Azer Mammadli, who goes by Azy, is a self-taught muralist, illustrator and graffiti artist. Despite earning a history degree at university, his childhood interest in visual art developed into a profession that has brought him recognition in Baku and the Caucasus. As a child he excelled at art, began to develop his own style and aesthetic at a young age. As he matured, he taught himself new techniques and started to work in the graffiti style in 2009. At the beginning, he experimented with graffiti on paper and worked on his lettering technique before painting the walls in his neighborhood. He continued to explore mural composition and refined craft with inspiration from techniques of other artists that he saw online. He has participated in a number of festivals and his work has been commissioned by private businesses, cafes and public art projects around Baku and Azerbaijan, including the 2nd Baku Graffiti Festival (2013), the 2015 Park Bulvar Graffiti Festival, the 2016 and 2017 Shahdag Festivals, and the prestigious Fabrikaffiti festival in Tbilisi, Georgia (2017 and 2018), where his work is visible on the exterior of the famous Fabrika hotel and cultural district. In addition to these festivals, his work has been included in the Red Monday exhibition (2014), and the 404 Found Exhibition and his solo show ‘Azareal,’ both in 2015; he has also shown his illustrations at Natavan Gallery in Baku. He is currently working on organizing an upcoming solo exhibition.
Known for his humanistic and dreamlike visual style, Azer’s murals are immediately recognizable for their layered emotion dimensions. He often depicts people who have mystical qualities, shown through their third or multiple eyes, all which have a spiritual significance. He is fascinated by the way in which humans interact on an energetic level – many of the characters that he creates have holes in their hands, which is a metaphor for the passage of energy from one person to another to represent their emotional connection. His characters are also shown wearing animal masks, which suggests their inner narratives, hopes and dreams – lives which one can only imagine exist beyond the surface. He creates scenes from the lives of these characters, giving depth and meaning to their experience. While some of the images may seem esoteric, Azer is deeply inspired by unique faces and features. He is fascinated by what people do not reveal to the public, and what they keep hidden inside for themselves. His work is anthropological – through his graphic style he imagines the different layers that create a life, and conveys this through his atmospheric and sensorial drawings. His color palette and media also add vibrancy to his work. He favors muted pastel tones, and solid colors, rendering his portraits with graphic sensibility using acrylics, spray paint and ink. Azer’s upcoming exhibition will showcase his recent works as an artist, an evolution of his unique personal style celebrating the complexity of humanity.