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Freegums for Everyone - The Alvaro Ilizarbe Interview

Peruvian-born artist/designer Alvaro Ilizarbe is a diversely talented soul.

If he isn't exhibiting his latest drawings you might find Alvaro working on a new batch of Freegums tees...sketching a flyer...or dancing up a storm for your You Tube pleasure!

SOMEBODY recently caught up with the gums behind Freegums...

Jumping straight in...what makes Alvaro Ilizarbe tick?

Creating is my number one goal. I have to keep going. Seeing my friends create pushes me even further to make more stuff. All things that make me feel good I gravitate towards and inspire me.

Can you tell us a bit about Freegums?

Freegums is my way of giving the world a piece of me. I draw all the time and most of it goes on t-shirts and sweatshirts that I make available to the world.

Freegums was also the name you gave a series of parties you threw in college, right?

Yes. When I was still in college I first used the name Freegums for some house parties I did. Years later I would end up using it again to name my clothing brand. I haven’t looked back since.

So if you didn’t progress in the art/design field you could have been a nightclub promoter?!?

Nope. I don’t see myself as being a hype-man. All the promoters I meet are hype-men. I just threw those parties back in the day because my friends were DJs and other friends had big houses. :-)

Do you have a preferred medium or do you like to mix things up?

I like to try new things and experiment with everything. My medium varies but my technique always derives from drawing. Can’t stop drawing.

You recently had a show at Turntable Lab in LA. How did it roll?

Turntable Lab was great. They took care of me and the show was amazing. It was a huge turnout and the feedback was fantastic.

Freegums at Turntable Lab

Your distinctive tees are not quite streetwear and not quite fashion – is that deliberate?

That’s a good point. My work falls into a grey area. I’m defining a new category for Freegums!

What other labels do you wear or respect?

There are many labels that are great but the ones I give most props to are Rockwell, and REBEL8.

You moved from Peru to The States when you were nine – have you been back?

Yes I went back not so long ago with my girlfriend and we did the Machu Picchu hike. It took 4 long days and it was the best thing I have ever done.

Freegums Alvaro Ilizarbe at Machu Picchu

What do you like about Miami?

The weather is unbeatable. Year round you can go to the beach and there are so many different ethnicities in such a small area. It's great. Very cultural.

How did your artistic affection for the wildlife of South Florida come about?

I guess it comes with the territory. It's all around you and not hard to appreciate. We all share this earth and must respect and learn about our environment.

Australia has some unique wildlife – ever contemplated a visit?

I would love to go to Australia. And of course see some koalas and kangaroos! I keep hearing about the forest fires lately and it sounds horrible.

In 2005 you converted an ice-cream truck and drove it around South Florida selling art. Talk us through it...

Yes in ’05 a friend and I decided to combine our efforts to get a bunch of artists involved in an event during the Art Basel fair. We saw the fair’s potential at the time and devised a way to introduce the art in a new way and to as many people as possible within those 4 days. We bought an Ice cream truck. Contacted our favorite artists around the world and had their work inside the truck. We went to as many art openings as we could and it was a sure success.

Freegums FUFI FUFI van

Apparently the Shaggin Wagon from Dumb and Dumber was sold on Ebay...any such luck for the FUFI FUFI van?

Actually through word of mouth we sold our truck to the producers of the movie Reno 911 Miami. They blew it up! Way to go out with a bang!

What’s next?

Good question. As long as I’m happy with what I'm making I’ll keep doing it. And I’m in a good place right now.

Oh, and talk us through the You Tube videos…are you a self-taught dancer?!?

I love dancing. Rhythm makes me move - I can’t help it. For as long as I could remember I’ve been wanting to shoot music videos of just dancing. It's about having fun with music. I got a green screen and shot myself dancing in front of it. Added videos of cool things in the background and voila!

Alvaro thanks for your time!


PS. Click on the Freegums logos 4 some Freegums gear!

Freegums t-shirts / tees @ FABNOB

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B Buster on Dec 29, 2009:
Love the Brickbuster tee!