Category Archives: Visual Arts

Artist Feature: Ángel Rams

We’re excited to welcome Valencia-born and Leipzig-based comic book artist and illustrator Ángel Rams to the LIFESTYLE collective. Angel sheds light on the roles of Reflection during the process of interpreting an author’s scene and Response as the illustrator’s goal to tell the story through that interpretation. He goes in on the importance of telling a story without sacrificing the narrative for superfluous illustrations that only aim to impress readers. Ángel showcases these different features of the creative process using dope examples from his portfolio. He also sheds light on exciting future projects such as serving as the artist for  Alfred Ngubane‘s book Shaka Zulu, the upcoming release of a graphic novel set in post-WWII, and his participation in the 2014 Egmont Graphic Novel Contest with his graphic novel Cayuco. Check out the dialogue below accompanied by samples from Angel’s eclectic collection and links to various projects he’s got going on.

Ángel Rams


One of the main rules of sequential art is that you are here to entertain people, telling them a story throughout panels, not to gather a bunch of cool pin-ups on a page. A good comic book page can be understood without the dialogue on it, because it responds to the script.

– Ángel Rams

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AR: My name is Ángel Rams. I´m a comic book artist and illustrator born in Valencia, Spain. I currently reside in Leipzig, Germany.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AR: I consider myself a comic book artist that takes occasional illustration commissions. The bulk of my artwork is what we call “sequential artwork”, in plain English: comic book pages. So I guess I should respond as a comic book artist. I believe Reflection and Response are a great part of a comic book artist’s work.

I would say Reflection describes my intention when I draw a scene, an object or a character. I try to capture on paper how I conceive that scene, object or that character. I try to reflect my perception of reality through my artistic skills. Of course that reality doesn’t really exist; it’s a reality the writer created. My task is to read, interprete and reflect. And that leads us to the next question: Response.

I understand Response as the artist’s level of commitment and efficiency toward the story. Rule number one is: tell the story. The closer my drawings are to the writer’s initial idea, the better Response I provided as a professional. In my opinion, a good comic book is the one where art and dialogues work along so well that it makes you wonder if it was made by a team or by one single creator. For this to happen you need a collaborative effort between writer and artist, or such a complete, well written script, that it gives the artist information enough to provide a good Response. Luckily I’ve been in both situations.

One of the main rules of sequential art is that you are here to entertain people, telling them a story throughout panels, not to gather a bunch of cool pin-ups on a page. Sadly, many artists focus their efforts on showcasing lots of boobs, muscle and plasma beams in cool postures rather than telling the story effectively. They adapt the story to the art and it should be the other way around, and that creates divergences. There’s nothing worse than divergences between artwork and dialogues. Seeing a character doing something or showing a body language that doesn’t match what they say, drives you out of the story and makes it less believable. A good comic book page can be understood without the dialogue on it, because it responds to the script. You don’t really know what they are saying but you know what’s going on.

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 9

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 10

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AR: When you look at the pages [from Tunnel] above, even with no lettering work on them, they convey the defenselessness and vulnerability the wounded character is feeling at that point of the story. His posture laying on bed, the martial mood of the military character that’s talking to him, the dark empty infirmary room, how the doctor approaches step by step with his apron stained with blood… All of this is telling you that wounded dude is in trouble. My task as an artist is to convey that idea throughout the page, to respond to the writer’s idea. Even the page layout imitates the shape of the window’s grid. All these elements subconsciously affect the reader, they create a mood and make the story believable. They all work together to tell the story.

At the same time, I have to reflect on the look of the room (it’s not a civil hospital, but a camp hospital), the ethnicities of the characters (the doc is Japanese) and every single object in an effective way. That means hours of documentation and study before even picking up the pencil. How many amateur comics did you see where cars look like shoe boxes? That happens because they don’t reflect real objects properly.

The next scene, below, [is] pretty much the same. The female character has the sensation of being observed, and so does the reader, because  the position of the statues, the deer head and the empty library convey that feeling.

Ángel Rams - Tunnel, page 23

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Max Nelson

Max Nelson is a Bay Area based web designer and visual artist. He has worked with various aspects of design including illustration, logos, and image layout. Max discusses the interconnected nature of Reflection and Response as the feedback loop between the brain and the images we encounter. He discusses the role of Reflection and Response in his piece Talking Type, and showcases a handful of other works from his archives.

Max Nelson

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

MN: Berkeley, CA is where I was born and raised. Still basically just crushing it in the city of B-town…I need to GTF outta here.

Max Nelson - "Watercolor Fingertips"

Max Nelson – “Watercolor Fingertips”

Max Nelson - "Turquoise Gemstone"

Max Nelson – “Turquoise Gemstone”


What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

MN: Well a reflection is an aspect or image of a thing, cast onto another thing. A response is essentially a directed reaction. The two combined remind me of  like, a brain with an image projected onto it from like, a projector. The image is like a volcano or something.

