Juan Díaz-Faes (Oviedo, 1982) is all good vibe around him. Between surfing, gardening, cooking (or eating…) and carpentry crafts he spends his time in Cantabria, surrounded by sea and mountains, and creating with full freedom, controlling his rhythms, but above all without stopping. Because if he stops, he gets bored. His work, with fun and primitive figures almost always in black, you will see them on wood, in ceramic sculptures, on abandoned premises, surfboards, skateboards or even made jewelry. Now he just landed in Madrid to present his latest work hand in hand with SOLO Collection in the Monbull Corner space (Calle Almadén, 19) and in a very original way: until the day of the opening, which will be next Monday, December 7, the artist will be open door creating work in the space itself . Come and see him in action, and don’t take too long, the exhibition will be ongoing until December 10th.
Your first memory painting… My memory is very bad so I could tell you that this very week… I do remember the first time I painted a wall: it was with a very small brush and two colors in an abandoned factory (Casera la Atómica) in 2001 or so.
The last thing you painted in the street… Just yesterday.
With whom? With my friend Yes in Madrid.
Painting in the street or studio work… Each thing has its own time. Sometimes you feel more like painting in the street because of all the adrenaline you generate, because you share the moment with friends, because you don’t have total control of what is going to come out… And other times you want studio work: coffee, underwear, music, warmth… and the possibility of working more calmly, or in several projects at once.
Your fetish color… Red. No, just kidding, black, obviously.
Your work routine... I like to try to finish everything I start in the same day. If I think it will take too long, I start early in the morning to get there. But I don’t have a schedule routine, I usually try to work when I feel like it and luckily, that’s almost always and at all hours.
Who would you like to collaborate with… With Cecilia Giménez, the restorer of the Ecce Homo.
An artist you admire… Of the classics, one that never tired me yet was Matisse. Escher is another one of those I keep discovering. I like too many to say just one name…
A lesser-known artist to recommend… He is not exactly unknown, but I think he has a great projection and hopefully he does. It’s Ampparito. I find all of his work very interesting, and I was lucky enough to have a few beers with him these past days.
A pictorial style… I am crazy about the paintings of the ancient Greece and all the Mayan or Aztec graphics.
The work you have enjoyed the most… It was two murals. The first one, the wall I painted inside the SOLO Collection space in Madrid because it was the first time I took a wall as a serious piece, thought out and carried out calmly. I think you can tell. The other one that I enjoyed very much, was a facade in Reinosa, my first big piece. Because of the size, which always imposes and makes you feel excited, and because I painted it with the help of a couple of friends, there were several laughter. Painting with friends is the best.
And the one you are most proud of… The wall from SOLO Collection. It still shocks me and brings a smile to my face seeing that piece of wall surrounded by so many artworks of artists that I admire and respect a lot. Besides, I think that from that moment on, I started to professionalize my work.
A turning point in your career… I always worked as an illustrator, with commissions on press and advertising. One day, I was asked to do a drawn interview for Yorokobu magazine. The first one we did, was to David Cantolla. I didn’t know him, but from that day on we became very close, and years later, it was him who encouraged me and helped me to investigate more into my artistic and personal projects. Two or three years ago, I made the decision to concentrate my efforts in this field. No doubt that was a very important point for me.
Do you have a master? I think that more than good teachers teaching you things, I think it’s important to be good a student and learn things from everything.
Your work in three words? Cheerful, synthetic or forceful.
And your personality? Matches the work. Cheerful to everything that I give, synthetic because I am very simple (I love to eat and to laugh) and forceful because I am from Asturias.
A city to paint… Without any doubt any town that is next to the sea. Since I left Madrid and went to the north, I started to paint much more and I also think that my work improved a lot. I am a great defender of “rural art”.
A special place for you… Langre beach in Cantabria. I go there a lot to take walks, surf or take out my dog.
Animals or persons? Both. People to talk, to comment, to drink beers, to laugh. And animals to be more with yourself. To walk my dog is very good to reflect a little bit, to look for new ideas or simply to be quiet for some time, hard to me!
Which animal represents you? The spaniel (water dog).
The last book you read… I just finished “Paradoxes to Puzzle and Delight”, by Martin Gardner. It’s not what I usually read, but this last month I’m quite interested in mathematical paradoxes.
The last movie you’ve seen… “Pink Flamingos”, which I had on the computer and I saw it on the train on my way to Madrid.
A series? “La que se avecina” I admit that it works wonderfully as a placebo to put me to sleep at night.
What music inspires you? Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Alan Lomax’s album in Asturias. He is an ethnomusicologist who recorded traditional songs from many provinces of Spain sung by the ladies and gentlemen of the villages themselves. The one I play the most is from Asturias hehe…
A museum or art space… So not to keep insisting with Colección SOLO, I will say another. I am looking forward to visiting the MIMA Museum in Belgium, or Superchief Gallery in the USA. It seems to me that they are two places where things of immense creative quality happen.
A special artwork to you? Once again, Matisse, I told you that I am simple… “Blue nude” or “Green stripe” freaks me out.
A wall… I was very surprised by one of Ampparito’s latest walls. I think it’s called “About losing for sharing” and it’s a house that he painted using a pattern of black and white lines so that it would have a moire effect when the photos were taken. Magic.
A meal… A good ‘cachopo’ never fails me. And if not, rice with egg and tomato, the champions meal.
What do you fear? I’m not really afraid of anything, but not because I’m brave, but because I don’t usually think things through. I’m doing well that way, because this way I do things that maybe I’d shit myself if I thought about it.
Any fixations? I only eat even cookies, I have a specific fork to eat, I hate small stickers (like those on fruit), I always sit in the same places in my house or in my colleagues’ houses, before going to sleep I do 1000 push-ups. Well, this last one is a lie… I don’t even do one haha.
What can’t you stand? Doing nothing, the boredom or the silences. My girlfriend tells me that I have to learn to stop and be quiet. But it doesn’t work.
Alone or accompanied? Each good thing in its own time.
How do you waste your time? I don’t, or I try not to. You see that was one of the things I couldn’t stand.
Your ideal future… It sounds bit too much, but where and how I am now I feel like in a Caribbean luxury resort, so I wouldn’t like to change it too much…
What do you miss? It would be nice to go back to the student years, where we had plenty of time and material to use in college. There were no big problems in my head, beyond “spaghetti with tuna”, or “with meat”…
Your next project… I always have many open fronts, so I don’t get bored, you know. I’m preparing an exhibition for 2021 (if Covid doesn’t step in) and also an art and surf project…
A mantra… Always at full speed. Always laughs.