(arts) daphid (jennifer alejos)

Setting up a table with several original paintings and blank canvases, Daphid did not know what to expect when he first started painting eight years ago. With DJ music pounding out of nearby speakers, he was approached by eager customers at the live show and has continued creating artwork since.

32-year-old San Antonio artist, Daphid Art uses spray paint, vivid acrylic colors and stencils to create pieces portraying movie stars, cartoon characters and musical artists. Daphid also creates unusual political art and unorthodox original designs. Showcasing some of his artwork at local art exhibits and solo shows, most of Daphid’s artwork can be found on his Facebook page or Instagram profile.

“I’m always working on commission pieces,” Daphid says. “A lot of my work comes through someone seeing something they like and wanting me to create something for them. I usually get nervous with commission pieces and surprise myself and the customer afterwards with the outcome.”

Graffiti-style artwork describes much of Daphid’s art. Using spray paint to give his paintings an extra dimension, Daphid has created several paintings of characters, including John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction. Along with spray paint designs, Daphid has also created pop art images of several iconic artists like Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and The Beatles.

“I’ve been commissioned to do artwork in people’s homes and businesses, on small canvases and on pieces of wood. I’ve lost count but I think I have done three hundred paintings and mailed less than 100 through Instagram and Facebook around the world,” he says. “Much of my work is done through word of mouth.”

Creating artwork on canvases, panel pieces and wood, Daphid takes inspiration from artists that create repurposed art. Daphid has produced some of his artwork on unusual objects, including frying pans, a cabinet and even recycled VHS tapes. He also creates designs for t-shirts, which can be found on his Facebook page.

“Someone once gave me a box full of VHS tapes and so I decided to paint on them,” Daphid recalls. “One time I sat down and did fifty and went to an art show and sold about forty; that’s when I knew people really liked them.”

Getting his start at the University of North Texas in Denton, Daphid studied photography and minored in philosophy.

“I enjoyed the history of photography, like the invention of the camera, and I knew the history back and forth. I got tired of it in school though, having to do things for deadlines or fit into what the school thought was appropriate; I couldn’t work on nothing too grotesque” he says.

Shortly after dropping out of college, Daphid began focusing on his art career and started painting during a live show at a friend’s party. It was at his first live show where he realized he could start creating artwork full time.

“A pretty good payoff is posting my work and getting a big response. It’s very motivating to get those responses” he adds.

“I want people to see my work and say ‘I can do something like that’ and be inspired like I have been with other artists.”

With the “Good Fellas” compilation vinyl soundtrack blaring in the background as a silent film plays on a nearby screen, Daphid sits in his studio and creates, usually working for hours or taking a moment to jot down ideas for his next piece.

“A goal that I have for myself is to be featured in an issue of Juxtapoz Magazine” Daphid says.

Adding, “They really put low brow, gutter art out there, art that is really up in craftsmanship and artistic ability but features lower moral subject matter such as prostitution, murder and everything that’s wrong with the world.”

Some of Daphid’s inspiration comes from artists like Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, photographer Alfred Stieglitz and political graffiti artist Bansky. Along with being inspired by other artists, Daphid also uses his family to keep himself motivated. Daphid’s brother Lawrence works with special effects in Las Angeles for independent films, small productions and commercials, while his other brother Julian writes and composes music as a DJ.

“My brothers and I have always been involved in the arts trying to outdo ourselves, in a positive way. They are a really big influence on me, and I think I am to them as well,” he says.

Although Daphid may just be realizing his potential as an artist with pieces created deep within his studio, his art speaks with an underlying message in every stroke of his paintbrush.

“I want to say that it’s okay to do art on your own through my work,” says Daphid. “I want people to see my work and say ‘I can do something like that too.’”

For more information on Daphid Art, visit his Facebook page at Facebook.com/daphidart or his Instagram profile, @daphidart.

Walking with the confidence and stature that made him a household name in the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader walked calmly through a crowd of children and — without hesitation — hugged and shook their hands while taking photos with their families.