Max Nelson - "Swept" (Click the image to check out the piece in full)

Max Nelson – “Swept” (Click the image to check out the piece in full)

How does your piece “Talking Type” fit in with that definition?

MN: I’ll choose the typographic guide ‘Talking Type’ – I did the marker version one night in college. It was probably about 3am, I’d been studying a shitload of typography, and with all that in my system (reflection), I busted that out in sharpie in like 15 min. (response). Years later I found the pages and liked them and decided to type them out in Photoshop.

Max Nelson - "Talking Type" (Click the image to check out the piece in full)

Max Nelson – “Talking Type” (Click the image to check out the typographic guide in full)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Ricky Gutierrez

Ricky Gutierrez is the first tattoo artist to hold it down for the LIFESTYLE! Representing Atwater, California, Ricky practices his craft at Restless Valley Ink in nearby Merced. He discusses his goals of positively impacting others who are making their way through life amidst questions pertaining to career and livelihood. A pivotal day when Ricky initially brought some of his work to a tattoo artist he admired changed his life and he has been dedicated to the craft ever since. Living a balanced life, Ricky discusses the inspiration that come from his wife and daughter and his dedication to making a name for himself in the field. Check out Ricky’s words and some dope original work below!

Ricky Gutierrez

Chase your passion relentlessly and live through your craft.

– Ricky Gutierrez

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

RG: What’s up LIFESTYLE!? I’m Ricky G. representing Atwater, Ca. I’m currently tattooing at Restless Valley Ink in Merced, CA.

Ricky Gutierrez

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

RG: Reflection is the story your work tells for you. One day, I’m hoping that my work will touch the lives of individuals that don’t think they can make it or feel like they can’t catch a break. I was once in their shoes, bouncing from job to job, trying to find myself and choose a career to earn a decent living. I never thought my artwork was good enough to showcase, let alone be my career. The day I took my work to a local tattoo artist, whose work I deeply admired, was the day my life changed in one of the best ways possible. Through this journey, I’m still searching for a response and my expectations for my artistic career.

Ricky Gutierrez

How does your work fit in with that definition?

RG: Every day I strive to do my best and inspire others along the way. I believe it’s important to chase your passion relentlessly and live through your craft.

Ricky Gutierrez

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

RG: Lately, I’ve been working on tattooing. I’m trying to make a respectable name for myself in the industry and build my reputation. I plan on expanding my artistic abilities by exploring different mediums and continuing my education and earning a degree in art.

Ricky Gutierrez

Who or what inspires you?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Andréa Harris

Andréa Harris is a visual artist based in Seattle, Washington, who has also spent time in Washington State, Boston, Florida, and France – each of which has naturally impacted her artistic practice in different ways. Andrea describes Reflection and Response as an interaction between the artist and their work — with each entity active in the dialogue. Her work is a result of this ongoing conversation and she uses various mediums such as painting, photography, collage, digital video, and sculpture. Along with her words, Andréa presents specific pieces from her incredible collage and sculpture projects EXPERIENCING THE CENTURY and OUR EYES THAT ARE EVER MORE MY OWN. Peep the dialogue below and stay tuned for more exciting projects from her workshop!

Andréa Harris

Making work turns into a conversation between reflection and response — sometimes the artist is the one responding in the work, but other times the work talks back and makes its own demands to be heard.

– Andréa Harris

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

AH: I am from the Pacific Northwest, and grew up in several towns near Tacoma, WA.

There is something to be said of place and creative work. Everywhere I’ve lived has had a specific head-space to it. It’s been easy to make work in some places, but nearly impossible in others. Having lived in Seattle, Boston, Sarasota (Florida), and three summers in South-West France, I have experienced a variety. However, I have yet to find the place I work best with.

Right now I’m in Seattle, WA. It’s the city I consider home. I have a feeling there are some explorations ahead of me though.

Andréa Harris - Experiencing Century 12

Andréa Harris – Experiencing The Century 12

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AH: As an artist and general introvert, the majority of my time is spent in reflection. Reflection isn’t a place of comfort. It is a place of unstable ground and a catalyst for change. Reflection is the foundation of Response, but the creation of work contains both. Making work turns into a conversation between reflection and response — sometimes the artist is the one responding in the work, but other times the work talks back and makes its own demands to be heard.

Andréa Harris - Experiencing Century 10

Andréa Harris – Experiencing The Century 10

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AH: The overarching concept I find myself fixated on is the idea that reality is malleable, fluid, and constantly created. I explore the flexibility of reality through: the relational boundaries between the body, consciousness, psychological states, ideologies, and perceptions of the self, the other, and the transcendental. My work operates in a space of questioning experiences and concepts. It is the product of reflection and response, the push and pull between the two. I enjoy working across disciplines, letting the concepts I’m working through dictate or have influence on whether I use painting, photography, collage, digital video, sculpture, etc.

