29 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
The thing that I most like to do, is reading the Sunday newspaper. And that's what I'm going to miss when I'm dead. Luis Buñuel said that he'd like to return from the grave every ten years, read the newspaper in a café, catch up with the events of the world and go back to the tomb. People bring flowers to the cemeteries and my wife loves flowers but I've asked her to buy the newspaper for my grave every Sunday.
While I was reading the news today, my daughter, who turns two next week, was bathing in the stone trough we have in the patio. When I wanted to comment her Alberto Contador's victory in the Tour de France or maybe the Bulgarian nurses' tortures in Libya, she had vanished. I couldn't find her anywhere in the house. Then I climbed to my upper floor studio and there she was painting red patterns in my just finished Cup Noodle Wars painting. Inevitably, she wants to be artist but I'm not going to encourage her in that - I want her to be something more serious.
GUANGDONG FISH BALL GUN
27 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
I've done a new painting, it's the final episode of the devastating Cup Noodle Wars. It was Herman's idea not to overwork the background and this time I tried to paint like I draw - no thinking. White background, some curry flavor, a classic dim sum bomb, impasto decoration, a sha cha sauce lance-flamme, a famous Guangdong fish ball gun and a beautiful Yalong Wan Beach blue mixed by my wife.
Now I'm going to relax, go to the patio, prepare some iced coffee and answer to the 567 questions of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory I got from my therapist. I think my result will be Scale 6: Paranoid symptoms such as feelings of grandiose self-concepts, excessive sensitivity, and rigid opinions and attitudes.
THE ART OF TRADING
22 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
I traded with the Laplander artist Kalle Lampela - who I've never met but whom I greatly admire - two Tokyo made drawings to two of his Osaka made drawings.
Few months ago, I exchanged with Herman my early abstract drawing to his watercolor of a piece of meat. It's a small painting on a big paper, that maybe looks interesting but is damn expensive to frame. Now I finally had money to frame it and just in time, Herman came from Belgium to visit us yesterday. I rushed from the framing shop to home wanting to have his piece of art/meat on the wall before his arrival but he came in the same moment with me, and I was so astonished that I left the work in my car and remembered it after he had left.
HOMELAND, SWEET HOMELAND
17 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
The summer is hot in Spain and I'm waiting anxiously to go to the milder Finland in two weeks.
Last fall, I decided to face the truth - I've shown my stuff in New York, London and Beijing but the only place where I'm somebody is Helsinki, professionally Finland is still my homeland. Then I hadn't had for a year anything exhibited in Finland and I encouraged myself and asked Timo about doing a show at Korjaamo. Then I asked Henry to speak for me to Ilona and after that I went to meet her at Galerie Anhava. The result of my homeland campaign is that now I'm having more shows in Finland during few months than I had there in the last three years together.
Although I believe that my way to the success goes via Finland, I don't want to be Finnish artist like Kimi Räikkönen is Finnish Formula 1 pilot. I don't want national hymns and blue cross flags. I don't want to represent the government and commercial brand of Finland. I'd hate to represent Finland in the Venice Biennale. But of course if I were invited one day, I'd do it.
THE BOY WHO WANTED TO BE TERRORIST
15 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Q: How and when did you first get involved in art?
A: When I was a crawling, my mother hung Picasso postcards on my eye level.
Q: Was there a certain event or moment when you realized that art was going to be your career?
A: When I was teenager, I wanted to change the world and be a terrorist like Che Guevara or Carlos the Jackal. I entered the army when I was 18 to learn to fight but after three days I had to give back my AK-47 and I was sent back home. They thought I was insane. Maybe they were right. After this episode, I decided to be artist, though I don’t believe that art can really change the world.
This morning, I found out that there is a snake terrorizing our house. In a big old house there are many too hiding places and I can't catch it. It's almost two meters long. My wife is in panic. Last summer I killed one.
TUNA TARTARE WITH GUACAMOLE AND WASABI SORBET
12 July 2007, Madrid
I'm in Madrid with my wife. We went to the Reina Sofia Museum to see the Wolfgang Laib and Luis Gordillo exhibtions. My wife adores Laib's yellow pollen and I wanted to see Gordillo's paintings that puzzle me. I feel they could be the best paintings in the world but I don't want to admit it to myself, because they seem to be painting for painting's sake. And I demand art about Molotov cocktails in bottles of sake. Maybe I'm too narrow-minded.
We are spending more money than we should and could. We stay in Hotel de las Letras, a trendy design hotel in Gran Vía and had yesterday an amazing dinner at Asiana Taller. During the day, it's an Asian antiques shop and in the evening the most fashionable restaurant in the town. The food was absolutely splendid hit mix of methods and ingredients of the Mediterranean and the Far East. My wife said she liked the food too, even though, before the dinner in the Hotel spa, she burnt her tongue with boiling tea that I served her believing it was cold beer.
GAZPACHO DE FINLANDIA
08 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
Yesterday (7-7-7), Andrea and Olivier and their daughters had lunch in our place. They praised my Gazpacho de Finlandia, what is my favorite appetizer in the summer time. I think Olivier liked my gin & tonics too, because he had five of them. It's really hot here and it's important to drink enough.
GAZPACHO DE FINLANDIA
Garlic (Did you know that Berlusconi wants to ban garlic in Italy?)
Salt and pepper
Process everything in a blender until smooth. Chill in the fridge. Pass through a stainer to obtain liquid without chunks. Mix three parts gazpacho and one part Finlandia vodka. Serve in chilled shot glasses.
06 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
My Artfacts.net ranking has risen in few weeks from 15.512 to 9.498. I don't understand what has happened but it feels great to be in the Top 10.000. I'm one of the ten thousand most famous artists in the world! And the best is that now my ranking is better than my best friend Jani's, his position is 11.355. The next target is to get in the Top 5.000, which is extremely difficult. I just checked Tellervo's ranking. She studied with me and graduated one year after me. Her ranking is only 4272 though she is in almost every biennial you can imagine. Artfacts.net ranks almost 85.000 artists. The Top 5 are Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Bruce Nauman, Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys.
PAINTING & BEACH
03 July 2007, Cervera de los Montes
I'm painting but not in my studio, where it's too hot to work: I'm fixing the walls of the house. It's at least 200 years old building and whatever you do the paint falls down every year. It must have been painted at least 200 times.
My daughter is painting with her fingers in the patio. She does abstract stuff on a huge piece of paper. I envy her. She's really good in it. I'm seriously going to have my series of 10 paintings - started more than a year ago - finished by 31st of December. I'm slow but I'll do it.
Now people think about holiday destinations. My favorites are Bujumbura, Addis Abeba, Kinshasa, Lilongwe, Monrovia, Bissau, Naypyidaw, Asmara, Freetown, Kigali, Niamey, Antananarivo, Kampala, Anjul, Dodoma, Kabul, Conakry, Kathmandu, Lomé and Dili, but we go to Finland like every year.