Desigual Unveils a Two-Story Storefront Mural with Spanish Artist Okuda San Miguel

V spoke with the graffiti visionary about all of his artistic inspirations.

Known for its asymmetrical graffiti prints and bold, bright colors, Spanish fashion label Desigual has enlisted Okuda San Miguel, an artist with the same enthusiasm for vivid exploration, to decorate the brand’s flagship store in New York City with a powerful mural. The two-story masterpiece reimagines the Statue of Liberty motif with an array of contrasting geometric shapes holding Subway Art, a collaborative book published in 1984, the same year that Desigual was founded, that documents the rise of NYC’s underground graffiti art scene. Surrounded by a world of textures, the Statue neighbors Hindi and Arabic typography and hybrid characters composed of animals and elements of the story, all of which bring the diversity and passion of street art to life. In the heart of the city’s Herald Square, it’s a spectacle you surely cannot miss.
had the chance to speak with the Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel about his extensively colorful body of work and his vision for the Desigual facade. Take a look at the mural and read what he had to share with us below.

How did you get started in graffiti street art? 

I started making art around 1996 painting in abandoned factories and railway walls in a small city in Santander where I was born.  These were places that no one cared about but for me were treasures.

How would you describe your style? Who are some of your inspirations? 

My style is a mix between realistic compositions, organic items, digital patterns and a mix of cultures from the past and from the future. My inspirations come from surrealism and art history, namely the renaissance period. I like to bring muses and icons from that era that I translate into my own language.  I also like to include cultures from Africa, India, Mexico and Asia in my artwork. My inspirations are things that I see around me every day. Digital art, theater, cinema, fashion, music, everything. 

What were your inspirations behind the Desigual facade? 

Desigual and I have very similar design philosophies. We both integrate a mix of cultures, patterns, and colors in everything we do.  The mural at Desigual features a new version of the Statue of Liberty, an iconic New York City monument. Our new Statue of Liberty symbolizes that all races are equal, all cultures are equal and symbolizes universal equality. Something really important in its hand, this Statue of Multiculturalism is the “Bible” of street art: Subway Art which was published in 1984, the year Desigual was born, by Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper, a really close friend of mine. 

Out of all the places you’ve erected murals, which have been your favorites? 

My favorite is a Church that you can find in Spain.  It’s a skateboard park inside a 100-year-old church that mixes classic architecture with contemporary art.  This was the first big thing I did my own way and was my way of bringing a new way of life to this place. Then the two churches that I did in Morocco and in Denver. I love to mix classic architecture with contemporary painting. I also love the new sculptures I have started doing around the world. I have seven in Boston and a big one in Las Vegas. I love to do sculptures for public spaces.  

How has your recognizable multicolored style developed since you began your work? 

I started painting 20 years ago. When I first started I only painted letters but as I evolved as an artist the letters started to mix with different compositions that had two meanings, you could read Okuda and at the same time saw triangles and faces, there was a duality to it. Later, I transformed the letter into geometric patterns, something really simple but at the same time, you still could read Okuda. After that I started to create strange architectures with geometric patterns. Eventually, the humans and animals I created would be translated into my geometrical language and live around the architectural shapes. It was a really slow evolution but the most important thing as an artist is to have only one image, only one style, and a very personal language.  

What stylistic choices have you taken into consideration when creating this facade?

Desigual and I have the same design philosophy. We both use bright colors and different patterns in our work. I wanted to bring my different muses like the iconic Statue of Liberty into the scene and put them in Desigual inspired clothing. All the clothing that the characters are wearing are different patterns from the past and from the future much like what Desigual has in their collection.

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