Theater & art

RISE

Percy Fortini-Wright goes from graffiti to the gallery

Cedric Douglas

Age: 33

Hometown: Boston-based artist who keeps his hometown under wraps

Think of: A trained fine artist whose subject matter tends to be a combination of figurative and literal, from fantastical cityscapes to hybrid characters of an undefined race. Colorful, magnetic, and poetic, with hidden background patterns to draw in the eye.

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What caught our eye: Fortini-Wright’s seamless combinations of new (spray paint) and old (oil paint) techniques.

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Light bulb moment: Having a child four months ago changed Fortini-Wright’s outlook on painting and on life. “Becoming a parent — that morphed my artwork,” he said. “I was just dumbfounded in the beauty of a real creation, not just some artificial made thing. . . . That was probably the pivotal point, to be honest. When I had my child it put it into perspective and gave me a lot more clarity.”

Biggest thrill: “I think one of my biggest kind of things is having the balls to think that I could do it as a full path career,” Fortini-Wright said. “I think my graffiti background kind of helped me take my fine arts career and really push it to another level.” Fortini-Wright has bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts degrees from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University.

Inspired by: “Mostly my own little crew [of artists] that I hang with. Sean Flood, Jamie O’Neill, Wesley Tunks. . . . We’re all kind of graffiti artists coming from a traditional background and merging those different things,” he said. “There’s a whole slew of different people, but mostly it’s my crew that I hung out with every day. We really pushed each other to further our talent and get more creative with our works. A lot of times the competitive nature of the graffiti background pushes and challenges each other, that competition.”

Aspires to: Fortini-Wright’s long-term goals are to move up the gallery ladder and do “larger-scale murals all over the country,” he said. He hopes to someday show his work in places like Thinkspace in LA and the Jonathan Levine Gallery, in turn gaining the attention of “more art appreciators and so on.” “The different galleries that are really kind of pushing the idea of fine arts aesthetic with kind of that street culture or graffiti art where you get some high-caliber painters who are working different mediums” are the most attractive to him.

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For good luck: “I listen to a lot of soul music and old-school ’80s disco and classic ’90s underground hip-hop,” Fortini-Wright, a fan of musicians like Roy Ayers and Marvin Gaye, said. “I’m really inspired by music. . . . A lot of times the rhythm really makes me think of the pattern of how I lay my marks down.”

What people should know: “A lot of my art — people might not see in the surface but I’m really into physics . . . and the hidden rules of the universe. A lot of time I put patterns in the background of my composition to try to draw you to my piece. The way I lay down paint, color — a lot of those things are kind of a mix of spirituality and science.”

Coming soon: Fortini-Wright opened a show at Lot F Gallery on Pearl Street on May 9 that runs through June 27, and he’s planning on showing his work at the Hynes Convention Center sometime this summer. He’ll be doing work for the Copley Society and venturing to North Carolina for an East Coast show later this year, all while squeezing in teaching at the Art Institute of Boston.

Links: www.percyfortini wright.com

EMILY WRIGHT

Emily Wright can be reached at emily.wright@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @MissEmilyWright.