GarGar Festival

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Spain to paint in the second edition of GarGar Festival. It was located in Penelles, Cataluña, a small village about an hour north of Barcelona. The festival aims to bring urban art, murals, and installations into a very rural setting, thus transforming the village and creating a focal point for local tourism. I was one of about twenty artists/teams participating this year. There were also bands, workshops, food trucks, and craft beer. I met some incredible people during my stay and had a blast! I can't wait to return to Spain.

The theme of this year's edition was El Mundo Rural (The Rural World). For my piece, I chose to focus specifically on the theme of Spanish agriculture, and worked with an image that I had taken during my last visit to Spain for a residency at La Postiza in 2015.

Quick Mural in Shoreditch

After wrapping up my artist residency in Murcia, we headed to Valencia and Barcelona for a bit of sightseeing and relaxation. We then headed to London to visit some friends, where I managed to hook up with the guys from Global Street Art and paint a quick piece in Shoreditch. It was great to paint on a busy street and get people's instant reactions, in contrast to painting alone in hot, rural Spain. If you're in London you can find this piece along the hoarding walls on Great Eastern Street.

A Summary of Spain

Not too long ago I finished up my time at La Postiza Artist Centre in La Cueva, Spain. I was there for one month doing an artist residency. As I previously wrote about, I started off the month with a main project in mind, involving a series of oil paintings on panels, but soon shifted focus to the opportunity to paint a few site-specific murals. It was challenging working in an environment that is nothing but scorching heat during the day, but in the end it was worth it. Here are some photos of my finished pieces.

Residency in Spain

For those who don't know, I'm currently spending the summer abroad in Europe, and am at the moment in Spain completing a residency at La Postiza Artist Centre for the month of July. While I'm here I have several projects on the go, including paper works, oils on panel, and a large mural. 

The residency house (right) at La Postiza

The residency house (right) at La Postiza

The residency itself is situated in La Cueva, a small village in the countryside just outside of the city of Murcia. The setting is quite unique and offers up a stark contrast between what we're used to in Canada. There is endless sun (along with endless heat), fields of lemon trees, and desert-like landscapes with mountains on the horizon. There isn't much out here near the residency house, aside from one very small grocery store, stray cats, and a gang of pleasant elderly Spanish women who go for daily walks together. But the isolation is conductive to productivity, and although it's impossible to do anything until around 5pm because of the insane heat, it feels like I'm getting a lot done here.

I started out the month slow, adjusting to the heat and resulting concept of Spanish time (I totally understand the importance of siestas now), doing watercolour sketches, gathering source images, and planning some paintings.

My makeshift studio for the month

My makeshift studio for the month

As my main project I planned a small series of oil works on canvas board, using some local subject matter. Alongside these pieces I've also been doing some larger works on paper. Part-way through my stay here however, I shifted my main focus to a large mural project as I was offered a perfect wall across from the residency building. As I'm looking to take more of my work outside and start doing more mural pieces, this project has been a great opportunity for me. It's been incredibly engaging working on such a large scale and using nothing but a roller and a pole.

Mural Progress

Mural Progress

After wrapping up this mural I'd love to see if I can get another, smaller wall done. There is a unique situation here in that because of the Spanish economic crisis in the past few years there are numerous abandoned or incomplete buildings. I've got one week left here so we'll see what I can do! 

I'll post the final results of my mural and other pieces at the end of the month!