Culture » Visual Arts

Diego Arnedo talks nightclubs, blacklights and live painting

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Arnedo puts what he learned in Central and South American nightclubs on the canvas.
  • Arnedo puts what he learned in Central and South American nightclubs on the canvas.
I first saw Diego Arnedo’s art at Goat Patch Brewing Company. It was hard to miss; usually, the brewery doesn’t have a blacklight shining at one of its walls, bringing out vivid colors in an already dynamic, lively painting. But Diego’s art comes from a unique place.

“My religion, my culture, is electronic music,” he says. “It’s not necessarily electronic music for partying. Maybe lounging or chilling out — experimental music — or maybe electro-tango.” Diego, originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been making art since childhood. At age 15, he got his first gig painting murals for nightclubs and discos and was hooked. He’s since worked in multiple media, including sculpture — he and wife Adhya built huge Styrofoam sculptures for Club Vertigo while living in San José, Costa Rica.

But what brings him the most joy is painting live, channeling whatever music he’s playing into his big, expressive pieces. He starts with watercolors for form, then uses acrylics for color and detail. Playing into his nightclub roots, he paints under blacklights and incorporates fluorescent and UV-reactive paints, adding to the stimulating sensory delight of the scene.
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“The magic about his work with the blacklight and the fluorescent paint is that it draws people in,” says Adhya. She says that between the visual flair and the engaging nature of his live painting, it opens his art up to a wider audience, one that may not otherwise be inclined to seek out art. Live painting also lets him set up in a variety of places — he recalls painting at restaurants while living in Brazil, and an early August performance at the Manitou Art Center, where he did a hands-on event with some kids, letting them play with UV-reactive paints.

“That’s why the focus is the art live, so it’s open to everyone...” says Adhya. “It’s not limited to galleries or upscale events.”

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