By Lisa on May 18, 2015 with Comments 0
Today I have a special post: an interview with an artist in Mallorca. His name is Txema Alvarez and apart from being a talented artist, he is also a good friend of mine. In fact, he is Vice President of our Winter Activities group in Mallorca.
But his talents span much wider than that. And as part of last month’s Destination of the Month: Art in Mallorca, we will be digging a little deeper into Txema’s life and art and learning just how a young artist in Mallorca can balance his vocation with everything else going on…
The Colourblind Painter
And if that isn’t enough, Txema is painting wonderfully vibrant works of art with a serious handicap for any artist: he is colourblind.
Or is that a handicap? Perhaps that is one of the ingredients that makes Txema’s artwork so invigorating. Maybe without his handicap he would not achieve the great results he does with colour. Maybe, instead of being a hindrance it liberates him from the contraints of what those with normal vision perceive to be right or normal. We’ll find out what he thinks during the interview…
Hi Txema, thank you for participating in our ‘Art in Mallorca’ theme of the month at InMyShoesTravel.com. It is an honour to be able to interview a talented local artist. Could you start by giving us a little background about your artwork:
When did you start painting?
I started painting when I was eight years old. My parents took me to an art and painting academy. At first I wasn’t keen but little by little my creativity began to sprout.
How would you describe your style?
Like many painters, my style is very personal. If I have to define it, it’s a sentimental abstract style, full of sensations and emotions. I paint what I feel in the moment.
What inspires you?
My own memories inspire me, the past. Above all my family, friends, small details of my childhood; the moments that are recorded in my memory. I’m also inspired by things that excite or emote me like music, light, finding love, losing love, life, death and everything in between. It all makes me think or reflect.
Tell us a bit about your artwork:
Which is your favourite piece you have painted? Why?
I wouldn’t be able to choose just one. My paintings are too personal for me to have a favourite. Perhaps my paintings Aita, Contradicciones or Todo Está Empezando are among my most intense. They are dedicated to my parents and my brother.
How do you decide what to paint?
I don’t decide. I just do what I need to do when I want to express myself or escape. I have epochs when I can paint every day and yet I can also be months without lifting a brush.
What do you do with your finished pieces?
I study them for a few minutes several times. I need to connect with them and record them in my memory. I need to be able to breathe easy when I observe them, and when I manage to smile, that’s when I realise that I’ve finished painting.
I never start a new piece until I’ve finished the current one. I always leave time for reflection in between paintings. This reflection period can vary from a day to several weeks. Once the painting is dry, I try to hang it in my house so I can observe it for some time. Depending on the piece, I write an explanation or sentiment on my blog, but not always. I have paintings that I have never exhibited or shared on my blog because I prefer to keep them to myself. Maybe one day I’ll surprise you with them! Unfortunately my house is too full with my paintings and I have to take them down to make space to hang the new ones.
How does your colourblindness affect your work? Does it impede your ability to express?
I discovered I was colourblind when I was ten years old at the art academy. This did not prevent me from going ahead and using paint, because colours are important for a creative person. But my paintings contain more deep feelings than those that a colour could ever give.
What I mean is that I don’t choose certain colours because I like them more or less than others; I use these colours because they are the ones that I need to see on the painting at that moment. And perhaps this is why my paintings often feature bold and lively colours.
How does painting fit in with other parts of your life?
You also have a full time job. When do you find time to paint?
As I said before, I paint when I need to. It could be a Monday afternoon or a Sunday morning. I always find a moment during the week. Instead of going to the theatre or going shopping, this is the time I dedicate to painting.
Sometimes I have to hang on, because I’m not always in the ideal place to paint. Travel inspires me a lot, and if I’m away, there’s no other option than to wait until I get back home.
Where do you paint?
I don’t have a specific location in which to paint as my house is not very big. That’s why I have to use the balcony that faces the street or the laundry room, which is pretty small and limits me a lot.
How does your art affect your relationships with friends/family/partner? Do the people close to you share your passion?
