One day I was walking in the Lower East Side on Ludlow Street and came across a giant pair of stunning, huge heels painted on a wall. I was floored by the grandiose, colorful kicks and intrigued. I'd never seen any street art in this style, with such fashionable flair and bold colors embodied by a kick ass pair of women's shoes. Of course I immediately looked up the artist Xors on IG and was excited to see her feed of beautiful street art. Fast forward about a year and I've had the chance to meet this vibrant, creative, beautiful artist whose work exudes her bold spirit, social critiques and amazing design skills.
Read on to see how Rene Xors' fashion and design background, social critiques and music all come into play in her art. Here is my interview with Xors below:
Are you from New York?
I say yes, because I've been here forever, but originally from Jersey!
How long have you been doing art?
All my life is the easy answer.
What got you into street art?
My background is art, with a strong pull towards design, which is why I ended up as a shoe deisgner... they are both sculptural, functional and fashionable. Throughout my career in fashion, I sketched and illustrated shoes on a blog. It started out for fun but then became a serious form of release, expressing my tension with fashion. The shoes became personified and interpreted my mood, viewpoint with trend, the industry, and the love and hate I have for it all. As time went on, my job became demanding and I threw myself into it, and I just got burned out. I kind of lost my creative spirit for myself. I felt I couldn't even sketch to do art... There was no joy from creating anymore.
While this was happening, I was living in NYC and traveling the world, seeing street art all over the place. I was always inspired by street art, with its unexpected presence and transformation of public space. I also love the inner dialogue that happens between me and the art when I pass by. It's both so personal and public. One day, I couldn't stand how I couldn't feel inspired, so I picked a print of one of my shoe sketches and created wheatpastes and hit the city. It energized me beyond anything and led me to want to re-form my path towards what I love. Which is art. And fill my soul back with joy. I've been actively trying to do this since then, and have expanded my work into doing large-scale pieces that use spray paint and stencils.
How does fashion play a role in your art?
I illustrate shoes as a vehicle to express the contradiction I feel about fashion. I love fashion, it's beautiful. I want to wear it, be it, be the best version of what I think is ideal. I appreciate great craftsmanship, and hi-end design... I love the perfect silhouette.... but I hate fashion, it distracts people from reality, creates unhealthy competition and judgement, it goes against the grain for what's important. It destroys the environment and kills animals and if you think you're being good by buying fake, that's just as bad. It all uses too much water and resources no matter what. I get overwhelmed by what I am contributing to. I innocently wanted to be in a creative field and do fashion, and the aftermath of what that means is a frustrating awakening.
From your IG it looks like you're also really into music...does this have an influence on your work?
Completely. Obsessed. Music moves me. It's that other-worldly language that I constantly need to have on to flirt with my inner madness.. Usually I only love musicians, which is why I'm married to one.
It looks like you've done collabs with the artist Flood Club a lot. How did you two begin working together?
Flood by far is my favorite person on the planet. We met in the East Village at a show. I knew his work and to me it was the most inspiring I've seen. It spoke to me on such a deep level. We've become friends and have a synergy and are on the same wave-length, so collaborating just came naturally. We have the same goals in life and have similar view points, although our work is completely different. We push each other in unimaginable ways, just because we both are so true to who we are and what we do. It's a very unique partnership, one that I am so grateful for.
How is it working with another artist? I know as a writer, it can be hard to get together with other writers because we all can be loners...do you work alone a lot? Do many street artists get together for art or socially?
Depends on the artist. I usually do like to work alone and I know Flood does too, but there's something very special about us working together and I don't think I would find that so easily again. It's an energy thing. It can't be replicated, it just is. So I like working alone and with Flood! And I'm cool to socialize with all sorts of artists. I enjoy going out to openings, it's just sometimes hard to do when I'm so slammed with my own work. I love to show my support though when I can.
As a woman street artist, did you find it hard to make a name for yourself?
I think it's interesting I'm a woman doing street art and it has a fashion angle. I feel I am still trying to make a name for myself so all around, it's hard, but I don't think it's because I'm a woman. I just think it's hard.
What message do you want to convey with your art?
I want people to feel something... I want them to find a release, or sense of joy or an unexpected perspective when they see my work. Feel something...
What's been one of your biggest challenges as an artist?
My body and the weather. Art is SO physical. I'm usually in some sort of pain and nothing sucks more then doing a wall and being rained on!!!
What's one of your favorite parts of being an artist?
The constant growth, the constant change in thinking and need to express myself over and over again.
Are there any projects you've done recently or upcoming works that we should keep our eyes peeled for?
Flood and I have a show together at The Storefront Project until Jan. 3rd. We also did the wall on Bedford Ave L train Stop in Williamsburg. We have some more murals up our sleeves in the New Year. I also am inspired to do some new paintings....Usually I am very active on Instagram. It's my go-to.
Where can we follow your latest works and events?
Do you have a favorite piece?
I think I love the piece I did on 2nd ave between 8th and 9th street. KNOCK OUT. I want to expand on that one!
Is there anyone else you'd like to add?
You're so awesome and I appreciate all your support! I also want to run with you! This is a big goal for me, and I'm working at it! Hopefully in the New Year!
Thank you so much Rene for your support and you inspire me as well! Check out Rene's work and some special art from her on our Women's Art Run on Jan. 15!
lso check out Xor's exhibit with Flood Club at The Storefront Project now through Jan. 3!