Months after artist Axel Void painted a street mural in Atlanta, he received a curious email from a man named Alvin Morris saying the photo he’d based his painting on was one of his childhood photos.
Void’s painting of Morris was first discovered by his sister after she saw it on the cover of a magazine and recognized its resemblance to an old family photo. The mural was painted in 2013 on a residential block in the Castleberry Hills neighborhood of Atlanta as part of the Living Walls Conference, which surveys topics in street art and urbanism.
Through this chance encounter, the two men’s lives crossed paths and the meeting inspired Void to create “Nobody,” a series of original paintings and sculpture based off photos given to him by Morris, as well as a documentary film the two men began putting together in the months following their first contact.
This Saturday, May 7th, Void will unveil a multifarious exhibition of memories from Morris’s early life in a solo show entitled “Nobody” at 7pm. at the Athen B Gallery in Downtown Oakland.
Alvie Morris was born on October 2, 1970 in Tulare, the middle of California’s Central Valley. His father was a nonreligious, alcoholic farmer, and mother a devout Jehovah’s Witness housewife. He was interested in music at a young age, and moved to San Francisco when he was 24. Like his father, Alvie struggled with alcohol. For the past 6 years Alvie has been sober, and spends most of his time playing music, practicing photography, working at a butcher shop, and taking care of his niece, Zoe, the center of his world.
The show pays tribute to this man’s life in a style reminiscent of the intention behind the New York Times video series “One in 8 Million,” which chronicles the small triumphs that exist among the conventionality of our everyday lives.
Void (Alejandro Hugo Dorda Mevs, by birth) has been working with portraits on paper and canvas and with street art since early 2000. His murals are prominent throughout much of Europe and Latin America and have continuously drawn together elements of history and the mundanity of human life.
Axel Void in his studio working on a sculpture bust for “Nobody”, his upcoming solo show at Oakland’s Athen B Gallery
The Oakland show is an extension of a larger series of Void’s portrait murals created from found photographs that serve to pay homage to the unknown “nobody” that exists and translates around the globe–the familiar yet unfamiliar, the mysterious yet mundane.