Tag Archives: España

Artist Feature: Alicia Martínez Díaz

Conocí a Alicia Martínez Díaz por primera vez en un concierto de artistas locales en Madrid en 2012. Era compañera de piso de Amber Stiles, miembro del Colectivo the LIFESTYLE, y en el concierto hablamos de su interesante arte visual ecléctico, que incluye medios tan diversos cómo el mundo musical hasta la publicidad. Dos años después de conocernos seguimos en contacto y estamos alegres de que haya aceptado la oferta de hacer una entrevista con nosotros. En nuestro diálogo, Alicia nos cuenta su proceso creativo, la naturaleza pensativa de la reflexión y la acción de la respuesta. Además describe su proyecto llamado “La Vida de los Otros,” que busca explorar la idea del “desconocido” tras una mezcla de medios diferentes. Abajo disfruta las palabras y unas selecciones de una artista visionaria!

I first met Alicia Martínez Díaz in Madrid in 2012 at a concert where several dope local artists were performing. She was friends with LIFESTYLE Collective member Amber Stiles, and at the concert we spoke about her eclectic visual art projects, ranging from working with musicians to advertising. Two years later, we remained in contact and we’re delighted that she accepted an interview spot for an Artist Feature. Throughout our dialogue, Alicia delves into her creative process, the pensive nature of reflection, and the active nature of response. She also describes her exciting project “The Lives of Others,” that seeks to explore the idea of the “stranger” through a milieu of different mediums. Enjoy the words and selected pieces from this visionary artist below!

Alicia Martínez Díaz

Mi proyecto fotográfico denominado “La vida de los otros”…recoge y muestra mi mirada, mis pensamientos y conclusiones, sobre personas que no conozco y que veo pasar; las personas que pasan por mi vida directa o indirectamente, las que están y las que no están, y todas las historias que imagino al verlas, las historias que me sugieren los enigmas que parecen rodearlas.

My photo project “The Lives of Others”…gathers and showcases my vision, thoughts, and conclusions concerning strangers that I see but don’t know; those that pass through my life directly or indirectly, those that are here and those that aren’t, and all the stories that I imagine upon seeing them, stories that suggest the oddities that seem to revolve around people.

– Alicia Martínez Díaz

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?

AMD: Soy Alicia, de algún lugar de la Mancha, y resido en Madrid (España) desde hace más de 15 años, ciudad que conozco por tanto muy bien y que cumple a la perfección el dicho: “de Madrid al cielo”. Y debe de ser verdad, porque aunque siempre estoy ávida por conocer lugares nuevos, siempre estoy ávida también por regresar después. Estudié un símil de Bellas Artes en un lugar tan peculiar como la Casa de la Moneda, en otras palabras, el lugar donde se fabrica el dinero en España. Mientras de día aprendía con una mano a grabar, dibujar y diseñar becada y mimada durante 4 años; con la otra, de noche, y de manera eventual para conseguir algo de dinero extra, destruía con una troqueladora millones de euros empaquetados en fajos de billetes… irónico, y un acto que, aunque no tuviera nada que ver con el aspecto artístico, tenía su evidente carga simbólica y sirve de ayuda para relativizar la importancia a lo material y concentrarse en el lado más espiritual de la vida. Desde hace más de diez años soy cofundadora de mi propio estudio de diseño (91Nueveuno), pequeño y con ganas de ayudar a aquellos que nos llaman a descubrir lo que necesitan y todavía no saben, haciendo de medium entre lo utilitario y lo artístico. Pero mi pasión real son los libros, la música y, sobre todo, fotografiar.

