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Interview with Joana Santamans
London, New York, San Francisco and of course her hometown, Barcelona, are cities that have ended up influencing the art of Joana, an artist who fuses nature with animals in her works, and results in works such as: VIDA, a book that includes drawings of about 100 different animals and with which she has achieved great recognition
Joana, you are from Barcelona and have a curious relationship with the place where our hotel OD Barcelona is located. Can you tell us about it?
Yes! I live just 30 steps away from there but the most curious thing is not that. That building used to be a clinic where I was born, in that clinic I came into the world and one of the nurses was a great aunt of mine. Later, I did an internship with some architects who had just built the building. Your hotel and I are very closely related.
What is it like to start in the world of art, painting, etc. in a city like Barcelona?
Well, I think there is a brilliant creativity. I feel very welcome but I see that the art market is quite dead and not only in Barcelona, but also in all of Spain. If we compare ourselves with the rest of the countries we are in the last... But there is one good thing, today I can say that I live from this and it is very gratifying.
Who do you remember seeing works or exhibitions and saying: I want to dedicate myself to this?
The other day I went to see Bill Viola, he does video art and it doesn't have much to do with what I do but I do see a feeling of the search for beauty as a whole. At the same time with his art he makes you question yourself and ask questions. There is a very deep look within his minimalism and I feel very identified and different at the same time. It is not easy to transmit, and at the end of the day a work is valued by the look of the observer. I can assure you that today I like classical art more than conventional contemporary art.
What about any other city that has managed to surprise and inspire you in recent times?
I have been to Berlin many times and I love it. It's a young, free and dynamic city with a lot of art culture. Also Amsterdam, Sweden in general, the Scandinavian culture and without forgetting Japan. For example with America, the opposite happens to me. It doesn't tell me anything, I'm even surprised that there is so much market there. I prefer European culture.
Let's go back to Barcelona. What has changed in your illustrations from the beginning to now?
I started with "street art". I started with everything urban, street art and influenced by graffiti, I used to take wood to paint it, however, now I feel much more like a painter than at the beginning. Now I'm much more interested in realism and mastering that technique, not hyper-realism but shadows, glitter and if I wanted to be able to reach perfection, to achieve it. Let's say I started as an illustrator and now I am a lover of painting with one thing clear, I always try to make it a hopeful art in any case.
Why animals? How does this type of illustration come to you?
A painter needs an excuse to paint, for me nature is an infinite source of inspiration. Animals live, feel and look. The look of the animal always accompanies me even more than a person because it doesn't invade you so much, to this we can add that the flora and fauna have always enchanted and interested me, thanks to the plants we have oxygen, and... do you know how much time plants have? Much more than humans! I am passionate about it. Another reason is that there is not much on the market. Painting is very much focused on the human being, with animals or plants there is less and it is a little forgotten.
If we tell you LIFE, what comes to your mind?
I've done two volumes that have tortured me while giving me so much. (laughs). I've spent many hours sitting on the chair working on it and now we're going for the third volume, it's being very well received, two years working on it and practically 7 months locked up in my studio. There will be at least two hundred illustrations, I have also made some changes with tonalities and backgrounds from the previous editions to this one.
Why this title for your book?
Because it's a word that encompasses a lot, I didn't want to stick to anything, I always wanted to make birds but you never know what there might be, I also include other insects, fish and many more animals but they all live. Life is not only human, there is much more, but it encompasses us all.
What is the animal that you have found most difficult to represent, to capture in the book?
Each one is a challenge, it depends on my energy of my mental, psychic and emotional moment, it depends more on that. That's why I try to work on this a lot by doing sports, swimming, yoga and trying to be well at all times. It is true that the transparencies may have cost me more at some point but nothing that can not be solved by making more sketches until you get it as you want. When it costs you something and you get it, it's more rewarding.
And your favorite?
I love the ones that are big spots, I also like fish. Oh yeah and beetles!
Today with the overload of images that there are in social networks it becomes a little difficult to stand out.
Which are the artists that have called your attention to the last thing you have seen?
I really have a lot of work and don't have much time to look at others but Pati Baztán loves me with her abstract art.
You of course have networks, web etc... Have you received messages or proposals from unexpected sites?
They write to me from all over the world and the feeling is really cool. For example, I was amazed by a woman who bought two works of art from Dubai. Quite a direct message from Instagram. It really is a worldwide gallery. It's very interesting, then other people ask you more about dimensions and other features.
Working in restaurants when everyone is eating is curious. In Ibiza they bought me 4 oil paintings for a fish restaurant or for example, painting a TV set, but not many strange things have happened to me so far. Let's touch wood!
If you were a plant, which one would you be?
All the ones I paint because when I do I try to interiorize them, maybe the one that represents me more is a wild rose.
And if you were an animal?
Deer, it is my ally of power.
And if you were a color?
#ODBREAKFAST. What is your perfect breakfast?
Well, I have become celiac and I eat brown rice and applesauce for breakfast.
#ODART. Your favorite piece of art? (my own and a third party's) Own: The Humpback Whale I made. By a third party: Any Rembrandt work.
#ODMUSIC What music do you listen to at home? Music that marks the tempo and is rich.
#ODFOOD Your favorite restaurant? Ambat in Barcelona.
#ODPLANS Your favorite destination for a getaway? I don't need to go very far but I love Menorca.Read more Close