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BREAKING BORDERS

We invited four paradigm-shifting creative minds from Mexico to share their stories and input on how Mexican design is igniting a new perspective and breaking down borders physically and psychologically. We explored what role their city and culture have played in their careers, what they would like to share with the world, and how the global perception on Mexican design has shifted over the last years impacting the world, beyond the US.

Our goal was to shift the mindset of the power of creativity through these incredible artists.

Alan V. Favero
Creative Director / Taller Lu’um Design

Mariana Garcia
Photographer / Founder of P Magazine

Alonso Murillo
Fashion Stylist / Designer / Producer

Ricardo Gonzalez
Artist / Founder of “It’s a Living”

Panel discussion hosted by Andrea Perez
VP + GM, Jordan

Special thanks to our partners:
The Hoxton – @thehoxtonhotel
Guero Tortas – @gueropdx
Free Public Wine – @freepublic
Forge Graphics Works – @forgegraphicworks

Each artist spoke and showed work at our DWP event on April 11th. In case you missed it, catch up below and then dive into each of the artists’ stories—as told by them from their homes and studios.

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Alan V. Favero
Empowering women artisans and bringing light to invisible indigenous communities.

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Mariana Garcia
Breaking down the outdated perceptions of the female body.

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Alonso Murillo
Design is a tool to overcome cultural biases and obsolete gendered standards.

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Ricardo Gonzalez
Proof that you can paint walls, create a style movement, fall in love and make a living.

Our team enjoyed the process of meeting all four artists and putting the event together. In their own words:

FERNANDA ARREGUIN ON BREAKING BORDERS CONCEPT AND CREATIVE DIRECTION:

We want to share with Portland the type of stories that inspire us as a creative agency and as a multi-cultural team. This constant learning about what’s happening globally can be many times, mind opening.

Mexico has a special meaning for the team and we wanted to leverage DWP to be the platform giving voice to these unique stories. Four amazing examples of people that have, in their very unique way, taken a step to break social and cultural borders within their own realities. We aim to inspire and invite people to do the same in their own ways, to leave this event with the hype to break their own borders. Let’s start this conversation by shifting the perception of an often-stigmatized culture and take a peek at the vast potential that is out there in the world.

AMINE EL FILALI ON CAPTURING THE ARTISTS’ STORIES:

To be part of this project from the beginning has been very rewarding. Helping to bring four amazing creatives from across the border to showcase and connect with the local scene is beautiful on its own but to also get to visit and interview the artists prior to the event— shooting their environment, lifestyle, process first hand—has just been straight up soul nourishing.

Getting to know these artists and experiencing their hospitality as they welcomed us into their homes and lives, has been truly humbling and I wish nothing but the best to them and their endeavors going forward. From Ricardo’s distinct, beautiful and impressive murals, to Mariana’s smooth and understated storytelling in her photography, Alonso’s incredible drive and strong messaging through fashion, to Alan’s amazing work in design while empowering the true harbingers of culture in Mexico—I feel fortunate having had the opportunity to shed some light on their journeys and I could do this work any day.

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ROBB HUNTER ON EXHIBIT DESIGN:

Over the past year and a half, I have had the opportunity to visit Mexico City a number of times. The textures and creativity of that city cannot be understated. After every trip I found myself energized from everything from the ceviche to the rich late night – likely mezcal fueled – conversations with fellow creatives.

The stories of these four artists and designers contain all of the passion that I found in Mexico and the metaphors contained in “Breaking Borders” are hard to miss. Barriers, both physical and otherwise, that divide us are more evident than ever. While the rest of the world is talking about how walls are being put up, these four artists and designers are showing us ways that they are being torn down. Working with this idea, I developed a palette of materials and design elements that activated the exhibit space and complimented the work on display.

Using both 3D programs and IRL prototyping, I quickly built out a rough layout and flow to the exhibition. Leveraging the deconstructed aesthetic lent itself well to the heavily textured exhibit space while amplifying the artwork. With only 2 days to install and hang, working in 3D allowed us to work quickly by giving the team exact construction drawings to work from and even curate the art virtually.

In the end, the entire team came together for a couple of days (and late nights) for the construction. Despite the heavy lift (cinder blocks aren’t light!) to get everything polished, I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of the team that brought this perspective to the design community here in Portland and hope that the rest of the world finds inspiration in their stories.

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ALI RADCLIFFE AND SABRINA TAYLOR ON PRODUCTION:

Planning for Breaking Borders encompassed a whole host of skills and resources. But no matter how many elements we had to keep in play, one thing we did have on our side was time to plan. And that’s usually the one thing we almost never have enough of.

Once our Creative Director, Fernanda, had identified the artists we hoped to collaborate with, the first step was to make contact, introduce the Breaking Borders concept and get them onboard with the event. Once that was all taken care of, the project really kicked off.

First on our list of tasks was selecting the imagery we wanted to showcase from the artists—no small feat. With the pieces whittled down, we then had to secure credits, imagery, bios and quotes from the artists themselves.

Once the key elements were in play, we got to work project managing the film content production to support the event, organizing the travel and film schedule for the team (Armando and Amine) who headed out to Mexico and NYC to film a ‘day in the life’ of the artists, with instructions for a quick turnaround.

We then went through the process of working with the team to ensure the content was edited and formatted on time, ready to tease out and share on social and with media.

In addition to event planning, artist liaison, logistics and creative management, selecting the right partners was essential. After working up a shortlist of companies, we engaged with The Hoxton, Guero Tortas, Forge Graphics and Free Public Wine—creative, complementary brands that represented a great cultural fit for the event.

Breaking Borders was an internal project and we needed to be smart with the budget, which meant looking at internal resources and mapping out crossover skills outside of established roles. We put hammers, saws and paint brushes into the hands of anyone willing to help Robb, our Lead Industrial Designer, with the build. We also played around with some new tasty print and vinyl equipment—many hours were lost printing branding, applying and then doing it all again when we were one inch off. Everything needed to be perfect.

Planning out the show and build schedule to make sure everything went to plan was a significant factor, especially given that on the day of the event, each person in the office would be responsible for making something happen.

Breaking Borders was a genuinely collaborative internal project. We worked with, and project managed almost everyone in the office to make this event a success. But above all, it was rewarding to be able to work with such talented people and artists, so close to INDUSTRY’s heart.