AMD: My name is Alicia, I’m from a place in la Mancha, and I’ve been living in Madrid for over 15 years – so it’s a city that I know really well and it fulfills the saying “de Madrid al cielo” (“from Madrid to Heaven”). And it must be true, because although I’m always eager to get to know new places, I’m also always eager to return [to Madrid] afterwards. I studied Fine Arts in a place as strange as la Casa de la Moneda (the Royal Mint), in other words, the place where they print money in Spain. Meanwhile, during the day I studied film, drawing, and design on a 4-year scholarship; on the other hand, at night, in a sporadic way in order to earn a little extra money, I used a machine press to turn thousands of packaged euros into bundles of bills… ironic, and an act that, although it had nothing to do with the arts, had it’s own apparent symbolic responsibility, and served to help me diminish the importance of material [things] and concentrate on the more spiritual side of life. For over ten years I’ve been the cofounder of my own design studio (91Nuevueno), a small project with the desire to help those who ask us to discover what they need but don’t already know, operating in between utilitarian and artistic aspects. But my real passions are books, music, and more than anything, photography.

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Barcelona

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Barcelona

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Berlin

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Berlin

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

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AMD: Para mí, reflexión es pararse a pensar. La respuesta, casi siempre, actuar. Reflexionar es hacer un repaso de nuestro “histórico” personal, emocional, intelectual (y, en mi caso, especialmente importante también, el visual) y, en base a nuestro objetivo previo, decidir qué deseamos hacer. Con todo ello en mi cabeza y sin que la reflexión sea eterna para no caer en la “parálisis por análisis”, me dispongo “a pasar a limpio” lo dibujado y escrito en mi mente, ya sea diseñando o fotografiando. Pasando a una dimensión real esos planos de mi pensamiento. De todos modos lo que realmente lo inunda todo, tanto en lo personal como en lo profesional, es el factor X de la intuición. Ese intangible mágico y decisorio que se encuentra entre la reflexión y la respuesta. Para mí es lo realmente determinante. Y que en el caso del artista es lo realmente fundamental. Yo diría que ahí es donde reside el verdadero talento.

AMD: For me, reflection means to stop and think. Response, almost always, is to act. Reflection involves taking another look at our personal, emotional, intellectual (and, especially important in my case, visual) “histories,” and based on our individual objectives, deciding what we’d like to do. With all this in my mind, however, I run the risk of falling into the trap of reflection leading to “paralysis via over-analysis,” and I often start over from scratch both in design and photography.

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz - Madrid

Alicia Martínez Díaz – Madrid

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AMD: Es diferente, aunque no radicalmente, si se trata por tanto de un proyecto personal o de un encargo por parte de un cliente. Cuando se trata de un encargo en el desarrollo de la reflexión serán claves también las premisas del briefing del proyecto y, aunque el resto de pasos del proceso sean los mismos, será necesario sumar un análisis más condicionado y un timing más estricto, eso seguro, pero también debe satisfacerme a mí además de al cliente. Jugar como decía entre lo utilitario y lo artístico. En el proyecto personal los límites los pongo yo. Es más experimental: lo emocional y lo intuitivo lo llenan todo…

AMD: This is different, though not radically, depending on whether I’m working on a project for a client or a personal project. For orders, the premise of the client’s instructions are instrumental for reflection, and though the [creative] process is the same [as a personal project], working for a client is more conditional and requires strict timing; however client orders should be satisfying for both the customer and myself. [This process] involves working between pragmaticism and artistry. [Alternatively,] I set the limits on personal projects. These are more experimental: these are projects filled with emotion and intuition.

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

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

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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?

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Artist Feature: Bosa

I first met the dude Bosa in Madrid, Spain when I was looking for someone to pick up my MIDI keyboard and PA speakers before I moved back to the US. Upon meeting him, it was dope to know that this equipment would be going to someone active and dedicated to his craft. Bosa is a composer, videographer, and rapper from New Jersey that is currently based in Madrid. Already having put out numerous records, his upcoming debut album Futures We Remember is currently in production with a release date at the end of the summer. Bosa starts off his interview with a LIFESTYLE feature first!! He breaks the ice with an original video featuring a verse on Reflection and Response along with further ideas stemming from the interview questions and shout outs to the many people he is working with in Spain. In the accompanying written piece, Bosa discusses his new record as an example of musical Response and also lets us know that it’s important to live the arts we practice, not just use them in our daily lives. Bosa is quickly becoming a fixture in the musically active landscape of Madrid and we look forward to witnessing his future work. Peep the dialogue below and be sure to check out the pics and clips Bosa has provided along with his groundbreaking intro video!

