The steady flow of content into our timelines, feeds, and screens has replaced traditional forms of communication. Our multi-device lifestyle has made connecting with one another faster and easier than ever before, though it comes at a price. To Argentine fine artist and calligrapher Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic, we're losing much more than we think.
“Technology has outpaced morality,” he tells The Creators Project. “The speed at which we consume content makes it difficult for people to activate genuine emotion and empathy. We’re consuming so many different things at such a rapid rate that we’re no longer having conversations as much as we’re having sensory interactions. I think language is heading towards a convergence. You have unprecedented numbers of languages dying off in favor of the 'Lingua Francas' of the world. What's sad is that with that kind of loss, we lose not only a language but a facet or view on how to see reality."
In contrast, Mestrovic’s art seeks to restore dialect to the conversation. His signature marriage of meticulously penned calligraphy and gestural, flowing brush strokes returns focus to thoughtful communication.
The result is a mélange of disparate cultures, languages, and typographic styles that unexpectedly make perfect sense together, visually symbolizing the natural ebb and flow of a good conversation. It’s a patient experience, one that requires a step outside of our rushed world to fully savor.
"My work is communication. Art is a process and a conversation, a dialogue between the creator and the viewer, and for me it's always been a form of visual communication and expression," Mestrovic says.
The artist's old-world method appears to run counter to the speed in which our modern world operates, yet his approach to visual language has attracted consistent attention from the art and fashion worlds. He's worked with brands such as Nike and KENZO, exhibited at MoMA and The White House, partnered with Diane Von Furstenberg to create artwork for the CDFA Fashion awards, and launched his own clothing line for Japanese Luxury brand ADORE, in partnership with VOGUE Japan.
Mestrovic made his directorial debut with Scriptura Vitae, an artistic short film commissioned by the UK’s Channel 4, featuring a blend of Japanese Butoh and his communicative style of art. A year later, Mestrovic was invited to create a featured installation for the renowned SCOPE Art Fair, where he expanded on his theme of visual communication outside of the canvas via ARTAMENTUM, a massive, mirrored chamber that served as a personal confessional booth, broadcasting private moments to the entire fair on towering structures.
Mestrovic’s unique multicultural upbringing spawned his early fascination with language and communication. Buenos Aires-born, he was raised by a Croatian father who emigrated to Argentina. He grew up speaking a mix of Spanish, English, and Croatian at home. Taking an interest in calligraphy at an early age, Mestrovic moved to Japan, where he learned Japanese and continued to expand his interest in the spoken and written word.
For Mestrovic, the broader his ability to express himself linguistically, the more his art could say. “Maybe that’s why visual language became a first love,” he says. “There’s always been power in words; for me, I think I’m interested in how that power takes shape.”
In recent months, Mestrovic has been actively using his work to tackle global problems, from bridging communication gaps between nations to promoting education through charity. He was selected by the White House as a featured ambassador for the US-Japan Leadership Council, a bipartisan group comprised of the top thinkers and creators from both countries for the purpose of bridging cultural relations through art and technology.
This fall he took on Creative Director duties for Scott Braun’s Pencils of Promise, an international charity dedicated to building schools, offering education training programs, and funding scholarships for children around the world. Mestrovic hopes that through teaching us to view language in multiple dimensions, we can begin to shift our focus towards a more empathetic global society.
“There is an innate, universal commonality in communication, and that to me is inspirational because as much as you can see the dissimilarities, we have so much more in common as human beings, regardless of cultures and language differences," he says.
At the end of the day, what Mestrovic seeks to achieve in his art is the foundational human desire shared by all of us: The desire to be understood. “Language is critical to my work; language, in essence, is my work. At the core, I hope to relay something about myself and my experience and my perspective on the world around me," he says.
Check out more of Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic's work on his website.