Maceo Villareal

In an art world that’s become unhealthily obsessed with discovering "the next big thing," hungry gallerists outnumber the doting mothers at these shows. So how young is too young? Don’t ask us. Our hot young talent, Maceo Villareal, has only been on the earth for a decade. Son of fellow slipmat contributor Gerry Villareal, Maceo’s work proudly adorns the wall of his principal’s office in Brooklyn. A natural illustrator, his mats demonstrate an advanced gift for developing innovative characters: “Toast is a character I created one day in class and has evolved over time. A lot of people that see him end up liking him.The red guy really has no name, so I guess I’ll call him Muji.”

He likes the Beastie Boys, has a pair of Technics 1200s in his bedroom, he snowboards, has his own website “www.maceoforce.com,” plays violin…he even lists “inventor” as a potential future occupation. With the kind of taste and talent we desperately wish we’d been down enough to have in preadolescence, it was only a matter of time before he made it into the public eye. But if anyone asks, we saw him first.