Bosa | Photo by Khaelin Damm

Bosa | Photo by Khaelin Damm

My first album, “Futures We Remember”, is a musical response to the reflection I hope to see of myself when I look in the mirror. The meaning of that is up for interpretation. For me it refers to all the dreams I have about music and the life that accompanies it.

– Bosa

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

B: I was born and raised in Lumberton, New Jersey. It’s your everyday suburban town, not far from Philadelphia. I also spent four wild years at Syracuse University “studying” broadcast journalism.

Since I finished school a few years back I’ve been living in Madrid, Spain. It’s my little heaven on Earth and I can’t imagine leaving anytime soon. It’s a city full of life, culture, and groovy people. Also an absurd amount of jamón.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

B: At this point in my life “Reflection and Response” means finally taking a complete leap of faith as an artist. A good friend of mine told me one simple thing that has always stuck with me.

“My brotha, you can’t make music or do art you have to live it” – The Other

It’s not a crazy concept to understand but it’s one hell of a task to actually do. Music is everything for me. I think about it the same way one would crush on the cute girl in grade school. I daydream about concerts and making the perfect song a thousand times a day.

Reflecting on this I know I’d never forgive myself for not asking out music before the big dance. So my response is to do everything in my power to get her to notice me.  

Bosa | Photo by LABL FOTO

Bosa | Photo by LABL FOTO

How does your work fit in with that definition?

B: My first album, “Futures We Remember”, is a musical response to the reflection I hope to see of myself when I look in the mirror. The meaning of that is up for interpretation. For me it refers to all the dreams I have about music and the life that accompanies it. My friends always tell me I have a hyper-active imagination. For better or worse I always try to conjure up ways to turn my ridiculous ideas into reality.

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

B: Outside of the album I’ve been secretly working on dance moves (the same way Zoolander worked on Magnum) and a big release party at the end of the summer. Madrid is one of the funkiest cities I’ve ever been to and it has revived my obsession with disco and Motown culture. If you invite me to your party expect Earth, Wind, & Fire and a Soul Train line to take over your dance floor rather quickly.

The Groovestep era is here Generation-Y. Prepare yourselves.

Who or what inspires you?

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Artist Feature: Zoë Owen

Zoë Owen is a musician and singer-songwriter straight out of Canterbury, England and now resides in Madrid, Spain. While living in Madrid, Zoë has become involved in the city’s vibrant music scene recording solo work while also participating in the 7-piece band “Waiting For Eva,” that includes members from around the world, and a collaboration with a Belgian electronic producer. Our dialogue comments on the power of Reflection against a dangerous current of “distraction,” that can inhibit self-expression, and how Reflection and Response build on each other as symbiotic processes that are continuously happening. Zoë also brings us the interesting stories behind her original works Too Terrified and White Noise. We’re excited to watch as this artist looks to keep building while studying the craft of the ukulele and bringing her music and message to wider audiences.

Zoë Owen

If we do not reflect on our own behavior, and our own experiences or environment, then we are powerless to improve the quality of both our lives and the lives of those around us…If I am honest, I sometimes feel quite scared about how “Distraction” has usurped “Reflection” in modern society.

– Zoë Owen

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

ZO: Pleasure to meet you, I’m Zoë and at this present moment in time I am 28 years of age and residing in Madrid, the capital of Spain. I am a musician, singer and songwriter, living with my folding bicycle and ukulele in an unapologetically cute and colourful apartment in “barrio Malasaña”, the Hipster-heart of Madrid, a city which has been my adoptive home for about 6 years now. Why Madrid? I’m not really sure to be honest… it was a bit of a gamble to leave my somewhat institutionalized English life behind me, but as far as creativity is concerned, I feel like I really hit the jackpot! I came here with the sole intention of learning Spanish, and what I inadvertently found here was a key that unlocked a deeper chamber inside me, one where art and music had been cowering away. That key is the right mixture of people, places and circumstance.

