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Art & Design

Mar 22, 2010
by Kara Pound, '06

Design-heavy street art with grit and detail is how 22-year-old Hahau Yisrael defines his work.

Yisrael, a graphic design major and advertising minor graduating this spring, doesn’t speak about art the way many have been taught. He understands the importance of balance and perspective, but uses them on his own terms. He doesn’t stick to a particular medium – combining coffee grounds, spray paint, ink, charcoal, henna and acrylics.

And he uses whatever he can get his hands on as a canvas: surfboards, skateboards, tile, wood and T-shirts.

Born in New York City and raised in Jacksonville, Yisrael says his life as an artist began in a unique way. “It’s when my older brother taught me about graffiti,” he said. The genre has since influenced every aspect of Yisrael’s work.

Though he turned his art in another direction when he came to college — “too much at stake,” he admits of the often illegal art form — Yisrael still uses many of the same principles of texture, layering and an unconventional, bold illustrative style. One of his main influences is Jose Parla, a Cuban-American, multi-faceted street artist who utilizes calligraphy, script and heavy textures in his work.

Most street graffiti portrays a message, whether it be political, social or territorial, and Yisrael chose graphic design for the same sentiment. “I’m into the heavy conceptual aspect,” he said of branding, typography and advertising.

With graduation looming, Yisrael’s been thinking a lot about his future. “I can’t see myself doing anything else,” he said of combining art with graphic design. Although he moved from New York at the age of 1, Yisrael still hopes to find himself in the Big Apple, working for a design firm or ultimately opening his own.

“I’m a little bit intimidated by the city,” he said. “It seems like something to work up to. For now, I’ll just go with the flow.”

So he is concentrating on the present and just focusing on surviving his senior portfolio class. “Flagler has put me in some great situations and really shaped me as an artist … I probably wouldn’t have been as nurtured had I not gone here,” he said. “I’ve met some amazing people, in and out of school, and I’m always asked to push myself and never settle for less.”

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