Contemporary American Painter, Muralist, and Designer
Xavi Panneton, born 1977, is an artist with an evolving aesthetic where abstract, graffiti, and visionary art meets modern design. He approaches his craft with a unique perspective made possible by his history of creating works across many genres. He is presently utilizing experimental processes that embrace both technology and mixed media to advance abstract expressionism for the 21st century.
First immersed in the Washington DC graffiti and skateboarding scene of the early 90s, Xavi moved to California at the age of 19 to become an in-house fashion designer and graffiti artist for JNCO Jeans. He is among the originators of the West Coast world of Visionary Art. At this time, his work is focused primarily on abstract modernism and architectural murals.
With his passion for artistic expression in many forms, including fashion and sculpture, Xavi’s work can best be described as colorful, graphic, and emotional. His mesmerizing patterns and alternating use of hard and soft lines generate a sense of vibration and have been known to evoke meditative states. Through masterfully-executed compositions of novel shapes, patterns, and symmetries, Xavi aims to connect with viewers in a world of simple beauty, light, and harmony.
Xavi takes his inspiration from many sources and is particularly drawn to the biomorphic aesthetic: “Nature is the source and teacher of all design and is what I turn to for inspiration and guidance.” Ancestral influences of indigenous cultures are also pervasive in his work, and his artistic visions are fueled by music and dance as well as glimpses into the world of spirit. Using formal design techniques, he creates a dynamic tension by incorporating the old and the new, the seen and the unseen, building a unique visual language straddling cultures and epochs. While committed to the timeless tenets of design theory, Xavi also brings a certain playfulness to his practice, and while his work remains sophisticated, there also exists a refreshing accessibility to everything he produces.
Xavi is best known for his immersive architectural murals, which he has created in an impressive range of settings, from high-end hotels and corporate campuses to schools in underprivileged neighborhoods to culturally-relevant nightclubs, music festivals, and retail shops. He is in demand internationally, having created installations in Portugal, Australia, the UK, Costa Rica, Canada, and Ecuador. He was commissioned by the Quito Museum of Contemporary Art to create a mural for the “Arte en la Calle Festival” in Quito, Ecuador. He has created collaborative stage designs and large scale installations for the Boom Festival in Portugal, Lightning in a Bottle Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Rainbow Serpent Festival and Symbiosis, to name a few. His sculptural installations, paintings, and immersive art experiences have appeared in many major cities for clients such as Google, EA Sports, Patagonia, Insomniac and Do Lab.
Xavi has a passion for creating art that positively impacts communities. He sees his work in underserved neighborhoods as a form of art therapy and social activism. As an example, he spent eleven months from 2019 to 2020 transforming the educational complex of Kids Unlimited, a charter school in Medford, Oregon, that is dedicated to creating accessible opportunities to empower all children regardless of their backgrounds and economic limitations. The exterior of each school building, painted using the hard-edge technique, in the superflat style, contains bright intersecting patterns reminiscent of clouds, plants, and flowers. A 3,200 square foot mural on the main building is constructed of large curving forms designed to emphasize scale and invite viewers into a grand experience of modern architecture that is otherwise not available in that city. The immersive environment is designed to feel comforting and uplifting, universal and timeless. The CEO of Kids Unlimited, Tom Cole, writes: “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate and enjoy the murals that Xavi designed that brighten our campus. It’s truly helped to create prominence for our work with children who deserve the best. Xavi’s contributions are meaningful every day to our entire KU community of children, parents and staff.”
As an internationally-recognized artist, Xavi has left a transformational mark on every community into which he has been welcomed.
My current work integrates my past styles and influences into an expansive new open-ended process of creative possibility. It is painted digitally, but designed to be re-created, in any size, with traditional paint and collage mediums.
It is composed of a variety of layers that I develop, using photographs I take of graphically strong moments in everyday life. From organic patterns in nature, to shadows, to light reflections, to man made structures, I am always watching in wonderment at the world around me, looking for captivating forms. I strip the photos down to black & white, extract the desired forms, then re-draw them in my own hand-style, into clean vector-like graphics that can be used as layers. I integrate my own patterns and drawn layers as well.
These paintings direct themselves through trial and error. At the start of a piece, there is no narrative. I collage layers quickly at first, adding, removing, shifting, cutting and pasting, then slower as the piece communicates its preferences and mood. A strong individual identity begins to emerge. I listen and facilitate its becoming until it feels fully realized. At this stage, I take a step back to look at it for awhile before going back in for the final stage, where I take great care in refining it to completion.
It is important that every aspect of a painting cooperate with everything around it. Like a healthy eco-system, there is an overall balance and harmony in the environment. After a painting is finished, I spend a lot of time contemplating it’s mood, and begin to get a sense of what it is communicating, and a kind of narrative unfolds.
This new body of work seems to be communicating something about how technology is influencing and transforming not only our minds, bodies and lives, but the life of the planet Earth as well. What does it look deep inside our subconscious as we process all this change? How does it look when all this new technology-infused experience crashes, intersects, blends, mixes and merges with our ancient biological human circuitry?
How does our emotional experience, our relationships, our joy and grief, our victories and defeats, effect the colors and shapes that are projected onto the big screen of our conscious mind?
I think abstract shapes and colors are expressive of these very deep mysterious parts of ourselves. Novel shapes and forms break apart, dance and co-exist with harmonious geometric patterns, while color plays important role in defining the emotional tone. It is as if the mind is like an AI engine that produces endless new visual combinations by mixing stored memories with input from the outside world. My work exists as snapshots in this intersection, making visible, these invisible dimensions of our experience. I use color, shape and scale to communicate my spiritual belief in a mysterious underlying and omnipresent love-based intelligence that generates and sustains all existence across infinite multi-verses. My work is an energetic expression of love and gratitude for this mysterious life force energy.
Computers are a key tool in the creation of my work, so this is technological influence is built in at a DNA level. The process by which my paintings are made is only possible given todays technology and industry. In this regard, my work is of its time, and I love incorporating as many different tools as possible into my creative process. Im excited to explore ways that artists and engineers can join forces to create new tools to spark evolutions in contemporary art