Madrid is quite a far-cry from the places I grew up in. I hail from the leafy suburbs of Canterbury, a picturesque medieval city in England, home to Chaucer’s famous tales and, arguably, the world’s sexiest elf, Orlando Bloom. Aged 18, I swapped Canterbury for Cambridge, where I spent 3 incredibly enchanted years immersed in Latin & Greek literature, dining with Stephen Hawking and living in a spiral tower. Cambridge was the parent that taught me to work hard and aim high, because there is always something better that you can achieve. By contrast, Madrid has been the cheeky devil on my shoulder, testing me, and showing me that sometimes, it’s absolutely ok, if not essential to break the mould and to stop taking everything so damned seriously. And have a mojito. That part is non-negotiable.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

ZO: Nowadays, I would say reflection is the cornerstone of my life, and the principal agent of change. Without reflection we cannot achieve awareness of ourselves and the world around us. If we are not aware then we are not truly in control of our lives and we are resigned to being like the driftwood that Fran Healy sings about. “Floating underwater. Breaking into pieces. Hollow and of no use.” If we do not reflect on our own behavior, and our own experiences or environment, then we are powerless to improve the quality of both our lives and the lives of those around us. I don’t have bread in my house, or a television. I do have a quiet corner and a vase of flowers. If I am honest, I sometimes feel quite scared about how “Distraction” has usurped “Reflection” in modern society.

Response is a little harder for me to define. I think response can come about as a result of reflection or it can prompt reflection. Songwriting for me often begins with response, rather than reflection. I am often inspired to write music as a means of responding to a stimulus (something I have seen or heard). The idea is born in order to respond, but in order to decide what form my response takes, reflection is necessary. I would interpret response as a more subconscious process. We can respond to things quite thoughtlessly sometimes. So I suppose my conclusion is that Reflection & Response is akin to the “Chicken & The Egg” conundrum…

How does your work fit in with that definition?

ZO: I have written a couple of songs, which were essentially responses to feeling powerless. The first, “Too Terrified”, was conceived when I was standing on a balcony in Tuscany. I had just finished university and I honestly had no idea what to do next with my life. The feeling was suffocating and terrifying, and I remember making the connection between the vertigo that I felt being so high on that balcony, and the fact that, metaphorically I felt like I was teetering on the edge of a precipitous cliff and about to jump into the unknown. I used the balcony metaphor in the lyrics of Too Terrified” to reflect on my new situation and the lack of control I felt over where my future was going.

The same feelings are re-evoked in “White Noise”, although this song responds to the feeling of being on a path towards the wrong future, and knowing where the right path is, but ignoring this knowledge. I felt like there was a voice inside me telling me exactly what I really wanted in life, but that I had been ignoring it so strongly that the voice had become a drone, in essence, just white noise. My solo stuff is a lot more depressing than my collaborative work that’s actually more upbeat.

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

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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? 

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Artist Feature: Amber Stiles

Musician and songwriter Amber Stiles is at the center of a talented and inspiring group of artists centered in Madrid, Spain. I met Amber at the well-known Triskel Tavern where musicians from all over the world seemed to find a home on its stage during Thursday open mics. Since playing there, Amber has been performing all over Madrid focusing both on her own material and collaborating with others while beginning recording at Spaceland Records. Peep the dialogue below for Amber’s words on her folk/country music, her artistic growth in the city and other ideas from this expanding and creative artist.

Amber Stiles

One of the reasons I love folk music and country is that it’s generally very simple in form and it allows you to explore subtle variations with your voice, tempo, lyrics, etc. I enjoy singing a song the way that I’m feeling it at that particular moment.

