Get your timing right, and a ten minute walk from Selva de Mar metro station you will find yourself confronted with numerous warehouse-like buildings, their doors wide open, people and music pouring into the streets. Why? Because every year the numerous artist spaces in Barcelona open their doors to the public to celebrate their resident artists, listen to music, and spread the creativity that Barcelona is renowned for.
NauART is no exception. A baby amongst other, more established spaces in Poblenou, this institution celebrated its 5th anniversary on the weekend of the 17th of September. To mark the event, not only did NauART put on an exhibition within the space featuring its artists, but it organised events for the public which challenged the perception of what “art” is, and what it means. Amongst guided tours of the artist spaces (in which they work on a daily basis throughout the year), special tours were organised to show visitors the surrounding street art, and experience food and drinks through contemporary art. One of my favourite details was the Gastronomic Experience which looked at all aspects of our senses when experiencing food, and the event which looked at expressing a wine tasting through visual art.
When its doors are not open to the public, NauART is office to 30 artists. Amongst them there are painters, sculptors, art restorers, and glass smiths. This range bodes well for the energy of the space, with every artist having a completely different story to tell.
I sat down with two artists in the space to learn more about life in an artist collective. Joan Parramon Fornos, a resident of NauART of 3 years with perhaps the brightest and most lively abstract pieces of the bunch expanded on the camaraderie offered by the space. Collaboration is often the norm, with groups of artists even collaborating with spaces in other countries with various themes in mind. One, I am told, is in the works right now. With the title and theme of Migration, artists are creating pieces with this theme for an exhibition which will run from the 20th of October to the 25th of November in the Civic Centre of Barceloneta.
Another artist we met offered a contrasting view, having only occupied his studio 10 days prior to the event. Excitement at the buzz of the environment clearly visible, Maikel Menéndez talked us through his creative process. His paintings are also a contrast to those by Fornos. Mostly monochrome, Menéndez draws inspiration from his work as an architect. He explains that the creative process is a fickle one, with no clear recipe of success. Paintings can take hours, days, months, or years to complete. But the artist eye knows when the work is completed. Sometimes, all one can do is wait for inspiration to hit. I can imagine, however, that inspiration comes quickly in an environment like this.
Visit NauART for more info.