By deconstructing and incorporating discarded cans and other materials Optimus Volts, a.k.a. Isaac Coronado, creates a unique style of visually striking, bold and colorful art. His is a unique style that stands out in galleries and exhibitions.
Optimus Volts has a dedicated following and avid collectors. He routinely sells most of his works at each show. His solo show at Basic Urban Kitchen + Bar downtown, “Kill Bitches, Volume 1”, a take on the “Kill Bill” duo of films, was so well attended and received that he sold the majority of the pieces. His piece “The Kraken Bitch”, in the ‘Anamalia’ exhibition at Sparks Gallery, sold within the first week (which has since been replaced with a new piece: “The Legend of the Black Koi Bitch”). In other group shows his is usually the first to find a new home.
I was able to catch up with Mr. Volts in email correspondence to find out more about him, what goes into his art and what drives this artist.
Art Guide San Diego: What are the roots of your interest in art?
Optimus Volts: Abstract, pop art, graffiti, and street art.
A.G.S.D.: How did you find that this was something you wanted to do?
O.V.: Well, when you get that feeling, when someone says, “Wow!, this is fucking awesome”, when they’re looking at your artwork. It’s priceless, and you feel like you are alive.
A.G.S.D.: When was the first time you sold your art?
O.V.: In Junior High School. I used to draw on kids folders or book covers for lunch money. I would usually draw sports legends like Michael Jordan, Jose Canseco, Bo Jackson and many more greats.
A.G.S.D.: Currently you create sculptures almost exclusively. How did you start going down this path?
O.V.: In 1998 I created the first “Bitches” style, basically deconstructed spray cans, into wall sculptures. Back then I only did a few. I just didn’t have a lot of places to show them. Now in San Diego there’s plenty of opportunities for artists to show their work and when I got back into the scene 2013 I started with my paintings. I brought back the Bitches style, also in 2013, for a show at the Spot gallery, now known as La Bodega Gallery. I did a piece for their 10 by 10 show and I just got bombarded by people loving it. “Wow, what is this!”, they would say. Now it’s my signature style.
A.G.S.D.: What other materials do you use other than deconstructed spray paint cans in your pieces?
O.V.: I use plaster, recycled wood and construction-grade glues.
A.G.S.D.: Your art has been described as socially conscious by recycling spray cans that usually get thrown away. Did you have this in mind when you started on this process?
O.V.: No, I did not. I started using recycled spray cans in 1998 by accident. At that time I was big in graffiti art using a lot of spray cans to paint on canvases, walls and anywhere I could put up my art. I had a project in my painting class during that time, which was due the next day. Unfortunately I was upset and not thinking straight. I was mad, so I decided to break the spray cans into pieces while I was doing this painting, and pieces of the cans fell onto a canvas that was 7 feet by 6 feet. I was in a heavy trance releasing all these negative vibes from inside my heart that I redirected to the cans and the canvas. When I finally got a chance to look at what came out, it thought it was beautiful and I called it “Bitches”.
A.G.S.D.: What do you mean by “Bitches”?
O.V.: It means the style of my art with the deconstructed spray cans. Anytime I make a piece with the deconstructed spray cans it will have the word “bitches” or “bitch” in the title. The main reason I call them that is because of how that style was born. In 1998, in my Southwestern College painting class, I helped three girls taking the class, making sure they got an A by using my art talent to teach him how to paint. I went beyond being a student and became a teacher to them. By the end of the semester they all got an A and we became good friends. When the next semester came I saw them down a hallway at school and they ignored me. I realized that they used me for my art. It was the worst feeling. That same day I had to go to my painting class to finish that piece that was due the next day. With the emotions building up inside of me, I released them into the spray cans as I tore them to pieces. When I was done with the piece I called it “Bitches” because of those girls.
His parents named him Isaac Coronado but you can call him Optimus Volts. Legend has it that at the moment of his birth; a Transformer disguised as a Mac Truck was in a three way collision with Mickey Mouse and a bus full of graffiti artists. The resulting explosion created an unstable art field that was absorbed by the newborn. His work is the mashed-up root pulp extract of 80s cartoons, spray paint Kung Fu along highway underpasses, the four color comics of every age, textile manufacture and whatever else he can work into the divine blender that is his head and his hands. Wherever the world cries out for art, he’ll be there. You can reach him anytime by using the Optimus Volts signal.
~From the Bio page on the Optimus Volts website
A.G.S.D.: What is your favorite subject/pieces that you have used/created in the last few months?
O.V.: It has to be “The Kraken Bitch” that I made for Sparks Gallery. In this piece, in the shape of an octopus, I used deconstructed spray cans, wood and a plastered skull. It came out so beautiful and powerful and I realized that my art is evolving.
You can see the latest work of Optimus Volts at the upcoming solo exhibition “Kill Bitches Vol. 2”, presented by Art By Kami, on December 10th, 2016 at Kent Karras Chiropractic, 3800 Ray Street, San Diego, CA, during Ray at Night.
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