Next to the Basquaits and Warhols of Christie’s New York sits an acrylic box no bigger than a typical Manhattan studio bedroom.
With artificial turf laid down inside, the box is scattered with paints and other vibrant decorations and in the centre, a 24k golden frame, complete with FEWOCiOUS at the helm, painting YEAR 6, Age 19, the artist’s latest work which will be auctioned off in Christie’s Post War & Contemporary sale on November 19.
“I’m sitting here, interviewing with you like ‘oh, art is my life, art is everything,’ but instead, I could be showing you,” the 19-year old artist tells Highsnobiety. “So I asked Christie’s if I could paint on stage while they were doing the auction with the little hammer but they said it sounded dangerous, so I said: what if I put myself in a clear box?”
Last year, FEWOCiOUS sold a series of paintings with Christie’s called Hello i’m Victor (FEWOCiOUS) and This Is My Life, documenting his life aged 14 through 18 for over $2 million USD – only a fraction of the $50 million-plus he’s earned so far.
“I’ve been at Christie’s before, but painting here is just so different. There are people who come to see Basquait or Warhol and they expect that; then they get to my room and are like ‘what’s going on?’” he relays.
“It’s funny because some people get mad, some excited. It’s just fun. One old man walked in and told me I was making a mockery of art. I just laughed and carried on painting.”
Outside of the institutional art world, FEWOCiOUS was also an early collaborator with
For YEAR 6, AGE 19, he again dives into the digital sphere by delivering an
“This project is about this year,” he explains of YEAR 6, AGE 19. “I’m not doing a retrospective, but just who I am right now. Me, right now, painting this.”
“I’m going to decorate the box to look like my studio and then I’m just going to paint my feelings. Existing in this box is capturing that moment of me.”
When asked how 19 has been for him on a personal level, FEWOCiOUS responds with how the collection is inspired by when he was a kid and would tell his mom his knees hurt, to which she’d respond: “yeah, but don’t complain, you’re getting taller.”
“It’s a good hurt,” he recalls “Every pain doesn’t have to be bad. I’m growing and learning stuff along the way. Some of the stuff will hurt a little but it’s ultimately really good.”
To combat the new pressures of his meteoric success playing an influence on his work, he reiterates some advice his therapist gave him: “I asked [my therapist] why my art isn’t the same as when I was 14 and she explained that I couldn’t wear summer clothes in the winter and ask why I’m hot.
“She told me things had changed, and I had to tackle that. So, lately, I’ve been feeling no pressure. I’ve been just drawing whatever.”
The unprecedented success of
Although host to a long list of accolades at such a young age, Victor isn’t worried about becoming like the Basquiats and Warhols he’s sharing walls with. For him, it’s just about still having the freedom to do what he wants, when he wants.
“I want to add, I’m not trapped in the box. A lot of people think I’m trapped here. Just remember: I made the box. I chose to be here.”