THE HEAT IS ON
15 June 2017, Pepino
The heat is on, in the studio
Inside your head, on every beat
Today it's Corpus Christi, aka Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Last week I was dripping blood on football jerseys in Tampere. Now I'm back in the studio, the temperature is infernal but I don't care because I paint like having sold my soul.
The Finnish tour was perfect - I was on the cover of both Tampere's Aamulehti and Turku's Turun Sanomat newspapers. Where ever I go in Finland, the press is waiting for me. In both towns young artists who came to meet me said that they always thought I was an asshole but realized that actually I'm not an egomaniac. I've created my obnoxious public image carefully. In person, I'm just lovely.
However, a six-day operation in the art world was enough, I'm happy to back in my real life and at the studio-cum-sauna. Throw more löyly! Turn up the heat!
Tell me can you feel it
A BUSY WEEK IN THE NORTH
05 June 2017, Pepino
Monday: Driving the kids to school, cooking, laundry.
Tuesday: Off to Helsinki via Madrid. Early flight. A nude photo session and and interview for a magazine. Dinner with my gallery director.
Wednesday: Early train to Tampere. Installing my work - concertina wire and football jerseys - at Finlayson Art Area. Interviews. Dinner with my collector.
Thursday: Interviews. Opening of the show. Book launch of Closing Borders.
Friday: Early train to Turku. Press conference, interviews at Art Goes Logomo exhibition. Lunch with collectors. Opening. Dinner with collectors.
Saturday: Back to Helsinki. Dinner with a collector and making a new art work at his place.
Sunday: Brunch with a collector. Visiting my gallery, delivering a new drawing. Back to Spain.
MUKBANG CRISIS THEORY
26 May 2017, Pepino
The day after traveling is always wasted - yesterday I didn't even try to work after landing home from Vienna. Today I've been back in action again. I love the days when I read books and news in the morning and in the afternoon I draw what I've learned and discovered. Today it was mukbang, which is is an online audiovisual broadcast in which a host eats large quantities of food while interacting with their audience. It's online binge eating disorder.
This is the power of my small drawings: they are fast and direct, I don't have to limit my ideas. Maybe I shouldn't paint anymore but concentrate in what I do best and enjoy most, A4 size drawings.
ART TOO SAFE FOR AN APLHA MALE
16 May 2017, Pepino
I finished the forty pink monochromes.
I have made a bunch of list drawings on racism for the Vienna show. Opening next Tuesday.
I’m painting - the first time in one year - figurative things on canvas. And it looks good. Sponge Bob Squarepants and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Everything is really fine but I don’t feel satisfied. I’m reading Robert Fisk’s (the famous conflict correspondent) book Pity the Nation (Zena’s recommendation) on the Lebanese Civil War and I want to be like him. Painting junk culture in the studio is too safe for an alpha male like me. My practice is too secure, it doesn’t make me feel alive. I don’t want to go to Vienna, I want to go to Mosul.
My Austrian Friends
07 May 2017, Pepino
Just when I finished the pink monochromes, Florian asked if I could show my fresh Manner wafer work at Collector Agenda's new project space in Vienna in a couple of weeks. I love reacting fast and furious, so I accepted the challenge and booked the flights immediately.
I had never heard of Manner - the iconic Austrian wafer since 1890 - before January, when my Austrian friend Simeon told about the company's personalization campaign - the consumers could replace the brand with their own names.
Manner had a list of acceptable names, so it was not possible to write there Mother of All Car Bombs or Mustard Gas Wafer Dreams. In addition, the list looked very Germanic. No Chinese, Arabic, African or Spanish names. Was this traditional product not for immigrants? I asked Simeon to phone to the customer service and ask them to make Arabic names. Maybe they understood that if they don't do them, they will be labeled as racists in public. My work is titled My Austrian Friends and dedicated to all immigrants in Europe.
Manner is Arnold Schwarzenegger's favorite snack and it appears in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Mr. Schwarzenegger is a successfully integrated Austrian immigrant in California and I'm sure that he'd love my work.