Portrait taken by the wonderful Haley Varacallo

Wamoo, real name Juan Álvarez, believes there’s no such thing as bad art. Born in the Dominican Republic and based in New York City’s Washington Heights, the well-rounded musician and video artist strives to create universes in which sonic and visual art can coexist. His most popular works include; “Hello,Hello”, “My Cat is Scared of My Timbs”, “Harlem (Whole Foods)”, and “Caracol Caracol.”

The well-rounded artist has dabbled in almost every medium. At eight years old, Wamoo was obsessed with playing Rock Band, fueling his love of discovering new music, until he started making his own. He was 15 years old when he saw a family friend making reggaeton beats on Fruity Loops. Curious, he learned a few tricks, took a cracked version of the software home, and started experimenting.

Inspired by J Dilla’s sample-based productions, taking something old and rebuilding something entirely new would become a major part of Wamoo’s craftsmanship. In 2012, he released his debut album, We Float. Being in the peak of the Blog Era, the producer began emailing blogs relentlessly. Serendipitously, a publicist got a hold of the record, asking for music videos, catapulting his commencement in visual art. After experimenting with various ocular arts, he was inspired by the eccentricities of experimental visual artists Pipilotti Rist and Vince Collins, prompting his next release, Zebra, to be paired with a visual album.

Similarly to his audio work, Wamoo uses clippings in his music videos, boasting a collage-like approach to everything he does. Tranquilo, his latest audio and visual album, draws from his childhood experiences with video games. It has been displayed in New York City’s Brooklyn Museum and Lightbox as well as the Magic Box @ The Reef in Los Angeles. Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora and Apricity Magazine have also featured Wamoo’s works.

Creating with a holistic mindset comes naturally to Wamoo. His sonic and visual perceptions are made to be displayed in both museums and music spaces, creating an enveloping experience for everyone who comes across it. “I want to make people feel like they’re a part of the art,” he says.

For commissions, contract work, collaborations, media inquiries, etc., please mail juan@thisiswamoo.com