The first time I heard about Ernesto Maranje was while covering the Leah Art District street art initiative. His mural stood next to Miami's finest and looked like it comfortably belonged among them. A little bit of small talk gave me some of the basics. Born and raised in Miami. Cuban parents. And a typical childhood. But as his mural kept on appearing all around town, I felt the need to ask a few more questions and satisfy my curiosity about all things street art.
You have entered the Street Art world recently, how did your first mural come about? I heard something about Nicole Salgar helping you with that.
I began drawing and painting after being discharged from coast guard in 2011, i started at the Art Institute Downtown Miami using my GI Bill in 2011, Then in 2014 art Basel i painted my first mural in a garage in Little Havana by a random invitation, then it turned out that was Nicole's project with Centre Fuge, and she liked my work then hooked it up with different walls and opportunities for me. Kept working since then.
You use a lot of colors and you are always making creatures that sometimes I wish were real. Where does the inspiration come from? I’ve noticed you paint many kinds of birds.
I like to be extremely experimental with color, i have no standard color pallet and most of the time i choose my colors wile i am painting. Then it just becomes kind of a game between me and the image i am attempting to puzzle together. I enjoy puzzling together different creatures as well, sometimes in their environments. I try and place images together in a very intuitive scene. Sometimes with random shapes and values then i try to find a link or relationship within the images. Then somehow they begin to make scene to me and i go from there. My inspiration literally comes from everywhere, (people, animals, texture, situations, documentary's, other artists, etc.. ) It all gets mixed together. The birds have pretty much been my main source of inspiration this past year. I enjoy studying their rituals and observing their behaviors. They have fantastic colors and a cool history, Very mystical.
What are some of the current projects you are working on? I remember you mentioned something about Miami Dade College and the City of Miami.
MDC selected 3 artists, myself being one, and you also know Frank Cruz. We basically are serving them as art ambassadors for the college, we are having one artwork displayed on the back of some buses, on some bus stops, and some billboards, then we are having a group show at the MDC Hialeah Campus art gallery in January 2016.
How about in the near future?
As of now future projects are mainly my first solo show called Grand Terrarium at WYN317 working on currently, Nov 7 is the opening. I am also painting a mural for Downtown Hollywood Mural Projects, at the end of November 2015.