This was proof that the alien and android invasion had already begun. It’s just not where you thought it would be.

Instead of looking toward the skies for flashing lights, venture out to the Witte Museum’s brand new “Alien Worlds and Androids” interactive exhibit that opened Feb. 22.

Presented in the Kathleen and Curtis Glenn Gallery, the interactive exhibit invites you to discover how “science fiction meets science fact.”

Venture through nine different sections where everything you always wanted to know about alien life on earth and in other solar systems is on display to be discovered.

Enjoy a wealth of information about technologies used to discover alien life, solar systems and planets. Find out how robotics and artificial intelligence is making an impact, not just on the movie screen but in our everyday lives.

“Are We Alone?” sets the pace by confronting the questions about life in the universe that people for centuries have always pondered, while “Looking for Life in Space” examines the role of an astrobiologist in search of sophisticated alien civilizations and the habitation conditions on exoplanets (planets outside the solar system).

The “Alien Life on Earth” section widens your experience by introducing you to the multitude of seemingly alien life that already inhabits the earth. It explains that some scientists believe life on earth started near hydrothermal vents under the ocean, producing the carbon dioxide that fostered the first carbon molecules.

Study the creatures known as “extremophiles” that have been known to thrive in the harshest of conditions here on earth — adding credence to the notion that life can thrive in any universe, in any environment.

Perhaps the most chilling section is “The Human Microbiome,” where you learn one out of every ten cells in your body is human; the rest are bacteria and fungi. If you need more insight you can venture to a touchscreen monitor and inform yourself about each of the microbes that are currently in your body.

“Explore the Solar System” furthers the universal theme of planet and solar system exploration. The exhibit identifies the technology that has been gathering data for decades about the farthest reaches of planets that have been explored so far, such as NASA’s use of probes, such as Voyagers 1 and 2 that were launched back in 1977.

One of the most exciting parts of the exhibit is the “I-Cyborg” area that is highlighted by full-scale replicas of famous movie characters such as Iron Man, the alien that terrorized Sigourney Weaver in the “Alien” films and the head of a “T-800” from “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” which includes a push button that mimics the machinery sound the head makes when moving, trigging a feeling that Arnold Schwarzenegger is right behind you.

“I think the kids being able to see characters from the movies and then tying it into science, everyday real life, robotics and how fantasy becomes reality is a big part of it,” said Ruben Luna, manager of exhibits at the Witte Museum. “As they get older, the kids seeing this will maybe pique an interest in them to want to pursue science.”

Moving further along, the exhibit shows the significance of the technological advancement of artificial body parts that have helped to extend the lives of men and women who have used them to either survive or better themselves. One example is the Israeli-produced robotic suit called the “ReWalk” that has people with traumatizing spinal injuries walking again.

Enhancing the overall involvement of the interactive exhibit are the “Artificial Intelligence and Robots,” “Robot Space Explorers” and “The Robotization of Planet Earth” sections.

Feast your eyes upon robots known only as C-3PO and Gort as their relevance in science fiction movies helps to complement the conception of how robots have become an essential player in a technology driven world.

Increase your knowledge of the use of GPS and military drones. Experience some robotic systems first hand by maneuvering one of the robotic arm displayed. Or witness the landing of NASA’s Curiosity rover that has been on Mars since 2012 and see how it has been spending its time on the red planet.

Finally, end your journey by exploring the natural history of meteorites, and don’t forget to stop by and feel actual lunar and Martian meteorites.

“It was very interesting. Usually people think about aliens in space. But it’s actually about life on earth and robotic life,” said Christie Sosa, who was on hand for the opening. “It’s good to see and experience all this and to be exposed to this kind of science.”

“Alien Worlds and Androids,” sponsored by Global Experience Specialists (GES) and assisted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and NASA, will be on display until May 27.

For more information, call the Witte Museum at (210) 357-1863 or visit their website at wittemuseum.org.

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