The people around me share my passion, and many are the protagonists of my paintings. But I don’t paint for their pleasure, I paint for the need of expressing with colour what I feel for them, as in Bitzitza or Apagando Aperturas.
You are originally from Basque Country. Did you paint when you lived there?
Yes, it all started there, in a small classroom at the painting academy. First I would draw on paper and as I grew up I began to try new techniques such as painting and wood engraving.
How long have you lived in Mallorca?
Since June 2007.
Do you paint more in Mallorca?
Yes because it was here in Mallorca that I reached my personal maturity.
How does the island inspire what you do?
The light and the sun are an important source of inspiration for me as I like to see how the shadows grow or the reflections that the sea makes.
We know you have had some recognition for your paintings:
Can you tell us about the exhibitions that you have done in Mallorca?
I’ve done several exhibitions in Mallorca. Each one has meant something different to me. The first was energy. Seeing my paintings on exhibition for the first time filled me with pride and the strength to continue painting. And my third one, when many people were there to see my artwork. It was an exhibition of colour, and my paintings filled the room with life and colour.
Tell us about your very first exhibition?
My first exhibition was in Mallorca, in the cafe-cake shop Miss Fleur in Palma. Thanks to Rodri and Mira, the managers, I was able to exhibit pieces that I had painted during my first years in Palma. It was in January 2014. I called the exhibition #COLOREARTE (hashtag included) and in the title of every painting was a QR code which linked to the corresponding post on my blog. This idea stemmed from my wanting to demonstrate how you can use a hashtag with art, showing that technology is perfectly compatible with art. This way the people viewing the painting had direct access to the post on the blog.
In order to thank all those that came for their support, there was hot chocolate and cake for everyone. At the end of the exhibition, twenty days later, some 120 people had scanned the QR codes. I felt very satisfied and happy.
And how about the people that have bought your paintings?
As far as I know they are all very happy. But I tend to give more paintings than sell them. But that’s not important to me at all. If I paint it’s for pure pleasure, not to make money. If I never sold another painting, my life would be exactly the same.
Do you have any projects planned for the near future?
Right now I’m in the process of emotional recycling and I have not painted for a few months. But a few projects for exhibiting have come up and I’ve started to collaborate in a blog about various subjects, and who knows, maybe I’ll be able to write there about my art.
Who is your biggest fan?
It’s difficult to answer that question. Maybe he or she can come forward and say so!
Art for your own leisure:
When you need inspiration, where do you go? Or what do you do?
Inspiration can hit at any time or any place. There’s not a specific location.
Do you have a favourite gallery or space for art in Mallorca? Where?
No, I like to lose myself, with my best friend, Asun, through the streets of Palma and go off finding small spaces of art, enter and enjoy what the artist is exhibiting.
Do you have a favourite piece of artwork currently on display in Mallorca? Which?
Although I’m not a sculptor, there is a sculpture that I love since I learnt its history: Las Sombras del Sonido on the Born Boulevard in Palma. But those who wish to know why it is there must go and see it. That way it’s more exciting.
Who is your favourite artist in Mallorca?
I like the street-art of Soma and of Joan Aguiló.
Would you compare your own artwork with that of any other artist?
I would never dare compare myself to another artist.
What can you recommend our readers?
If you were to take a small group of people to discover art in Mallorca, where would you take them?
I’d take them through the streets in the centre of Palma. There I’d show them some splendid graffiti and small galleries full of talent.
The man behind the artist:
What else do you like to do with your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
I like to go out and enjoy Mallorca. In winter I do many things with the Winter Activities group, like visiting small businesses that make Mallorcan products or going up Mallorca’s highest mountains. The summit of a mountain is very inspiring.
Where do you go to have a good time?
I like very much the area of Portixol for the chilled atmosphere it has. Also Palma city centre for an alternative or boisterous ambience.
Can you please tell us about your blog El Color de Mi Mente?
I started my blog for the need to share with people what I feel when I paint and to show my earlier paintings. Each post is about a painting. I take a photo of the painting and accompany it with an explanation of what I aim to transmit or what I need to explain, sometimes in prose, others with poetry and some with a story…
About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....