Spencer Keeton Cunningham pictured above holding a recent magazine he found in Tulum with a feature on a mural he painted with Aaron Glasson in Cancun the previous month at el Festival Internacional Arte Publico. Photo: Vishal Modha
The following are a collection of paintings created by Spencer Keeton Cunningham since he has been at Residencia Gorila in Tulum, Mexico. Above pictured is part II of the Lionfish Project painted by Spencer. The first Lionfish Project mural was painted by Aaron Glasson and Celeste Byers one year ago.
Lionfish, a native species of the Indo-pacific, were somehow released into the Caribbean in the early 1990’s. They have since multiplied and spread and are now considered an invasive species here in Mexico. Feeding on small venerable marine life they are a real and growing threat to the underwater ecosystem of the entire Caribbean.
Unless Lionfish numbers are controlled through eradication they will continue to breed exponentially, causing serious damage to reefs and several species of fish. Spencer´s painting was created to start a dialogue about catching lionfish (pez leon). The overfed, somewhat obese, Lionfish stares puzzled and scared at the empty hook in front of it, waiting to be caught, as to say , where is the bait? The intended dialogue to be started is that we are the ones that need to step up and catch the fish and raise awareness about their population.
Residencia Gorila’s LIONFISH PROJECT aim is to reduce the lionfish population in the Mexican Caribbean by increasing it’s consumption through audiovisual and public art, direct contact with community and viral campaigns. The goal is to transform Lionfish into the regions top cuisine.
The Coral Reaper. A painting collaboration with Guillaume Desmarets of Brussels. This mural is a part of the Restore Coral Initiative. A project creating ocean and coral related murals to spread awareness of coral depletion in the Mexican Caribbean. This project involves the creation of murals and uses art as a way to directly gain more resources to continue restoring and planting new coral in the ocean.
In the middle of painting a large crocodile on a wall with Guillaume Desmarets soon after they unknowingly swam in a cenote with crocodiles. Guillaume and Spencer became good friends at Residencia Gorila and ended up creating multiple paintings together in Tulum both in the pueblo and on canvas.
Guillaume doing some dancing mid muralBelow is a humorous film created by Spencer of the shenanigans these two got into while painting together in Tulum. This film expresses the true madness of the man only known as Guillaume and also features their good friend and giant Remy Beaty as well as artist, Alejandro Canela. Some other guest features also include Ananda Watanabe and Hugo Branco.
A local woman very happy with her barbershop painting that Spencer did for a payment of 200 pesos. Somewhere in the region of 13 dollars USD is what Spencer got paid to paint this wall. He says that he has a lot of respect for the sign painters of Mexico and is interested in continuing to paint signs in Mexico to experience how painting is down here for a local. Not an outside artist.
“I´m interested in how it really feels to paint in Mexico. I mean to paint as the people paint here everyday… as a part of everyday life. The signs are incredible down here. It’s like nothing has changed from the old days where everything is still hand made and hand painted. It’s amazing.”
Other then painting here in Tulum Spencer has continued to make a series of films. (Pictured above) interviewing Bernardo del Monte for a film they are working on together documenting how Bernardo has been maintaining traditional Mayan agricultural techniques for 30 years on his property in the Yucatan.
Bernardo has been growing an edible food forrest and has continued to help change the way Mayan people get their food in the area since the early 1980´s. He is eventually creating a Mayan Agriculture University on his property and creates a series of healthy elixers some of which have been brewing for over 12 years.
The following is a collection of a few other films Spencer has made since his arrival at Residencia Gorila in March.
Bien Bonjour Tulum starring Guillaume Desmarets
An epic ninja movie by Spencer Keeton Cunningham made with Emmanuelle Le Phan, Elon Hoglund, and Vishal Modha
-Residencia Gorila. April 25th 2015