Andréa Harris - Experiencing Century 01

Andréa Harris – Experiencing The Century 01

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?


Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Óscar Sánchez Lozano

Óscar Sánchez Lozano es el dueño de La Eriza, un taller de encuadernación ubicado en Malasaña, Madrid, España. Decidió entrar en el mercado de la encuadernación en Madrid después de unos años fuera viviendo en Londres. Cuando volvió a la ciudad quería crear su propio espacio y abrió su taller La Eriza. Mezclando el oficio de encuadernar con exposiciones de varios tipos de arte gráfico en el espacio del lugar, La Eriza representa un simbiosis de galería y taller. Le damos la bienvenida a Óscar que nos cuenta la historia interesante e original detrás de su taller único, La Eriza.

Óscar Sánchez Lozano is the owner and operator of La Eriza, a bookbinding workshop located in Malasaña, Madrid, Spain. Óscar decided to enter the market of bookbinding after living abroad in London for several years. Upon returning to Madrid he opted to establish his own space and opened his workshop La Eriza. Mixing the trade of bookbinding with expositions of different arts on the walls of his space, La Eriza represents a symbiosis between gallery and workshop. We welcome Óscar as he provides the interesting and unique story behind La Eriza.

Óscar Sánchez Lozano

Nosotros lo hemos planteado en términos de consolidación y calidad, lo que hace que nuestra fórmula parezca más estanca sin realmente serlo, pues cada encargo, cada pedido en sí, es un paso hacia delante en creatividad, experiencia laboral y atención al cliente.

We decided to focus on consolidation and quality – a formula that can make it seem like the business is more at a standstill than it really is. [Part of this formula is that] we consider each bookbinding order a step forward in creativity, work experience, and customer service.

– Óscar Sánchez Lozano

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

OSL: Vivo en Madrid, y aunque nací en esta ciudad pasé unos años en londres (que fue) algo decisivo para el nacimiento de La Eriza.

OSL: I live in Madrid, and although I was born here I spent some years in London, which was a formative experience for the creation of La Eriza.

La Eriza

La Eriza

Que quieren decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti y cómo se mete tu arte y la Encuadernación La Eriza en esta definición? 

What does Reflection and Response mean to you, and how do you locate those ideas in your artwork and your bookbinding workshop Encuadernación La Eriza?

OSL: La reflexión es el proceso por el que se generan respuestas a un planteamiento. El planteamiento en este caso, como muchas decisiones vitales, es la conjunción de varias circunstancias. Por un lado la creación del taller surgió como respuesta a mi decisión de venirme a vivir a Madrid por unas razones totalmente ajenas a mi situación laboral o creativa. Podría haber buscado trabajo en talleres que ya existían, pero mi visión de la profesión y mi planteamiento de vida no iban a casar con la estructura gremial de este oficio en esta ciudad. Así que decidí crear mi propio espacio.

La reflexión me dio la oportunidad de dar forma al proyecto. Ubicación en el mercado, concepto, imagen, estrategia…la respuesta fue lo que hoy es La Eriza: un conjunto de muchos matices interconectados.

OSL: Reflection is the process through which you create responses to your plans. The plan, in this case, like many important decisions, came from a combination of several circumstances. On one hand, my plan for creating a [bookbinding] workshop emerged as a response to my decision to move to Madrid (for reasons completely unrelated to my work situation or my creative state). I could have looked for work in the various workshops that already existed in Madrid, but my vision and life plan did not fit in with the structure of the trade association in the city. Because of this disconnect, I decided to create my own space.

Reflection gave me the opportunity to form the project: a presence in the market, a concept, an image, a strategy…the response became what La Eriza is today: a combination of a bunch of different interconnected parts.

La Eriza

La Eriza

Que más estás haciendo actualmente o tienes planeado para La Eriza? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente? 

What else are you working on currently, and what plans do you have for La Eriza? What projects are you thinking about working on next? 

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Elena Rosillo

Elena Rosillo muestra que el poder de los medios de comunicación nuevos se puede utilizar para dar a conocer los que tienen algo para decir. En su propio blog, The Rosillo’s Rover, ha escrito sobre el ocio Madrileño que le interesa y le parece que debe recibir más atención.  También aprende más sobre el oficio de investigación como parte del equipo que produce el diario Madrileño La Guía del Ocio mientras quiere seguir con su carrera universitaria con un doctorado. En la entrevista debajo aprendemos sobre el cruce del Reflexión y Respuesta y investigación, el mundo de creativos en que vive y escribe esta periodista Madrileña, y varios temas más.

