"I paint with spelling mistakes"

Paint flowers.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
24 May 2023 Wednesday 23:04
4 Reads
"I paint with spelling mistakes"

Paint flowers.

I was encouraged by the Japanese Jo Watanabe, a master silk-screen artist.

How did you encourage him?

With terminal cancer, he told me this: “A 12-year-old boy drew a bouquet of flowers, gave it to me... and I rejected it. Many years have passed since then, but I haven't forgotten it... and it weighs on me".

And what did you have to do with it?

Watanabe saw that boy in me... and asked me for flowers, lots of flowers.

And you granted them.

I hesitated...but I painted flowers and more flowers, hundreds of flowers! And I no longer saw flowers.

What did he see?

Three-dimensional death, political flowers, invasive flowers, without classes, ideologies or religions; everything that emerged from inside me: art goes from the inside out.

What did Watanabe say about his flowers?

He screen-printed them, marveling: I was his child with wonder. And together we have exhibited them all over the world.

You also paint mosquitoes.

The mosquito, which is so small, wakes you up, breaks your sleep, alters your mood and your stability, it is a powerful parasite.

You either kill him or he tortures you.

But he contemplates the world, as I do. And he is between the earth and the sky, like me.

Like everyone else.

Me, between the bottom of the water and the surface. I come from the storm, the deluge, the flood.

what flood

The Vallès storm and floods of September 25, 1962: Llobregat and Besòs overflowed and swept away huts, and a thousand people drowned.

I was 2 years old, I must have heard about it.

My parents disappeared that day. And I was saved from the waters. I was raised by a marriage, Santiago and Mercè, my parents.

Have you heard anything about your biological parents?

Not even their names. And recently, when my mother died, she left me an envelope with a document bearing my name at birth: it was Fermí.

Do you have any memories of the flood?

No. He was only a year and a half old. But I often dream of dark rooms...

What kind of boy was he?

With a feeling of emptiness, loss, intimate loneliness. I spend my days alone: ​​I paint in the studio from sun to sun. Without art, it would be finished.

What is art, for you?

Lose the concept of time.

What was your childhood like?

I won the lottery with my parents, who took me to the Costa i Llobera school, where they respected my impulses.

What drives?

I would get up from the desk and leave the classroom for a walk. Then he came back. In another school I would have been expelled. I never examined myself.

They didn't do exams, or what?

Yes, but when it was time for the history exam, they told me to "draw it". They knew he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In the exams, I was asked to paint a mural.

He knew how to draw.

Yes. I paint with spelling mistakes, I always say it... "You have a gift: use it!", my father used to say. And he convinced me that I could be Picasso or whatever I wanted.

Good luck!

The father, a student of theology, always pointed out and enhanced my gift. More than talent, I like to call it gift: it implies humility, it implies a God who gives.

And you took advantage of that gift, just as your father encouraged you.

I have learned one thing: there is a hidden order in nature, and when I am drawing or painting, that hidden order emerges. I do not impose anything! I think that painting well is this: managing not to impose on nature.

Flowers, mosquitoes...

And monkeys, turtles, hares, donkeys. The donkey is wise! I see a donkey next to a wall in Menorca... and I see a wise man there.

Have you painted many donkeys?

I have painted donkeys' asses: two legs, ass, loin loaded up to the ears. On a smooth background. They are always self-portraits!

Are their donkeys self-portraits?

That's how I feel, I feel like a loaded donkey. And the history of European painting... is a succession of horse asses.

This is unorthodox…

My agent and friend Paul Kasmin was puzzled when he saw it, but he encouraged me: “Be rare, Santi, never stop being rare!”.

Give advice to a young artist.

You are wrong!!!

What was the best compliment?

A couple told me: "We were going to separate, and after seeing the exhibition we fell in love again". At Espais Volart.

Well done! What artistic dream do you have now?

Today I enjoy painting more than ever, I don't have to prove anything. I explore: I'm lost. It is essential to be lost!