will be presented at MADE on Sunday, Feb. 9. With multiple converging graphic lines and jagged edges, the key word for this set is intimidating. I braved mountains of slushy snow to visit his Long Island City, Queens studio and get a sense of what makes this creative soul tick. It was well worth the schlep.
Milk Made: Tell me about the name of your company, One Powerful Mind?
Edgar Bolanos: It is actually my artist name as well. I work in graffiti, photography, oil on canvas and digital art as well.
MM: Tell me about your set for Pyer Moss this week?
EB: It’s inspired by Japanese samurai. The designer had a very clear concept he came to me with, based on one of his garments. The samurai were very into “clean” kills.
MM: Very theatrical. What do you like about making a set?
EB: The whole process of taking a plain piece of wood and cutting it into shapes that eventually become an environment is very satisfying. The downside is that I hate the mess. I’m such a clean freak.
MM: Sawdust is a bitch, and it’s bad for your lungs. Wear your mask! How did you get started in this crazy racket?
EB: My part-time job is an engineer at a hotel, so I build a lot of things for that. Plus, I’ve always been a graffiti artist, and now oils and photography. So this work is a combination of all that.
MM: What do you think of fine art world and news media finally worshipping at the altar of Banksy?
EB: The media blew it out of proportion this year for sure. He’s really good at what he does and so good at his own propaganda.
MM: Hype is the true art form of the millennium. Banksy is such a merry prankster—the Robin Hood of street art. Who else are some of your favorite artists?
EB: Magritte, who has the same birthday as me. The MoMA show was so great, and I’ve never seen his work up close like that. It was mind blowing.
MM: What other things inspire you these days?
EB: Music. Some of my work is pretty dark, and my music can definitely affect that. I listen to a lot of Phillip Glass, a little Nine Inch Nails, and am really getting into industrial. Futuristic and apocalyptic movies like "Blade Runner" and "Mad Max" have inspired me a lot, especially in my photography.
MM: Your personal dress sense is pretty dope. What are some of your favorite designers?
EB: I don’t really follow trends. I love shoes more than anything. I usually buy things and customize them, like these jeans (points to artfully paint-splattered jeans.)
MM: Very Jackson Pollock.
EB: He’s cool. I’m working on this biker jacket (pulls out white leather jacket customized with black lines and crosses.)
MM: Hmm. I see the seeds of your own fashion line someday…
EB: Yeah, no. I love fashion and have a lot of friends in it, but it’s a tough business. I don’t want to do that.