Elena Rosillo demonstrates how the power of new communication technologies can be used to share and promote those who have something to say. In her personal blog The Rosillo’s Rover, Elena has written about events and nightlife in Madrid that are both interesting and deserving of more attention. She also continues to learn more about the craft of journalism as part of the Madrid-based lifestyle journal La Guía del Ocio while seeking to further her education with a PhD in the field. In the interview below we learn about the intersection of Reflection and Response, the world of creatives in which Elena lives and writes about, and several other topics.

Elena Rosillo

Mi reflexión acerca de aquello que me rodea y donde vivo es lo que me ha llevado, como respuesta, a hacer lo que hago y actuar como actúo. Se trata de un feedback con tus propias circunstancias e intereses, que también afecta a aquellos que me rodean.

My reflection involves things that happen around me, and where I live this has brought me, as a response, to do what I do and act how I act. [Reflection] serves as a “feedback loop” including one’s own circumstances and interests which, in turn, affects what surrounds them.

– Elena Rosillo

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

ER: Vengo de ese pedazo de la España en que nací, cuna del requiebro y del chotis. De Madrid, mi ciudad y la ciudad de mis padres y abuelos, y de aquellos con los que convivo y a los que retrato con mi trabajo.

ER: I come from this part of Spain, where I was born, [which is also] the birthplace of “requiebro y chotis”. From Madrid – my city, the city of my parents and grandparents, and of those with whom I live and those who I feature in my work.

Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

ER: La reflexión forma una parte muy estrecha de mi personalidad. Todos mis amigos me dicen que pienso demasiado, aunque no creo que eso sea necesariamente algo malo. La respuesta es aquello que se consigue con la reflexión. Mi reflexión acerca de aquello que me rodea y donde vivo es lo que me ha llevado, como respuesta, a hacer lo que hago y actuar como actúo. Se trata de un feedback con tus propias circunstancias e intereses, que también afecta a aquellos que me rodean.

ER: Reflection forms a small part of my personality. All of my friends tell me that I think too much, although I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Response is what you achieve along with reflection. My reflection involves things that happen around me, and where I live this has brought me, as a response, to do what I do and act how I act. [Reflection] serves as a “feedback loop” including one’s own circumstances and interests which, in turn, affects what surrounds them.

Cómo se mete tu trabajo del blog en esta definición?

How does your work with your blog fit in with that definition?

ER: The Rosillo´s Rover es un blog de cultura y ocio alternativo en Madrid (y lo que surja, claro). Decidí crearlo a raíz de mi primera visita al famoso open mic de la Triskel Tavern (en Tribunal). Allí conocí a muchas personas que trabajaban y compartían su talento. Gran parte de esas personas jamás llegarán a ser retratadas en un medio de comunicación generalista. Pero eso no significa que carezcan de talento, ni que sean menos válidas que aquellas que sí aparecen en estos mismos medios. Más bien al contrario, en aquella ocasión creí ver una fuente de talento e ilusión (y amistad) que me hizo desear dar a conocer al mundo a estas personas.

ER: The Rosillo’s Rover is a blog about culture and alternative entertainment in Madrid (and whatever else might come up along with that, of course). I decided to start this blog as a result of my first visit to the famous Open Mic at Triskel Tavern (in Tribunal, Madrid). There I met a lot of people who were working and sharing their talent. Most of these people will never been featured in mainstream media, but that doesn’t mean that they lack talent, nor that they’re less valid than those that are in the media. On the contrary, they’re often much better, and at the time I believed I saw a wealth of talent and excitement (and friendship) that made me want to share these people [and their work] with the world.

ER: Esa fue mi reflexión, y mi respuesta vino con la creación del blog, con el objetivo de dar a conocer esa circunstancia, ese open mic. Tampoco quiero aparentar lo que no soy; mi blog es, simplemente, otra ventana más abierta al mundo a través de internet. Pero me gustaría pensar que esta pequeña ventana sirve para que alguien que previamente no conociera el trabajo de estos artistas anónimos, de repente sepa de su existencia. Que lea sus nombres y vea sus caras, y escuche su música, o vea sus cuadros, o lea sus libros, o se anime a acudir a sus actuaciones. Me parece una forma humilde y modesta de reivindicar el talento que se esconde, precisamente, en las calles de esta ciudad que tanto me fascina.

ER: That was my reflection, and my response came with creating my blog, with the objective of sharing this circumstance, that open mic. I don’t want to seem like something I’m not; [so] my blog is, simply, another open window to the world through the internet. But I’d like to think that this small window serves a purpose such that someone who didn’t know about these anonymous artists previously, suddenly knows about their existence. That they read their names, see their faces, listen to their music, look at their paintings, read their books, or get inspired to attend their performances. To me it seems like a humble and modest form of reclaiming the talent that’s concealed, precisely, in the streets of this city that fascinates me so.

