The 2017 edition of Neon Desert Music Festival has come and gone, with El Paso’s Khalid giving the most memorable performance on the Franklin Mountain Stage, in front of a herd of fans that spanned over two blocks in the heart of the city.
As the music played and the fans moved across the venue from stage to stage, there was another form of artistic talent on display. Since 2011, the two-day festival has hosted dozens of artists who showcase their graffiti art, body paint and other forms of abstract art.
“We’ve always been participating since the first year, we’ve always attended as guests and had a lot of fun. Off that same idea and doing some street art we would actually be part of Neon Desert on our own,” Los Visionaries Collective artist Victor Soto said. “We would hit up the neighborhood where Neon Desert happens prior to the festival, so we were kind of unofficially part of it…we finally got invited to be part of the official lineup.”
This type of artwork takes time, as it unfolds throughout the duration of the festival. The hours spent finishing the piece often go unnoticed by fans in attendance, but it’s the finished product that gets the praise.
Along with local talent, he artists group included members from Austin, San Diego, and Juarez.
“We plan it in advance…I think the challenge part of being a collective is being able to incorporate so many people with different traits into one project,” Soto said. “Finding a way where it’s all balanced and where nothing overpowers the other, everything’s strong on its own.”
Soto did say that the group meets to plan their projects for the show and the goal is to improve on previous work, but once they reach a halfway point on an original idea, they begin to “improvise.”
He adds that the goal behind these projects is to give those in attendance a different form of entertainment. The main attraction will always be the musicians, but between the acts and while folks grab a bite, there is plenty of time to appreciate the visual arts.
“Everyone’s out here to have fun, to see something live. To see either their favorite band or people that they really like live, a performance,” Soto said. “That’s what we’re trying to bring as well as far as art goes, performance arts.”