– Amber Stiles

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

AS: I’m from a small town in New York State, about half an hour from the Canadian border. It’s about 6 hours from the City and 4 hours from Buffalo. No one can really figure out where it is. We have a Dairy Princess Parade and obviously lots of cows. I’ve moved around quite a bit since I left home but I’ve spent the last 4 years in Madrid, Spain.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AS: I’ve never really thought about it before but I suppose the word reflection conjures up a few thoughts and images. I associate it with a mental process, a forming of thoughts and beliefs. On the one hand I think it’s important for us to process what we see and what we experience. I interpret and share my experiences to connect with other human beings. But at the same time I think too much introspection can make us overly cerebral and rigid. If we assign an idea a name and call it a belief we’re really limiting ourselves in a lot of ways.

I suppose I relate more to response. I approach music in that way, at least. I don’t try to overanalyze a song or break it down into a set formula. I prefer to intuitively explore things. If I think about what I’m doing too much I get overwhelmed and blocked. Yeah, Response is definitely more interesting for me. I figure my intuition is utilizing more resources within me than my conscious, rationalizing brain can muster.

How does folk music fit in with that definition?

AS: One of the reasons I love folk music and country is that it’s generally very simple in form and it allows you to explore subtle variations with your voice, tempo, lyrics, etc. I enjoy singing a song the way that I’m feeling it at that particular moment. One of my first idols was Billie Holiday and I always admired how much feeling she put into her vocals. Sometimes her songs were sad and slow, other times lively and upbeat. I always try to stay tuned into the meaning of a song and how I’m interpreting it in that moment.

Amber Stiles

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

AS: Recently I’ve been collaborating mostly with Miguel Gonzalez who is a very talented vocalist and gifted songwriter out of Texas. We play acoustic sets at intimate cafés around Madrid which is the atmosphere I feel most comfortable in, really. I’ve also been providing vocals for Padraig O’Connor and Richard Harris, both musicians that I have deep respect for.

My next goals are to write some inspiring songs and get into the studio. Richard Harris is running Spaceland Studio at the moment and it’s a great opportunity to capture a moment in my life with the incredible musicians I’m surrounded by. I’m decidedly lo-fi so taking the plunge into the studio is big for me.

Who or what inspires you? Continue reading

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Artist Feature: Ruben García

Tuvimos la buena fortuna de conocer a Ruben García en 2013 en Granada cuando Ruben me invitó a pinchar en su bar, La Iguana. Ruben nos dio la bienvenida a su bar que utiliza su espacio para ofrecer buenas vibras junto a exposiciones, conciertos, sessiones de DJ, y varias otras actividades creativas. Ruben y la Iguana representan un núcleo creativo en esta ciudad activa y estimulante. En la entrevista abajo, Ruben nos da la bienvenida al Colectivo y comparte sus ideas sobre la importancia de Reflexión y Repuesta, su papel como facilitador de lugares de expresión, y mucho más.

We had the good fortune to get to know Ruben García in 2013 in Granada when Rubin booked me to spin in his bar, La Iguana. He welcomed us to his bar that harbors good vibes while also utilizing its space to present expositions, concerts, DJ sets, and other forms of creative expression. Ruben and la Iguana are an important creative nucleus in this active and stimulating city. In our interview below, Ruben welcomes us into his world and shares his ideas about the benefits of Reflection and Response, his role as a venue facilitator, and other themes.

Ruben García

Y creo, sinceramente, que hay que apoyar a los nuevos valores. Todo el mundo se merece una oportunidad y me siento muy orgulloso de poder hacerlo.

I sincerely believe that we need to support new principles. Everyone deserves an opportunity and I feel very proud to be able to provide that.

– Ruben García

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?

