Alejandro Dorda Mevs a.k.a. Axel Void is charismatic, magnetic even; he is the archetype of the artist. Extremely talented, he is an incredible painter, admirer of Velazquez, oil painting and chiaroscuro aficionado, a master of subtlety in his colour palettes, at ease painting a 15 stories mural without needing a projected grid or outline, creator of an unmistakeable calligraphy, which seems to be a mix of Greek alphabet and Sanskrit; he is a sculptor able to work on concrete or bronze; he is a musician, he loves jazz and flamenco, he played with gipsies, with progressive punk-rock bands and in multiple venues in Spain, he plays saxophone, side flute, clarinet, the piano and has started drums recently – scroll down to the bottom to discover his playlist-; he is a very sensitive film maker, influenced by Harmony Korine. If you haven’t done it already, watch his films here.
But talent is not all, what I think makes the difference is that he is a thinker, he reads and breathes philosophy, he questions our society and our actions endlessly, he approaches taboo subjects with bluntness, he speaks up for the weak and abandoned, he tells the stories of the « nobodies » and pays tribute to the mundane with extreme tenderness.
Great-grandson of a painter who was one of Spanish dictator Franco’s portraitists, Axel Void moved with his parents from Miami to Cadiz, Spain, when he was 3. He lived in a quite chaotic environment, surrounded by alcohol and drugs and started taking care of his parents and himself from a very young age. At 16, his mother returned to Miami, and Axel Void lived a somewhat nomadic life alone in Cadiz, then Granada and Sevilla while studying art and bombing the cities. In Sevilla, he met graffiti artist Séléka who became his mentor and big brother, his new family.
After moving to Berlin for 3 years, he has finally settled down in Miami, a city he despises for his superficiality, but that he embraces too as he knows that there is something more to it than the glittery rich side. He came back to be close to his mother, a passionate haïtian activist and the sweetest and loving person ever, and to take care of his family.
He bought his house near Little Haïti in Miami a couple of years ago and has been restoring it since. This place has a special atmosphere, the studio part is white and bright while the living parts are warm with dark colours, even the blue-green music room is warm. Everything is simple, sober, with only essentials. At the back of the house, there is a courtyard, more like a garden really, shaded by a magnificent golden Flamboyant tree. There is also a hammock, an old barbecue and a big Poinciana tree on which Axel climbs to make phone calls. You can’t hear any noise from the streets, just the laughter of the kids playing in the house next door.
His home is a shelter, always opened. He welcomes kids from the neighbourhood, he teaches them how to paint, he keeps them out of drugs and alcohol. He has been teaching Reginald O’Neal a.k.a. L.E.O (Love Each Other) for the past 4 years. Reggie is a musician; he likes to rap and used to draw a lot. He comes from Overtown, a rough neighbourhood kind of ghetto city in Miami. Painting with Alex may have got him out of the bad stuff and makes him discover the world as he brings him to international street art festivals where they paint together. Alex saw raw talent in Reggie and has been his mentor and big brother, as Séléka was to him in Sevilla when he was a kid. He is giving back what he received in some way.
In between paintings, and teaching and filming, Alex takes care of Rocco, his uncle’s dog, cleans up his yard, and plays music, chess, and soccer with his team. He doesn’t need much more than that, and this home gives him the freedom he needed. Freedom to do what he wants, freedom to stay out of the art business if he chooses so, freedom to develop his projects which are dedicated to others.