There’s a new mural in Spalding House’s outdoor Surface Gallery. For the past month, artist Ira Villafranca has been working on Luxury Row—his largest work to date. Born and raised on O‘ahu, Villafranca completed his BFA at University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa. His current body of work focuses on illustration and sequential storytelling.A lifelong sci-fi and fantasy fiction fan, he is inspired by print and new media—particularly comics, video games, and animation in particular. When you first encounter his work this influence is strong and recognizable.
With Luxury Row, Villafranca continues a body of work he has been building for the past few years. When asked what drives his work, Ira says he is “fascinated by the relationship between fiction and reality.” He sees fiction “as a vehicle that both reflects and helps us understand reality.” He uses stark, graphic drawings to “move viewers back and forth between fiction and reality” and to create a world in which we will find “elements both alien and familiar.”
See it: Luxury Row is on view at Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House through December 2017.
Ryan Higa is a HoMA museum educator.