We immerse ourselves in the graphic novel “Herstory” and a few ecofeminist essays with Julieta XLF, we discover a couple of worth investigating Youtube channels with the Madrid-born Gviiie, the Italian Moneyless reveals his must-see films and with Emily Eldridge we tune into the musical beats of one of her latest radio discoveries. Let us introduce you into the work of these four international artists while you soak up their most personal cultural universe. This and much more in our monthly recommendations, because blanket and couch days are around the corner…
Girls and animals full of energy and powerful messages. The care of nature and preservation of the planet we live on or the growth and balance of life expressed through characters that seem to come from fairy tales. The delicacy of Julieta xlf’s designs coexists with the rawness of the walls she faces, and the colors and shapes that come out of nature become her greatest source of inspiration. Julieta xlf (Valencia, 1982), has a long ride into graffiti, when at 16 she began doing her first drawings on the streets, influenced by the members of what would become the XLF crew (Por La Face), one of the most important crews in Valencia during the first decade of the 2000’s with Escif, Deih, Xelon and herself, among other artists. Very active in the streets, Julieta combines her mural work around the world with her studio work that she has exhibited in art spaces such as Vertical Gallery in Chicago or the Centre del Carme in Valencia. It will be difficult for you to go through the center of Valencia without spotting more than one of her very recognizable dolls.
I’m a very impulsive person, and it happens that there are things that I feel deeply worry me and things that I feel very unfair and sometimes I lack arguments to communicate them. The books that I propose are books that have helped me to open my mind and look at other realities, to re-read, rethink and reinterpretate our history. “Claves ecofeministas” by Alicia H. Puleo, for rebels who love the earth and animals, “Wishes for Change… or Change of Wishes?” by Margarita Pissano Tiziano Terzani’s “Letters Against the War” and the graphic novel “Herstory” by Maria Bastarós and Nacho Segarra illustrated by Cristina Daura. Another book that marked me and changed my way of understanding the moment in which we live is “The Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Debord. Except for “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, they are all essays, I hardly read novels.
One of the last documentaries I’ve seen and recommend is “My Octopus Teacher” (so beautiful!!) and the recent documentary by director Paula Palacios, “Cartas Mojadas”, about the mission of Open Arms and the drama of migration in Europe, very hard. Also documentaries like “Baraka” and “Oceans” inspire and move me at the same time. The Japanese animation studio Ghilbi made me see with its films that imagination has no limits and that we are capable of creating infinite universes closer to reality than we think.
I hardly ever watch series and although I have recently started to watch “MOVE”, a documentary series about dancers and choreographers, I haven’t been able to see further than the first episode… I am more of a live consumer of dance and performing arts. Some of the dance and performing arts pieces that have really moved me at a creative and emotional level in recent years are “Mulïer” by the Valencian company Maduixa, where five dancers on stilts pay homage to all women who permanently fight to keep their wild selves alive through dance, emotions and visual poetry, “All Ways” by Sharon Fridman, who through dance contact builds bridges with the citizen and the viewer and “Eh Man Eh” the mechanics of the Soul of the Catalan physical theater company Zero in Conduct.
Musically I listen to almost everything. I love reggae, tropical rhythms, experimental music, rap, flamenco and jazz… everything fused together. From Horace Andy to Rosalia, Keny Arcana or Tash Sultana, Chapelier Fou, Calle 13, Fat Freddy Drop, Dire Straits and Jorge Pardo. My latest discoveries are Kiamya and Holly Cook.
For years Gviiie or Guille (Madrid, 1989) has been drawing on whatever surface he finds. Paper, tables or walls. His beginning in graffiti was during his teenage years, combining it with Graphic Design studies in Madrid’s Escuela de Arte 10 and Cinema Studies in the University of Arts London. Back in Madrid he reconciles with drawing through vignettes that he publishes on his social media and in the satirical magazine Mongolia. At the same time, in 2016, he presents his animated short film ‘Abayomi’, which is pre-selected for the Goya Awards. Little by little, he starts going back to painting walls and begins to develop his characteristic neo-rupestrian style, which has undergone a remarkable evolution in recent years due to the different lines of study he has developed. In 2018 he presents his first individual exhibition in La Causa Galería, with whom he will repeat a year later, also solo and with a studio work that keeps moving in between styles as he evolves and opens new horizons without abandoning the illegal graffiti work in abandoned places. In 2019 he starts participating in a few urban art festivals in Europe and a few months ago he moved to Bilbao from where he develops his new body of work based on oil and mixed technique.
It’s been a while since I lost faith in the word and now I just watch images or Youtube. Someone gave me recently the graphic novel “The Hard Tomorrow” by Eleanor Davis. If you don’t know her, you have to go to your closest bookstore and get everything from her, because everything she does is beautiful and the best thing is that she does it in a way that seems to make no difference to her. Also it came to me an old book by artist Justin Mortimer, you know geniuses don’t age. If Instagram works better for you, he recently published a short film on his profile explaining his latest exhibition by Frederika Dalwood. It’s a gem.
