Pablo Aravena's Top 5

Correspondent Kevin Titzer catches up with Montreal based artist and filmmaker Pablo Aravena and asks him about his favorite things.

Pablo Aravena is a Montreal based artist. In addition being a street art curator, he is also interested in exploring the multiple dimensions of urban culture through fiction and documentary filmmaking.

In 1997, he graduated from Concordia University’s Film Production Program. He has held various positions as a freelancer in the film and television industry in Canada. He has directed feature length and short format documentaries, short fiction films, music videos and music-related video reports. He is currently in development with two fiction feature-film projects and a feature-length documentary. In 2005 he released the feature length documentary film entitled “NEXT: A Primer on Urban Painting” about graffiti as a world culture shot in over 10 countries. This film was co-produced with French fashion designer agnès b and features the cream of the crop of contemporary graffiti writers and street artists. The film toured the world festival circuit for 5 years becoming a genuine cult hit. Through making NEXT he has become interested in art and curating art shows and art related film programs. He has curated exhibitions in Canada, USA and Europe and film programs in London at the Tate Modern and in Rio de Janeiro. He continues exploring this new direction internationally.


1. Person (living)

Sixe Paredes

I met Sixe more than 11 years ago in Madrid and I have seen his work and career progress ever since. We have worked together on a series of shows over that time. To me he is the future of Catalan art taking influences from the graffiti and also local heroes like Miro and Tapies to create his own contemporary art. His latest work is anchored in Peru and its Pre-Colombian art and ceramics created using syncretic adaptations that blend his personal language with his distinctive personal artistic language.


2. Person (dead)

Miles Davis

Miles Davis inspires me because he was a maverick innovator and all round baddass that changed the course of music like 5 times and didn’t take shit from anybody. He had a unique vision and followed it without worrying what other people thought. The way he made music motivated me want to try things and take risks with what I do. Only by pushing the limits do you get to create your own voice as an artist.


3. Place

Latin America inspires me as a place. I originally come from Chile but have lived in Canada for 3/4’s of my life. Even though I grew up in the north I still have a connection to Latin America, which I have deepened by many trips not only to Chile but also to other countries in the region like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba. It feels like home when I go there. I feel that right now there is a very strong cultural movement coming out of Latin America with a quest of identity being a strong feature. In this exploration there is a mixing or metissage of traditional and modern, analog and digital, rural and urban and most importantly of indigenous, Asian, European and African cultures present in the region in the work that is coming out recently. Artists there are “digging in the crates” of their own past and local cultures to create a new modern and global culture which is starting to invade the world. The continent is growing up and so are its artists, creating a new identity and culture, which is strong and reflects not only the struggles and challenges but also the beauty and unique reality that exists in Latin America. As an immigrant, who struggled to define my own identity I can relate to this process. In my work I aim to explore these themes but perhaps more anchored in my own reality here in North America.


4. Book / movie

The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

Cause it portrays writers and poets like outlaws.

Mean Streets by Martin Scorscese is the film that still blows me away when I see it. This film made me realize that you can make personal films that have mad style, which depict unique realities. The film feels like a young guy full of energy and ideas made it. The scene when Johnny Boy played by Robert DeNiro walks into the bar with the song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones as accompanying soundtrack to me is one of the most cinematic moments ever made. I still get goose bumps when I see that scene.

5. Music / podcast

Music is my lifeblood. Although I work in film and art, its music with its language of feelings and sounds that inspire my visual side. My taste in music is eclectic going from Latin, Hip Hop, Brazilian, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Afro, Broken beat, Boogie to electronic.

I listen to a lot of mixcloud and soundcloud mixes by DJ’s that I dig.

Here are some people I follow on mixcloud



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Check out some of Pablo’s short films:



Pablo Aravena's Top 5

Correspondent Kevin Titzer catches up with Montreal based artist and filmmaker Pablo Aravena and asks him about his favorite things.