We’re back another month with one of our favourite and most visited articles: artist’s cultural recommendations. We move to the tropical rhythms of Space Surimi brought to us by artist Mario Mankey, we immerse ourselves in classic lectures such as “The Flower of Evil” or “Divine Comedy” that inspire Lula Goce’s work, we revisit cartoon classics such as Pokemon and Naruto, key to the work of the Serbian twins Sobekcis and we discover the colorful tapestry work of artist Christina Forrer thanks to ceramist Lusesita. Don’t miss out and check our October recommendations.
Mario Mankey’s name (Sagunto, Valencia, 1985) summarizes the latent contradiction between the person and the primate, one of the main lines of his work that also addresses the concept of the Anthropocene itself accelerated by the patriarchal world we live in. Established in Berlin since 2013, the Valencian artist comes from the old school graffiti scene and today Mankey focuses on his studio and mural artwork, capturing that clear heritage along with influences coming from manga, American comics and the ‘ligne clair’ school. Pink color is one of his footprints, and through it he represents frivolity, which under his prism summarizes the bulk of society today. A work that moves between desire and reality, and although sometimes disconcerting, it only seeks to capture the insights of what happens inside his world. On November 20th you will be able to see his work at his next solo exhibition opening at Swinton Gallery in Madrid.
«My cinematic recommendation would be, “Snowpiercer” by Bong Joon-ho. I saw it quite a while ago, but that was at the peak of my neurosis with climate change and human dysfunction. It was a real supermatch. Despite the seriousness and rawness of the concept, it was quite reassuring. You can see behaviors in extreme situations, perfectly extrapolated to larger scenarios. This sociological background often reaffirms and extends conclusions that I later convey in the works. “The Square” is a movie I also liked very much.
As for the musical menu, my cat and I listen to pretty much everything, but for the last few painting sessions I’m listening a lot to Space Surimi, with its retro-savory rhythms soaked in dirty realism and a hesitant touch of southern humor. I also like Run the Jewels, and to cut down with all of the above I listen to Novedades Carminha and Extremoduro. In short, any music that inspires me and makes me dance works for me.
A visual inspiration is the video artist Chris Cunningham, he has always been a great reference to me and I would love to be part of audiovisual projects with a high degree of experimentation at some point.
To wrap it up, I would like to highlight a short text that I read in a fanzine called “Street art as a tanatopractor of the world” that relates the obsolescence of the inertia we carry, its imbalance with the environment and the role of Street Art engulfed by the establishment as another element that helps to make up the situation».
The mural works of this Galician artist have gone around the world. USA, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland… and half of Spain surrendered to Lula Goce’s photorealistic works (Baiona, Galicia, 1976). Without a grid or a projector in most cases, Lula sketches her large scale paintings by eye and and both the place where it is located and the people who inhabit the territory form part of the final result. She studied Fine Arts in Salamanca, but it was Barcelona, where she studied her postgraduates, the city that welcomed her with its vibrant graffiti and street art scene, and where Goce was able to join local crews and collectives that painted in hangars and abandoned spaces. There she developed her skills intensely, those that today she carries out from her studio in her Galician hometown, on canvas and drawings, always characterized by the use of black and white combined with reds and brighter colors.
«One of the authors who has marked my way of feeling has been Baudelaire. I read him in a convulsive moment of my life when I was living and studying Fine Arts in Barcelona. Especially the book “The Flowers of Evil”, where the tragic vision of these lives that grow and live without hope, on the fringes of political correctness moves me deeply. The other author, who I read years ago and who touched me is Herman Hesse. “Steppenwolf” is wild, the tragic end that is intuited from the beginning and the heavy, oppressive atmospheres catches and surrounds you like a thick fog. “Metamorphosis” is also brutal and heartbreaking. As super classics I recommend “Divine Comedy” by Dante, with all the imagination of hell that inspires me in my works, and “The Odyssey” by Homer seems brutal to me.
I like to put on series while I’m in the workshop with lighter work such as doing backgrounds or preparing canvases. “Jessica Jones” by Marvel is great. The main character has a brutal power, it’s overwhelming, and at the same time she is a disaster on a personal level, it goes beyond the usual representation of a superhero, or even better, superheroine. Also “Fariña” because it touches me closely when telling a story that I lived in Galicia during my childhood and adolescence in the 80s and 90s. It’s like entering a time capsule and reliving again what was happening here, with all the ups and downs. Auteur films I was amazed by was “Solaris” by Andréi Tarkovski, and “Caravaggio” by Derek Jarman, this one is a masterpiece.
I am amazed by the European painting of the Baroque and the Renaissance. Goya inspires me a lot. A visit to the Prado Museum, the Louvre and the Tate Gallery is a must. I also found New York’s Moma brutal. I like contemporary artists such as Annette Messager, Cindy Sherman or Louise Bourgeois. Besides being decisive in the history of art today, they are part of an art made by women that have opened the doors for others to be more active in the art world, painting some massive murals nowadays, changing the vision of the female artist and her role in history. As references within the Street Art I love by the work of Paola Delfin, Conor Harrington, Daphne Tree, Manolo Mesa or the duo Etam Crew.
