Thomas “Breeze” Marcus was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona on the Salt River Pima- Maricopa Reservation, just east of Scottsdale. At the tender age of 13, Breeze was introduced to graffiti and began painting graffiti in and around the city of Phoenix since 1993, which he has …
Thomas “Breeze” Marcus was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona on the Salt River Pima- Maricopa Reservation, just east of Scottsdale. At the tender age of 13, Breeze was introduced to graffiti and began painting graffiti in and around the city of Phoenix since 1993, which he has continued variously on and off for the next two decades. However, in that time, Breeze has also dedicated his artistic efforts to painting publicly sanctioned murals and creating innovative artworks. Of particular note, Breeze is especially dedicated to the youth of his community. Through after-school programs and grants, Breeze has regularly garnered the attention and the participation of elementary and high-school age students, in creating and collaborating on public and private mural projects. Breeze has maintained the same goal for three decades now, which is to transform the outdoor aesthetics of his own community and beyond.
In an overarching sense, Breeze’s designs are reminiscent of his Akimel and Tohono O’odham cultural heritage—these Native Southwestern tribes are historically known for creating beautifully coil-woven baskets that feature interlocking geometric designs. Stylistically, Breeze’s artwork is composed of free-hand, tight line work that is organic and intricately interwoven. This bold graphic layout is usually coupled with bright, deeply saturated colors; bright red, pink, blue, and yellow hues are the ground upon which black and white lines undulate and crisscross. Working primarily in aerosol, acrylic, and pen/ink, Breeze is equally adept at applying his design work to large, outdoor walls for murals, as well as, to small works on paper or 12” vinyl records. Regardless of placement or size, Breeze is a master at expanding and contracting his unique patterns to create unique and innovative artwork each time. Breeze blends historic traditions with updated, contemporary materials in order to create modern and “street-wise” aesthetics; he is capable of bridging “the old” with “the new” in synchronous fashion. But most importantly, with his artwork Breeze is able to clearly speak to the youth in his community, while also making connections to his elders. The metaphor of a basket serves Breeze well--in weaving, the beginning and the end merge into one complete and balanced whole.