RG: Nací en Madrid, España, donde he pasado la mayor parte de mi vida. Una ciudad increíble que te ofrece un montón de cosas, pero que en el día a día, en la época que nos ha tocado vivir, se hace un poco difícil la supervivencia…

Un buen día, hace ya 10 años, decidí irme a Granada de vacaciones y desde entonces estoy  aquí. Se ha convertido en mi hogar y estoy muy agradecido por las oportunidades y vivencias que esta ciudad me ha dado.

RG: I was born in Madrid, Spain, where I’ve spent most of my life. [Madrid is] an incredible city with lots of stuff going on, but in the day-to-day in the era that we live in, survival is a bit difficult.

One good day 10 years ago, I decided to travel to Granada on vacation and I’ve lived here ever since. It’s become my home and I’m very grateful for the opportunities and experiences that this city has given me.

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

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

RG: Son dos palabras que podrían ajustarse al ideal de cambiar el mundo, pero sinceramente, esto me parece un poco utópico. Creo que para cambiar el mundo,  puesto que es evidente que la mayoría de la gente no estamos de acuerdo con cómo están las cosas, estas palabras deberíamos utilizarlas con honestidad. Empezar por cambiar todo aquello que no nos guste de nosotros, principalmente, y aplicar ese cambio a nuestro día a día. En las cosas pequeñas. Sobre todo con la gente con la que nos relacionamos y la forma que tenemos de hacerlo.

Reflexión: Qué estoy haciendo con mi vida? Me gusta lo que hago y cómo lo hago? Podría mejorar y aportar algo para hacer mi vida y la de los demás, si no más fácil, más divertida?

Respuesta: SIEMPRE SE PUEDE MEJORAR. Y SI CREES EN ALGO, VE A POR ELLO. NADA ES IMPOSIBLE.

RG: These are two words that fit in with [an overall] goal of changing the world, but frankly, this seems a bit utopian to me. I believe that in order to change the world – since it’s evident that the majority of people don’t agree with the way things are – we should use these words honestly. First off, we need to begin by trying to change things about ourselves that we aren’t satisfied with, and apply these changes to our daily lives, [especially] in small ways. More than anything, [we should focus on] people whom we come in close contact with, in the ways in which we do so.

Reflection: What am I doing with my life? Do I like what I do, and how I do it? Can I improve [on what I do] and contribute something more in order to make my life, and the lives of others more pleasant, if not a bit easier?

Response: YOU CAN ALWAYS IMPROVE YOURSELF. AND IF YOU BELIEVE IN SOMETHING, GO FOR IT. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your art fit in with that definition?

RG: Bueno… No puedo definirme a mí mismo como un artista. Eso es tarea de otros.

Sí puedo decirte que soy una persona multidisciplinar, a la que le gusta “jugar” en diferentes campos, relacionados de alguna manera con el arte: diseño gráfico, sesiones de música, fotografía, moda… Pero lo de considerarme un artista, me viene un poco grande!

Con mi proyecto actual, un bar llamado LA IGUANA,  intento ayudar y darle una oportunidad a gente que tiene algo que enseñar o que decir. No es sólo un bar. Es también una plataforma donde artistas de diferentes disciplinas pueden mostrar sus ideas. Ofrecemos un espacio en el que quien quiera, es bienvenido y valorado. Colaboramos con músicos, fotógrafos, pintores, disc jockeys… Tengo la suerte de vivir en una ciudad que cuenta con gente muy activa y con muchas ganas de hacer cosas. Y creo, sinceramente, que hay que apoyar a los nuevos valores. Todo el mundo se merece una oportunidad y me siento muy orgulloso de poder hacerlo.

Tienes una idea y no puedes mostrarla? Vente a La Iguana!

RG: Well…I can’t really call myself an artist. That’s other people’s job.

I’d tell you [instead] that I’m a multidisciplinary person who likes “playing” in different fields, in some way connected with art: graphic design, music, photography, fashion…But to consider myself an artist seems to me a bit profound!

