The Vivid Worldview of Artist Sixe Paredes
Eduardo Gion Espejo-Saavedra,
Sixe Paredes is a leading muralists on the global art scene. His work covers walls in cities such as Barcelona, Charleroi or Moscow and it is know for its use of abstract coloring, taking ancient cultures as a reference point and incorporating a high-level of symbolism and geometry. He was one of a handful of artists chosen to paint a mural on the Tate Modern wall, London.
A version of this exclusive interview first appeared in the pages of the 12th issue of ODDA Magazine.
Q: You started in the world of graffiti in the 80’s.
A: In the late 80’s I started painting in the streets of Barcelona: graffiti, signatures, mural or flops (signature’s font puffed), with only two colours.
Q: Were you part of a graffiti artists group?
A: At first I went alone and then I was part of several famous groups of Barcelona, like Aratack or DTI.
Q: At what age did you start?
A: At the age of 15, at that time I only made pure handwriting, signatures and bombarded my neighbourhood with signatures.
Q: In the 90’s you started to experiment with other artistic disciplines.
A: It was a necessity in my life, I met a painter… in those years my graffiti was not artistic. I had a creative need to learn other techniques, to use other supports, and I believe that it was a shuttle to be able to create another kind of art, and to do other things that were not the traditional graffiti. I am a self-taught, never studied fine art, which I believe is fine since I am not perverted by academy. I have a very personal drawing and I have searched for my references.
Q: You started to experiment with other techniques, which ones?
A: More than techniques, I learned to work on other materials, I had only worked with sprays in the street, and started to paint on a canvas or wood, something I had never done; I discovered sculpture, making assemblies, all in an intuitive way, researching and creating with different materials. It gave a turn to my own creativity.
Q: One of your inspirations is the ancient world and archaeology
A: Yes, that has been going on for 8 years, I believe that my work has always had something of anthropology, I had the opportunity to travel to Peru invited by an artistic group called “Plastic Group”, I visited that country and I was fascinated; I researched, I worked with his people; I had knowledge of these cultures, but mostly I was fascinated with the pre-Hispanic sculptures, there were a lot of different and fascinating cultures, I felt in love with all of them, and without knowing my work had big influence and changed … I’m working on myths, such as the story of the Fish Man, a being that lives in the water and goes to earth to persuade humans, or the legend of the Pink Dolphin of the Amazon, which they say lives there, or the mermaids… I reflect all these in my last works.
Q: That’s why you use so vivid colours in your work, influenced by those cultures, right?
A: Well my work has always had very strong and lively colours… Barcelona and the Mediterranean already have that palette, the blues, and gaudy colours… But it is clear that this folklore has helped expand my colour palette.
Q: Peru also offers you to work with new supports such as looms or ceramics.
A: I am very interested in primitive materials such as ceramics, the four elements are united there, and the looms, I believe they were the first two means of humanity. I chose those materials and gave them a more contemporary sight. I’m working with looms and clay now.
Q: Do you prepare your clay?
A: Yes, I have never made pottery in Spain, only in Peru, because I really like their technique. For example in Nazca pottery only 7 colours are used, since in that area they could only find seven natural pigments. In other parts of Peru we can find the Mochicas, they used only 3 colours, prioritising the sculpture in their pottery; I’m very interested in those techniques so I only make pottery there.
Q: You do a ritual when you are there offering one of your ceramics to Mother Earth.
A: Yes, I have just arrived from Peru, where I had an exhibition in Cuzco, in the very important Temple of the Sun; I was also doing pottery, of every batch I made (6 or 7), I offer one to the Nazca mountain, as gratitude for the materials that nature provides us. That kind of liturgy we have lost in the West, as gratefulness to mother nature. The only thing we buy for pottery is coal, the rest we get it from nature, also the brushes made of human hair and pens, because that hair is the best for the pigments we use to paint the pottery.
Q: Before all this, you had a darker stage, less coloured, where you created a set of characters called “Bad children with fringes.”
A:I worked with three colours, white, black and red; I did this darker series in the period that, as every young man living in a big city, went out at night, getting influenced from those nights. It was a series of bad children but not evil or sinister. Years after doing those series, I took back those three single colours with the theme of the crisis, called “Numerical Crisis” where everything was influenced by numbers, statistics, that did not lead to anything. All those statistics were us. Those bad kids with fringes have grown up and have become number-thinking beings; I think that’s the link.
Q: Your painting goes to abstract, as the series of robots, colourful and geometric.
A: That series was more figurative but slowly going to abstraction, as a new concept; I want to paint abstract in order to let the viewer go and see what he wants, giving him total freedom. An image not totally defined leaves more freedom to the person who sees it. I leave it to the edge that can be understood but with different perspectives. I believe that the artist increasingly removes his artistic elements, and at the end with a single stroke the viewer knows who is he, as if it were a personal seal.
Q: You call yourself a Contemporary Muralist.
A: I think the word Street Art is too perverted, anything is called that, so I proclaim myself first of all Graffiti man, because I come from the Graphite, and also contemporary muralist.
Q: How are your sculptures? Well, totally abstract, my last one is a chicken crest, a round ear, a bird and a mountain, everything very totemic.
A: On January 19th, I will inaugurate an exhibition in Brussels with one of these sculptures.
Q: You are one of the three artists selected by the Tate Modern to paint an exterior wall.
A: I had already painted walls for many years as a muralist, and I met in Madrid one of the curators of the Tate London who already knew my work, and invited me to paint one of my murals on the outer walls of the museum. And it became an exhibition.
Filmmaker, Journalist and documentary.
For several years working as an assistant director of short films and feature films in 35mm. His documentaries have been shown at festivals Festival de Cinema de Sitges, New York Film Festival, Portland Underground Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, and others.
Worked at events “080” in Barcelona, collaborating with photographers Miguel Villalobos for the production of the tribute to Thierry Mugler.
Writes and produces reports for magazines “Candy Magazine” to Luis Venegas, Also works for the magazine “Paraiso Magazine”, and Features Editor at ODDA Magazine.
Eduardo Gion Espejo-Saavedra
Filmmaker, Journalist and documentary. For several years working as an assistant director of short films and feature films in 35mm. His documentaries have been shown at festivals Festival de Cinema de Sitges, New York Film Festival, Portland Underground Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, and others. Worked at events “080” in Barcelona, collaborating with photographers Miguel Villalobos for the production of the tribute to Thierry Mugler. Writes and produces reports for magazines “Candy Magazine” to Luis Venegas, Also works for the magazine “Paraiso Magazine”, and Features Editor at ODDA Magazine.
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