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: David Figueroa

David Figueroa estudió arquitectura y también diseña camisetas, escribe microrelatos, saca fotografías, mientras combina todo en su tienda Básic Barcelona (Carrier Portal Nou 17).  Le conocimos a David durante el viaje que hicimos en el verano de 2013.  Su arte y buenas vibras se encuentran en su tienda que representa un lugar donde también invita a otros artistas a compartir sus voces y palabras. En la entrevista, David comparte su narrativa global y nos invita a charlar sobre Reflexión y Respuesta, y varios otros temas sobre una mesa con tazas de café en Barcelona. 

Artist David Figueroa studied architecture and also designs T-shirts, writes micro-fiction stories, takes photographs and combines all of these mediums in his shop Básic Barcelona (Carrier Portal Nou 17).  We first met David during the LIFESTYLE trip to Spain in Summer 2013. His shop space is filled with his work and represents a place where other creators can also come to share their voices and words. In this interview, David shares his global narrative and invites us all to discuss Reflection and Response, and various other topics over cups of coffee straight out of Barcelona.

David Figueroa

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicos de dónde eres y dónde estás ahora?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

DF: Soy de Colombia, soy arquitecto y llegue hace doce años y medio aquí a Barcelona. Vine con mi hijo pequeño y mi ex esposa y aquí estoy en Barcelona. Vine a Cerdanyola, luego estuve un tiempo en Estados Unidos , 6 meses. Luego vine aquí, he vivido en Gracia, en el Raval, en Sagrada Familia, en el Borne. Me gusta mucho el centro, el ambiente del centro.

DF: I’m an architect from Columbia and I came to Barcelona twelve and a half years ago with my young son and my ex-wife. I first came to Cerdanyola, then lived in the United States for six months. Finally I moved here [to Barcelona] and I’ve lived in Gracia, in Raval, Sagrada Familia, and el Borne. I really enjoy the environment of living in the center of the city.

Que quiere decir reflección y respuesta para ti y cómo se mete esta definición en tu arte?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you, and how do you locate those ideas in your artwork?

DF: Reflección es lo que nos tiene que inspirar, el arte; el pensamiento crítico o no. Yo creo que el arte no es gratis si no sale porque si… nos hace como respuesta a algo en que esto es personal. Que realmente tienen que ver con algo más global. Una respuesta social. Es parte de donde has estado, el sitio, todo lo que estas viviendo.

DF: Reflection refers to what inspires us artistically, expressed critically or non-critically. I believe that art isn’t free [from experience] and comes out in response to something personal [in the artist’s life]. I believe we need to actually view art with a more global perspective and a social response. This is shaped [differently for every individual, depending on] the places you’ve seen and your unique life experiences.

David Figueroa - Cilantro

David Figueroa – Cilantro

DF: Mi arte, yo no sé si considerarlo arte. Si que es una expresión gráfica en este caso con las camisetas es diseño gráfico y si que hay respuesta a muchas cosas pero sobre todo personales lo mismo. Las cosas que me gustan y que me gustaría compartir. Por ejemplo un diseño que he gustado muchísimo y tiene muy buena respuesta es del cilantro. El Cilantro es una yerba que utilizamos para cocinar en Colombia. Es cómo el sabor de casa, algo que añoramos y que nos identifica muchos que estamos aquí que somos de fuera. Luego también sueño de infancia de tener un Mustang, pues mira es casi siempre (sueñas con) tener un Mustang, pero tienes por lo menos una camiseta.

DF: I don’t know whether to consider my work “art”. It’s true that my pieces are graphic expressions, and the [screen-printed] T-shirts certainly represent graphic design and involve response, mostly to personal issues – themes that I enjoy and that I’d like to share with others. For example, the “cilantro” t-shirt is a design that I’m passionate about and that has had a strong response from others. Cilantro is an herb that we use for cooking in Colombia. It represents the flavor of home, something that we miss, and is part of the identity of those that live here but are not from here. [Another design concept I’ve been working with involves] a childhood dream of owning a Mustang – although you can have this aspiration forever without actually owning a Mustang, at least you can have one printed on a t-shirt.

David Figueroa - Mustang

David Figueroa – Mustang

DF: Yo también hago fotografía y escribo. Escribo microrelatos y cosas cortas, y hay unas cosas que están en plan más en camisetas también. Es algo más íntimo, más mío y me gusta eso que la gente lo pueda llevar. Normalmente para los diseños utilizo fotografía, la retoco en Fotoshop y en Illustrator. Hay una que también me gusta mucha y que ya tenía muy buena respuesta que es una fotografía que hice en Marruecos en la playa. Un turista típico con sombrilla y calcetines blancos, shorts-guiri típico haciendo una foto. Queda en el sol en la playa, o sea que perfecto con eso hay que hacer algo. Luego viene lo de el concepto del turista. Por eso quise poner el texto de “I’m not a tourist.” Porque también hay una cosa de viajar: tu puedes ser un viajero pero no un turista, un turista típico. Es una especie de critica también, y por eso me gusta que ha tenido tan buena aceptación.