With my current project, a bar called La Iguana, I’m trying to help out and provide opportunities to people who have something to teach or say. It’s not just a bar. It’s also a platform where artists from various disciplines can share their ideas. We provide a space where anybody that wants to [participate] is welcome and valued. We collaborate with musicians, photographers, painters, DJ’s…I’m lucky enough to live in a city with people who are very active and have strong desires to do things. I sincerely believe that we need to support new principles. Everyone deserves an opportunity and I feel very proud to be able to provide that.

Have an idea and aren’t able to show it anywhere? Come to La Iguana!

La Iguana

La Iguana – Granada, España

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Artist Feature: Clarke Reid

Clarke Reid is a musician and traveler who we first met in his hometown of Seattle, Washington. He’s played a variety of music, an eclecticism made ever wider by the distances he’s traveled. Whether playing with Seattle-based the Cumbieros or wielding a ukulele throughout Andalucía, Spain, music has been an important common ground for this creator. We welcome Clarke to the Collective to speak on his unique perspective on Reflection and Response, the social nature of music, and other topics from our dude straight out of Pozoblanco, Spain.

Clarke Reid

Response is what just naturally comes out of being in new situations and playing music with new people.

– Clarke Reid

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

CR: I’m from Seattle, in the United States. I currently live in a town called Pozoblanco, which is in the Cordoba province of Andalucía, Spain. I’m doing a yearlong program here where I’m like the native English-speaking assistant in a public high school.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

CR: Deliberate reflection is probably something I should do more often. The Alarm on my phone that wakes me up in the morning is titled “look up, notice little things.” It’s something I got from reading  “peace is every step” by Buddhist teacher, philosopher, etc. Thich Nhat Hahn and its a reminder to slow down and relax and notice what’s going on around me and enjoy it. It’s something I don’t do often enough, but when I do it’s awesome. Especially when I’m traveling or living in another country and running around all the time and trying new things, it’s important to slow down and reflect on things. Like, if I feel like crap sometimes I don’t even realize it until I slow down for a sec and think about it and then think about why. Or if I’m feeling great (often a result of just having eaten a wholesome meal, being outside in nice weather, an unexpectedly pleasant exchange with a stranger, a laugh with a friend, or any combination of many other things) its nice to recognize it and revel in it. Then I have to respond. Like I said I’m still working on it. One thing I’m trying to do right now is sleep more and drink less. And get sick less (like cold/flu sick).

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, so when it comes to music, reflection and response is about noticing what kind of inspiration is around me and really trying to dive into that. When I was younger my dad listened to a lot of progressive rock from the 70s so I got into that. My high school had a really good jazz band so in high school I listened to a lot of jazz and was really influenced by that. In college I had a music professor that was more into experimental music and free jazz so I tried that and learned a lot of new things. I was also part of a hip-hop band so I started checking out more of that culture and music. The story goes on and on like that, including a year living in Chile and some other travels. Now I live in Spain and I’m doing the same thing. I’d like to think that I’m constantly responding and changing and evolving my style and music and stuff, but I haven’t really studied music formally recently so it’s harder to see and measure exactly how I’m changing. I guess the response is what just naturally comes out of being in new situations and playing music with new people. Maybe sometime in the near future I’ll sit down and really reflect and play something or write some material that brings everything together. That would be a good goal actually.

How do “The Other Side of the River” and “Woodle” fit in with that definition?

CR: Firstly, “The Other Side of the River” is written for ukulele, which is an instrument that I bought recently when I discovered it’s a great travel instrument. It’s portable and can be used to jam with other instruments, by itself, or with singing. So it fits with the sort of traveling chameleon approach I’m taking to music in general right now. It also incorporates some elements of flamenco (the clapping) that I’ve been exposed to here in Andalucía. The recording is a bit of a rough draft. It has a fiddle line that I still need to record and I’d like to get some more Spanish ‘jaleo’ on the track too (shouts of encouragement, percussion, etc.).

