I spent the month of September touring around Europe with my art, being part of diverse environments, culturally and socially, meeting many people who I strongly believe will one day find their way into my canvases.
I began my tour in Malmo, Sweden with a solo show at Lohme Galleri, a gallery which has believed in my work for a few years now and has always been eager to innovate ways of getting art to the world. Besides the super successful opening night, at which of course I did some live painting, we also recorded an online course. A very interesting project, I was happy to be part of and look forward to sharing when it is ready. I was humbled by all the people who came out to the show and even had someone say to me “ I was just walking by when I saw your name and was so excited because I follow you on instagram and love your work”.
I have used social media, especially Instagram to share my work with the world and have continuously found it to be a powerful tool to connecting with people, not just buyers or galleries but people who love art, who love to talk about art, people who appreciate the role art plays in our life. In each place that I would go to, I would use specific hashtags and in response would get people contacting me, learning more about what I do and my art and at time even having a chance to meet some of them. I think one of the greatest joys for an artist is to meet face to face the people who enjoy his / her works.
Following Sweden, I went to France where I had the honor of a duo show at Cox Gallery, a beautiful large scale gallery situated in a charming part of Bordeaux. I got to stay in a home arranged for me by the Director of the Gallery, a home where many artists have stayed and meet many wonderful people. The opening night of the show seen one of my biggest ever turn outs to an opening event. It left me with nothing but a feeling of gratitude and the fact that I got to do it together with two Spanish artists working for years in sculpture was an honor. This whole trip I got to meet many artists who have been dedicated years and years of their life to their craft and this allowed me to feel like a student, one who can learn from the masters who have gone ahead of him and keep that passion for my own craft burning even more and more. I stayed in Bordeaux for a week before painting 5 large scale pieces for the sure and being part of the process of the show coming to life in the newly renovated gallery which was doing its final touches while I was painting.
A couple of years ago, I was invited to spend some days at an artist residency Chateau d’Orquevaux in the French country side. At that time I was not able to go, so I decided to take an opportunity after my show in France to go for a few days. Little did I know this place would leave such a big impact on me. The Chateau is located a few hours from the German border and in World War 2, it was occupied by the Germans (which I did not know before I went). German soldiers used it as a training camp. The energy in the place, even after all these years could still be felt and seen, by the original markings some of the soldiers left on the walls. It took me a while to process this energy, which I did the best way I know how to, through my art. I spent a few days letting all that I was hearing and seeing come through my drawings and in the process created a beginning of a new drawing series. The commitment of the director of the Chateau to keep this place as a gathering place for artists for so many years and to take history and transform it through the power of art was what I would sum up as one of the biggest impressions of my trip, the value that people place on art and the need that art plays in our lives, our cultures, our stories. Things that as an artist you inherently know but when you see it come to life in the way people appreciate and create those spaces, in all the people that I met over the month who deeply valued and appreciated my work, and in all the artists that I met who have been doing this work for decades. The director invited me to create a live painting event at the Chateau and talk more about my work, creating two large scale pieces. (one of which I donated to the Chateau)
My last stop was in Moscow, Russia for an art fair called Art Life. It was an extremely well organized Art Fair which showed the greatest respect to the artists I have yet seen at fairs, not only taking care of all of the expenses but creating platforms for artists to showcase their work, connect with audiences and each other and talk about their experiences. I was invited to do a lecture on my work and life and it ended up being one of the most filled lectures. It was my first time doing a lecture and even though I was nervous, the energy of the crowd was amazing. Over the few days, I got to meet so many wonderful artists, young and old from all around the world, India, Brazil, Portugal, Russia, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey, Poland, China and Singapore. I got to meet artists who were starting out and see myself in relation to them, learning to honor my own experience and expertise and artists who have been at this for decades, learning to still always be a student. There is such wonderful energy that is created when artists from all walks of life come together.
In the end I spent a total of 27 hours flying between 7 different plane, about 20 hours waiting at terminals, 6 hours on two different trains, stays at 3 hostals, 3 hotels and 2 rooms, passing through 5 countries and 7 cities in Europe not counting all the hours of long days painting, filming and drawing. I managed to take some quick shots and visits of the must see places, (especially for the first time being in these countries and make a quick stop to Spain to visit a dear friend and see my favourite soccer team play). It was a highly rewarding, inspiring and at times very tiring trip. I am grateful for the connections I have made and to be able to share it with all the people who support my work. I look forward to seeing how the impressions of this trip will start to weave into my paintings and artistic projects. To see some videos of the live painting at the solo shows go here.