DF: I also take photographs and write. I write short stories, short pieces, some of which I incorporate into my t-shirt designs. These are intimate pieces that feel very much mine and I like that people can wear these pieces. For my designs, I typically work from a photograph, using Photoshop and Illustrator for retouching and editing. Another one of my favorite pieces that has had a positive reaction is a photo that I took on the beach in Morocco: an archetypical Western tourist holding an umbrella, wearing high white socks and shorts, taking a picture. The tourist is standing in the sun on the beach – an image I knew I had to do something with. Thinking of the whole concept of an archetypical “tourist,” I wanted to include the text “I’m not a tourist” to suggest that one can be a traveler without being a tourist.  This piece represents that criticism, which is one reason why I’m happy that it has had such a positive reaction.

David Figueroa - I'm Not a Tourist

David Figueroa – I’m Not a Tourist

Que más estás haciendo actualmente y que proyecto estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

What else are you doing currently and what projects are you thinking about working on next?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Damjana Jokic

Damjana is an artist whose explorations come from various places including her hometown of Vojvodina, Serbia and her current location in Madrid, Spain. Her art is tied into questioning the world around us and uses visual mediums to reflect on and respond to human nature, challenging accepted beliefs. We welcome the words and ideas of Damjana to the LIFESTYLE Collective with our dialogue below and samples of her work!


What are the problems of the world that we live in that are affecting us as artists and towards which we cannot be indifferent?

– Damjana Jokic

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

DJ: I’m from Serbia, and have  been living in Madrid for the last nine years.

I just finished my Art Manifest, where I invite all “The Makers of Reality” to join and gather around the idea, and that is an indefinite love towards the art, the strength of a human spirit and the creative force. For the Makers of reality  it’s important to be brave, the truth when we create and we are moved by cosmic force and intuition.

We want to finish with the fake, superficial, banal and decorative art that is offered by the galleries.

Damjana Jokic - Bitter Mud of Experience (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Bitter Mud of Experience (2005)

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

DJ: The world is a picture that is inspiring me. My observations, reactions and my emotions towards it, are leading me to my projects. The projects are the response of my reflections. 

How does “Living in between of everyday life” fit in with that definition?

DJ: My project is called “Living in between of everyday life”. We live in between of everyday life, in the metaphysical space, marginalized. I see that as a problem of the crisis of our spirit, consciousness, and values. The concretizing the problem would be showing the intoxication that we are exposed. The essence is that everything that is surrounding us is something that is constantly making us stupid. The absurd of our existence I see in our own impotence to change something that is obvious. Should the artists be more radical, devoted and sharper in their critic?

Damjana Jokic - Living In Between of Everyday Life (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Living In Between of Everyday Life (2005)

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

DJ: I am interested in the new generations, where are they going in life and in art? I have  been painting and making graphic prints, videos.

I would like to make an art movement on a bigger scale. 

Who or what inspires you?

DJ: The new generations live in the world that is a picture that inspires the search for an answer to the question: Where are we going? The need for the truth and understanding the world that I live in, revealing the human nature.

What are the problems of the world that we live in that are affecting us as artists and towards which we cannot be indifferent? We live the consequences of the capitalism that is pushing us towards neo fascism, slavery and ignorance. That is making us vulnerable taking away our dignity little by little. How is that affecting art and artists? 

Damjana Jokic - Arrival (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Arrival (2005)

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

DJ: I think that  art today needs to get back to the traditional values meaning to perfect the form, technique and the spiritual essence of an artist. Also needs to have a clear moral message, meaning to discover the floods of a contemporary social ethic and to offer a  new esthetic. If the art doesn’t have those elements then its kitsch!

Makers of the Reality are also pursuing the Little happiness!

What is the personal happiness?

The possibility to question our own life, when we know who are we and why we exist!!!

Damjana Jokic - Mud (2005)

Damjana Jokic – Mud (2005)

Reflection and Response.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Artist Feature: Javier Blanco

El estudio de Javier Blanco se encuentra en una calle estrecha empedrada en el Barrio Gótico en Barcelona, un barrio histórico y energético. Andabamos en el barrio un día durante nuestro viaje a España el verano pasado cuando encontramos el estudio/tienda/taller en el que se ve las varias obras y piezas en escultura, dibujo, y diseño gráfico del artista. Después de una charla inicial optimista en su espacio llena de bienvenida, volvimos unos días después para hablar más con Javier de Reflexión y Respuesta, su trabajo, y las experiencias de su vida. Nos sentamos en el cuarto interior y la discusión resultante, que se presenta debajo, muestra su perspectiva reveladora acera del arte y interacciones interpersonales.