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Artist Feature: Alba Fernández

Alba Fernzández es una emprendedora Española qué trabaja con las manos para explorar varios mundos usando la tela como su guía. Tiene una energía y dedicación impresionante para gestionar su propia marca de artesanías tejidas y otros productos más. En nuestro diálogo, Alba explora varias facetas del funcionamiento de un trabajo artesanal mientras promueve los positivos de trabajar con las manos y inspirar la creatividad, comparte su propia perspectiva de la Reflexión y Respuesta y comenta en varios tópicos más. ¡Estámos emocionados por dar la palabra a esta mente creativa y trabajadora!

Alba Fernández is a Spanish entrepreneur who works with her hands to explore various worlds using fabric as her guide. She possesses an impressive energy and dedication in managing her own company that produces goods including knit accessories and more. In our conversation, Alba explores different aspects of running her handicraft business while promoting the benefits of working with one’s hands and striving to inspire creativity, shares her unique perspective on Reflection and Response, and speaks on various other topics. We’re excited to give the floor to this creative and hard working individual!

Alba Fernández

Reflexión es plantearte como haces las cosas, para qué, por qué y de que manera las haces. Creo que es positivo reflexionar continuamente y reformularte nuevos retos y maneras de actuar.

Reflection is deciding how to do things, to what end, why, and how you go about doing them. I believe it’s positive to continually reflect, set new goals, and act in new ways.

– Alba Fernández

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?

AF: Soy de Madrid y actualmente vivo aquí, aun que por temporadas, llevo unos cuantos años pasando temporadas en diferentes lugares por motivos de trabajo.

AF: I’m from, and currently live in, Madrid, though I’ve also lived in a few other places for work reasons over the years.

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

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

AF: Reflexión es plantearte como haces las cosas, para qué, por qué y de que manera las haces. Creo que es positivo reflexionar continuamente y reformularte nuevos retos y maneras de actuar.

Respuesta: Se supone que la respuesta, es la consecuencia directa de la reflexión, pero en mi caso, muchas veces la respuesta sale sola, sin pensar, de manera impulsiva. Luego te toca reflexionar sobre la respuesta.

AF: Reflection is deciding how to do things, to what end, why, and how you go about doing them. I believe it’s positive to continually reflect, set new goals, and act in new ways.

Response should be the direct response that comes from Reflection, but for me many times Response happens on it’s own, impulsively, without thinking. Then, it’s time to Reflect about that Response.

Alba Fernández - Knit Cap

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your work fit in with that definition?

AF: Bueno las cosas que yo hago artesanalmente, en parte tienen una reflexión previa de cara a nuevas formas, nuevos materiales, replantear cosas ya hechas que funcionan, se venden bien. Adaptarte a los gustos del momento, investigar nuevas técnicas…

Como respuesta, vería el producto ya acabado, las creaciones, el feed back de la gente cuando ve tu artesanía y te da su opinión. La manera de venderla. También te cambia mucho el concepto como compradora en tu vida diaria, cuando tu inviertes tu tiempo y esfuerzo en hacer artesanía, te vuelves más crítica con los productos de los demás, los valoras de un modo más positivo, ya que entiendes el trabajo que lleva hacerlos. Por el contrario, las cosas que no son elaboradas artesanalmente, pierden mucho valor para tí y dejas de pagar por ellas las cantidades que antes podrías pagar. 

AF: The artisan handicrafts I work on involve initial reflections on new forms [of objects], new materials and repeating previous ideas that were successful and that sold well. [Also, Reflection and Response includes] adapting to current tastes and trends and researching new techniques.   

I would say Response [is activated] when I receive  feedback and opinions from people about my finished products. [Response is also important] when looking at sales. Producing artisan goods can change one’s thinking when making purchases throughout daily life; you can become [more interested] in others’ pieces when [you yourself] are investing time and energy in creating crafts, [which leads to a greater] understanding the time and effort that goes into craftsmanship. On the other hand, pieces that are not made through complex craft processes are less valuable to you and you find yourself paying less for them than you might have before.

Alba Fernández - Knit Scarf

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

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

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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.

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