I also recently came across a book in the library called ” The Group Portraiture of Holland” by Alois Riegl, which is about just that and which of course I haven’t even opened, but whose existence as a 500-page object already seems like a fantasy to me. All that energy is concentrated there. Jumanji.
The latest series of videos I’m watching is “I shouldn’t be alive” and “Lost paradise” from the Youtube channel WONDER, which I suppose respond to some kind of undiagnosed “prepper” neurosis. In that line I also burned the urbex channel of SHIEY, “Illegal freedom”. With that you have enough to change your sleep cycle for a couple of months.
With music is where my mental logarithm loses all sense. So Moderat to work, and when I need a little extra punch I play Jarfaiter or Pop Smoke while I dance some drill steps by myself in the studio. Moha LaSquale or these kids called Gips that the artist Íñigo Sesma recommended me are good support too. From time to time I play some Cuban son to top off the salad.
People who visually motivate me today are @michaelleonardartist,which makes me re-think my sexuality. @jesus.cisneros.ilustrador that makes me cry of tenderness, @monos.cwtos that has carried out in Greece the most relevant mural project of the whole year and @raul.siete one of the few abstract artists that appeal to me at street level and on top of that he is national.
Teo Pirisi (Milan, 1980) aka Moneyless, lives and works in Lucca, Tuscany and is considered one of the most influential urban-abstract-artist of the recent years. After graduating at the Fine Arts Academy and in Communication Design at Isia in Florence, he has been doing research and investigation for years on different aspects of shapes and geometrical spaces. His graphic signature was born from the Italian scene of the 90’s graffiti, from which the artist gradually stood out to dedicate himself to a personalized abstract-geometric search focused on purity of form. Moneyless’s aesthetics is based on the concept of “Less Is More”: the geometric form, though minimized, has a strain and invisible movement inside. His works are the result of continuous experimentation to investigate the infinite possibilities of geometric composition.
I’d like to share with you three movies I loved and I enjoyed a lot. The first one is about racism. It’s “Green Book” (2018) by director Peter Farrelly. It gives you a really good point of view of the 60’s in America. The second one is “Parasites” (2019) by Bong Joon Ho. This movie is a G-damn masterpiece. It will make you belly laugh, it will chill you to the bone, and it will make you shed a tear. This movie will stay with you long after the credits are over. The third one is “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) by Martin McDonagh, a super nice black comedy drama film.
There’s a documentary I think it’s a wonderful piece of work, “Dancing with the Birds”, which shows how birds in paradise do the most extravagant things to land a mate.
There’s a couple of Djs based in Italy, they normally play in Florence, named Dissidanza. They light my night so far with a mix of illegal party and clubbing experiences. Here there is a mixcloud link of them.
At last there is two artists I recently discovered and think they are amazing. The first one is Gianluca Franzese a gold leaf master, I really love his technique and Hiroyuki Hamada a super talented artist from Japan.
The American artist and illustrator Emily Eldridge has spent the last decade and a half of her life living and traveling halfway around the globe. Ten years in Hong Kong, two in Barcelona and in the past years she has settled in Berlin. Eldridge (United States, 1982) has specialize in creative illustration and graphic design and her creative work covers all types of media, from street art murals to editorial illustration, experimental installations and graphic design. Fashion, pop culture and everyday life is what inspires Emily in her drawings based on flat color stains where she represents mainly female figures and nature.
I just finished reading “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. I loved having a glimpse into the heyday of classic New York City, when it was a place that was cheap enough for artists and musicians to have studios, and when it was a melting pot of creative activity for punk music to pop art, etc. Reading that book made me feel like I knew what it was like to be there. And it made me nostalgic for my home country of the US, since I haven’t been able to travel there since last year!
A British friend just shared the best-kept secret for us non-Brits, NTS Radio! I’m totally obsessed with it, and they have a million fantastic shows and DJs and an endless stream of good (non-algorithm) music to listen to. And no adverts! I’m so happy to have an alternative to Spotify ads and an algorithm “thinking” it knows what I want to listen to. Plus the British hosts have nice accents.
I love the American series “Unsolved Mysteries”. It’s a classic true crime TV show that’s been around since the 80s, and Netflix took it over and is now producing new (and better-filmed) episodes! The first season has so many good (and scary!) stories. On Netflix, I’m also in love with the Spanish TV comedy, “Paquita Salas”. I feel like I can relate to the main character so much, and I think the humor and one-liners are so funny. I think I’ve watched it 3 times since the start of the pandemic, to cheer myself up whenever I’m feeling down. I think the humor also translates well, even if you don’t speak Spanish! Just watch it with subtitles.
I just reorganized my art bookshelf and realized that I have a million titles I still haven’t looked through. A new (old) discovery is a book about the sculptor, Rachel Whiteread. She makes monumental cement castings of the insides of houses and architectural spaces, and then peels away the architectural elements to reveal an inverted sculpture of the space. Here in Berlin, before our second lockdown, I visited the exhibition of the artist and painter, Katharina Grosse at the Hamburger Banhof. She uses color in an incredible way, and is one of my favorite female artists.