Javier Blanco’s art studio is located on a quiet, narrow cobblestone street in the historic and energetic Gothic district in Barcelona. We were walking through the neighborhood one day while traveling through Spain this past summer, and came across Javier’s studio/shop/workspace featuring his various creative works in sculpture, drawing, and graphic design. After a great initial conversation in his welcoming space, we came back a few days later to talk further about Reflection and Response and Javier’s work and life experiences. We sat down in Javier’s office in the back room of the space and the ensuing dialogue, recorded below, showcases this artist’s engaging and enlightening perspectives on the arts and interpersonal interactions.

Javier Blanco

Para mi el arte desde principio es una forma de reflexionar. Hay una frase en el catalá que es “hago mi obra porque me ayuda a pensar a sentir a entender el mundo en el que vivo.” Es una manera de entender. La ciencia formaliza el conocimiento mediante una formulación matemática. El arte lo formaliza mediante una forma estética pero es conocimiento en definitiva. En este proceso de crear esculturas es en el que de alguna manera voy reflexionando acerca de como entiendo el mundo como entiendo las diferentes cosas, no solo el mundo también las relaciones interpersonales.

For me, art is, at its core, a form of reflection. There’s a phrase in Catalan that says: “I make my work because it helps me think, feel, and understand the world in which I live.” Art is a form of understanding. Science formalizes knowledge by means of mathematic formulas. Art formalizes aesthetic forms, but this is knowledge, by definition. The process of creating sculpture involves some form of reflecting on how I understand the world, how I understand different things – not just the world, but my relationships with other people.

– Javier Blanco

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicos, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

JB: ¿De donde vengo físicamente o de dónde vengo emocionalmente?

JB: Where I come from physically or emotionally?

Los dos.


JB: Yo nací en Barcelona y sigo en Barcelona. Bueno he vivido en Canadá en Toronto pero durante un año académico pero mayormente  (he vivido) vivo siempre en Barcelona. En principio empecé a hacer cosas así a un nivel artístico ya a partir de 20 años cuando por un casual fui a una escuela de diseño y arte y bueno me pusieron a dibujar y en el primer dibujo que hice dije joder eso es lo mío y hasta entonces había sido muy mal estudiante. A partir de ahí me apunte a bellas artes, estudie bellas artes paralelamente hice aquí un diseño para la escuela en que utilizaba el vidrio. Contacte con el socio amigo de un tío mío que trabaja vidrio – mi tío tenía un taller de vidrio – para poder hacer esta pieza que había yo diseñado. Entonces me asisteron me ayudaron a hacerla y me dieron el contacto de la escuela de vidro donde fui y estuve haciendo los estudios de vidrio parallelmente a los estudios de bellas artes y la especialidad de escutula. La misma escuela de vidrio me dio una beca para estar un año en Canadá en una escuela en el Sheridan College hacieno el programa de diseño y arte en vidrio y a la vuelta estuve trabajando un tiempo en la escula de aqui, preparando y haciendo los talleres de fotografía y también luego de professor de esutula de vidro y de diseño en vidrio.

Con lo cual mi trayectoria siempre ha sido el trabajo del arte y en concreto escrutura del vidrio pero ahi si que es verdad que es donde un poco esta mi dualidad o no un tema en el sentido en que hasta que punto me considero o me consideran artista en vidrio siempre de alguna manera para mi por más que he trabajo mucho con él y en principio conozco y entiendo bien casi toda su técnicas no todas y no deja de ser un material es un material como hay otros. Entonces a la hora de hacer arte lo trato como tal. Cuando me interesa el vidrio como material lo uso, cuando me interesa otro material uso otro material. No me considero artista en vidrio porque no necesito que mi arte se exprese en vidrio. Se puede expresar y de hecho se representó durante tiempo en todo tipo de material contanto pues con como un color de la palta un pintor usa.

Para mi cada material tiene una personalidad propia y evidentemente está diciendo una cosa no concreta pero si está surgiendo con la cual el significado de una pieza por el hecho de ser un material o una mezcla de materiales es uno u otro. En este sentio me limito, si quiero hacer solo vidrio me limito. Las  piezas que son en vidro son las que llamaron major más la atención. De tal manera que por parte de interioristas, de arquitectos , este trabajo en vidrio es lo que de alguna manera me han venido a reclamar mayormente y el estudio mio que es de arte y vidrio durante bastantes años estaba dedicado bastante a hacer encargos para casas particulares para organismos oficiales para diferentes sitios así como incluso trofeos, no sé hay una lista de clientes. En el que normalmente me han venido a buscar es la facultad de vidrio. Quiero decir con eso que yo utilizo muchos materiales pero profesionalmente quizá se me busca en esta faceta de vidrio más que en otras. Doy que actualmente eso durante los últimos dos o tres años ha cambiado y los 10 años anteriores estaba haciendo especialmente encargos de vidrio.

