As an artist from the United States, Tranqui Yanqui has swept Buenos Aires with his techinicolour pancho-pancho. He has spent five years in the city and has found it full of inspiration; a place where he could be the character he had wanted to creatively explore.
His medium is hard to pin down, as it combines sculptures with flurries of colour, fashion shows, ‘tranqui’ apparel and live performances and interventions on the streets. Over the recent years, his art has been motivated by street and pop culture, specifically looking at the relationship people have with facing different cultures.
Tranqui Yanqui has become quite a character of quirky collaborative force between the United States and Buenos Aires. He combines spunky glitz with buena onda in his creative projects and the culmination of his experience here will be in his newest project, the ‘Tranqui Torres’. He hopes to construct two towers with doses of T.Y. pizzazz and display them in Pateo de Liceo in commemoration and reflection of the events of 11th September. When asked what motivated him to do the project, he said that he “wanted to build Tranqui’s version of the twin towers to not only highlight the date and T.Y’s ‘American-ness’, but also to define a personal story as well”.
As he explained, the T.Y. story is one of expression and escape. He was born in Miami, Florida and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. He made the move to Buenos Aires as he felt that the city would give him the freedom to express himself as an artist, something that he believes has been accomplished. Living in a Tranqui World, as he refers to it as Tranquilandia, has always circled around major North American and Argentine events and icons within popular culture. This September, the towers will be no different.
The artist also said how his time here was not just expression, but reflection, too. He explained how life here, bumping into different nationalities and cultures, has shown him that not everything is, as he puts it, “black and white”.
“While the twin towers are an important symbol for everyone – and a delicate one to work with – I do think it’s possible to tastefully recontextualize them to tell your own version of a story. That has been the goal of Tranqui Yanqui all along, to tell the story of place, nationality, and culture through the filter of a colourful character.”
Although it has been over a decade since the Twin Towers fell, it symbolically changed the world. It shifted political, economic and sociological perspectives and questioned our notions of what it means to be a part of a country or nation.
Since that date, the way we travel has also changed. Getting from place to place is easier but with more restrictive on where we should go, more accessible to some, but more constrictive on others. The borders have become fuzzier, more confusing, almost psychedelic.
The Tranqui Torres are not intended to mock the event. Instead, like his other projects that were Tranqui-fied, they intend to revisit an iconic event through a more colourful lens of the artist’s Tropical Pop Universe. He hopes to gauge the response of the viewer before making conclusions about what the installation is about.
T.Y. is using the idea.me platform to fund his project that is to be opening at Lista Ya Galeria in Pateo de Liceo, Santa Fe 2729, on Sept. 11th 2012 from 7-11pm. Head to the opening or offer a donation online through idea.me.