When I paint outside of Spain I like to listen to music in Spanish, I think I do it to feel closer to home. I listen to Rosalía, Concha Buika or Bebo y Cigala’s ‘Lágrimas Negras’. When I paint murals Björk, Massive Attack or Boards of Canada never misses! They are my favorite musicians, it helps me to get away from the traffic, the people around me, so I can focus on the wall».
Ivan and Nikola Gajić (Belgrade, 1991) are Sobek and Kcis, Serbian twin brothers coming straight from a fresh and daring graffiti scene now boiling in Eastern Europe. They grew up living in this underground current and moving between the most traditional art and graffiti until they found their own language to identify themselves. Cartoons are their main source of inspiration and they understand graffiti as part of a current in which they find a unique and genuine style that comes from letters. Between the two of them they have achieved a perfect synchronization in each of their designs and executions. Where one fails, the other covers for him. They seek to nurture and highlight each other’s individuality but Sobekcis works as one, with a balanced visual style and a shot of colorful abstract forms.
«Lately we’ve been listening to a lot of the stuff coming from Griselda Records. Artists like Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, Benny The Butcher and Boldy James. Most of their music is produced by Daringer but also some are in collaboration with The Alchemist. It’s a nice breath of fresh air for Rap bringing back the flavor from the past, a very similar vibe of what the hip hop duo Mobb Deep was doing in the 80s.
We recently went back to our childhood and revisited some classics like Pokemon and Naruto, very inspirational cartoons concerning color schemes and illustration. Also we would recommend BBC documentaries like both the Blue Planet and the Planet Earth series. Very good shows about the natural world that surrounds us.
We love the Nine Club podcast about skateboarding and everything that has to do with it. Also Mike Tyson has a crazy podcast where he has guest and talks to them about his insane life, while blazing joint after joint.
We have a nice collection of art books. One of the best we have is definitely “Frank Stella Retrospective”. We would also recommend books with the works by Neo Rauch, Henri Matisse and MC Escher.
Other artist we would recommend for you to check out if you haven’t already is the very talented studio and mural French artist Zoer. Sensi is a young local Belgrade graffiti artist with a very good work in illustration and animation. Also from Belgrade Timor Super is an amazing artist and one of the best tattoo artist in Serbia. Other of our favorites is Smithe from Mexico super talented, he is a 360, he can do anything and Sainer does incredible landscapes. Many more artists are crossing our mind like Aryz, Vunik, Erosie, Momo, Hense, Dulait, Roids, Velvet…
This has certainly been one of the weirdest years of our life so far, we hope things can balance out soon. This is a wake-up call for Humanity to rethink its steps, too many awful things have happened and things will have to change».
Laura Lasheras (Calahorra, La Rioja, 1979) is Lusesita, and has found the language that best suits her expressive needs in ceramics. Through it, she communicates pure feeling, personal experiences and memories of the past and developed a kind of art that connects with her most primitive side through naive figures, erotic scenes or creepy characters that come out of her imagination and that she sometimes combines with textiles, always on a pastel range scheme. A raw and experimental art with which she plays, has fun and finds herself free of prejudices. Lusesita gives weekly workshops and monographic courses on ceramics from her Taller de Lusesita in Barcelona.
«I just finished Woody Allen’s autobiography: “About Nothing”. I loved it, it is a book that I recommend to fans (as is my case) and also to haters. I usually enjoy reading biographies, I especially remember Thomas Page McBee’s “A Real Man”, Coco Chanel’s, Billie Holliday’s or the one of Marie Antoinette by Stefan Zweig. I find it very inspiring to get to know the life of people I find so interesting. Now I’m starting to read “Zen in the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury, which from what I’ve been told is a gem, and reading it is an eye-opening experience. Let’s see!
I’ve been sharing my workshop with my partner, artist Sergio Mora, for 10 years now. We are quite eclectic, and depending on the day, hour or moment, in the studio we listen to very varied music, which can go from Chet Baker to Lila Downs, Iggy Pop, Julio Iglesias, Billie Eilish or Richard Halley.
During the confinement I was lucky enough to discover the series “The Durrells” and it was a way of coping with those days. I would be transported with the characters to the island of Corfu in the 1930’s and forget about everything. It is based on Gerald Durrell’s book: “My Family and Other Animals”. I have also enjoyed watching series like “Weeds”, “The Peaky Blinders”, “Mozart in The Jungle”, “Girls” or “I Love Dick”. One documentary that deeply impressed me was “Kom Tiki”, which is about an expedition of six Norwegian anthropologists who in 1947 crossed the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia on a rudimentary wooden raft. The last films I have seen in the cinema and liked is “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” with Tom Hanks. It’s very special and inspiring.
I recently discovered the work of the American artist Robyn O’Neil. Her drawings convey a lot of strength and delicacy at the same time. They are a real wonder and on a trip to NY I happened to see an exhibition by Christina Forrer, who works on tapestries in a very free, colorful and fun way».