Actualmente no es tan asi sino que estos encargos para arquitectura para el interiorismo han bajado mucho y me han dejado la oportunidad de empezar otra vez de volver otra vez hacer piezas más personales digamos con lo cual me estoy dedicando últimamente más a hacer piezas quizás de pequeño formato quizá más fáciles de asumir porque me interesa que el estudio sea más dinámico yo como un punto de interés que tanto en vidro como no en vidrio siempre he tenido este hecho de llegar al público. No me interesa excesivamente el arte como objeto elitista sino que me interesan mucho los procesos de poder llegar a todo el mundo. Por lo tanto como es escultura ya iniciada la acción no es escultura interactiva donde quizá no era necesario comprarla por parte del público porque no tenía necesidad, pero si que me interesaba que el público participase y me gusta la idea de que el público en esta escultura se exprease se disfrustase jugase con ella incluso los niños hacían cola para subirse pueden subir en ella. Esto ha ido variando y actualmente loresuelvoo de otra manera. Lo resulevo mediante el diseño de manera que el arte se funde en esta pieza que utilizas y lo resuelvo también mediante la pequena pieza de diseño escultura, diseño muy personal que es más fácil por parte de todo el mundo de poder comprar de manera que si me interesa que no solo una elite pueda comprarlo.

JB: I was born in Barcelona and I still live in Barcelona. I studied in Toronto, Canada for a year, but for the most part I’ve always lived in Barcelona. I started working on my own artistic projects when I was 20 years old, when, by chance, I was attending an art and design school. They put me in a drawing class, and after I made my first drawing I realized “wow, this is me!” – up until that point I had been a really bad student. From then on, I registered for fine arts classes, and studied fine arts while also producing a design for my school, using glass as my medium. I got in touch with my uncle’s business partner who worked with glass – my uncle had a glass workshop – in order to be able to make this piece that I had designed. So they helped me make the piece and they gave me the contact information for a glass art school where I went to study glass work, alongside my studies in fine arts and sculpture. The glass art school gave me a scholarship to study in Canada in a glass art and design program at Sheridan College, and when I returned to Spain, I worked for a while in the school here preparing and facilitating photography workshops and, later, working as a professor of glass sculpture and design.

Thus, my trajectory had always been working with art, specifically glass sculpture, but the truth is that I encounter this duality in the sense that where do I consider myself – or am I considered an artist – working in glass, and though as much as I’ve always been involved with glass in some form or another and understand the vast majority of glass techniques, it remains one material, an art material as any other. So when it’s time to make art, I treat it as such. When glass sparks my interest as a medium, I use it, or when other materials spark my interest, I use other materials. I don’t consider myself a “glass artist” because I don’t need my art to be expressed only through glass. It can be expressed and represented through all types of materials, as with the various colors on a painter’s palette.

For me, every medium has its own personality and conveys something non-specific, but suggests something and the meaning of a piece can be based on the fact that piece is made from one material or another. In this sense, I would limit myself if I only worked with glass. Glass pieces have become my most popular. This glass work is what has drawn interior designers and architects to my work, and for many years, I dedicated most of my art and glass working studio to producing commissioned work for specific houses, organizations, or various other sites – there were a lot of different clients. What they would usually seek me out for was glass work. What I mean by all this is that I work with many different mediums but professionally I’m known more for glass work than anything else. Granted, this has changed a bit during the last two or three years, but for 10 years prior to that, I was primarily producing commissioned glass sculptures.

Right now, I have fewer commissions for interior design or architecture projects, which has given me the opportunity to get back to creating more personal pieces that I’m ultimately dedicated to, creating pieces that might be on a smaller scale, or might be easier to take on because it’s important to me that my studio is dynamic. I’ve tried to make it a point to work as much with glass as with other materials, always with the goal of reaching an audience. I am not particularly interested in art as an object of the elite, instead what attracts me are the various ways to access the world [through art]. As far as this [one specific] project is concerned, because the sculpture had already begun, it’s not an interactive sculpture that I needed to market to the public – instead, I was hoping that audience participation would lead to public expression and enjoyment, and kids even lined up to play on the piece. I explored this theme and now I deal with audience participation in another way. I now focus on participation by making pieces that aim for public interaction and use and I aim to connect with a wide audience through small design pieces, which makes them easier to consume for a greater number of people – which is the whole point of making art accessible beyond the elite.

Blanco Studio Arts and Glass (Barcelona, Spain)

¿Qué quiere decir “relfexión y respuesta,” y cómo se mete esto en tu arte?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you, and how do you locate those ideas in your art and sculpture?

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Events from the Collective

August 2013

  • Saturday, August 24th, 2013 @ 9 pm: Victory Lap live at The Nectar Lounge. (featuring Carlo Mejino, Whitney Killian, Peter Muller, David Boman, Clarke Reid, and Michael Henrichsen)

Reflection and Response.

Events from the Collective is a calendar of upcoming events from the LIFESTYLE collective’s international community. Events can be submitted at anytime to or @LIFESTYLE_RR and will be added to the calendar as they roll in.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: