My work is all about portraying the strange, unusual side to our life. I’m interested in shedding light on the small monsters we hide away in the dark corners of our head or our society and showing that these awkward things are also beautiful and fascinating. I try to reveal the beauty behind the strange and the unknown – beauty we resist discovering. I do this through simple, direct drawings and illustrations. I work very carefully on colours and always create a narrative for each piece, because I want people to fall in love with that strange part of life and also feel entertained at the same time.
1. What made you choose art as a profession?
My father painted and we lived in a studio, so I guess I had a kind of circumstantial predisposition. Right from the start I understood that painting and drawing helped me work on certain questions that fired me up. It soon became a need and my best hobby, so I decided to make it my profession. I think that if you love what you do, you’ll be able to do better things.
2. How would you define your work?
I always try to keep my work sharp by simplifying details and using symbols and preconceived ideas that help me create easily identifiable elements. I work with a lot of detail in terms of colour and always add a narrative to each piece to give it a specific story.
3. What subjects are you interested in?
Most of all I like to explore the darkest side to our life where all the strange, awkward things are stored and which we sometimes look at more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. I like to use different approaches to probe different aspects of this strange or unusual part of our life and always try to throw some light and warmth onto it. I like showing that someone can be odd or different to the rest, yet still be human, someone who also cries, laughs, has hopes and fears… That we’re not that different, just separated by a series of preconceived and surely outdated ideas.
4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
As I’ve said, my work features highly iconic images and lots of visual conventions and symbols. I create it for two main reasons: firstly, clear, simple forms let the message get through directly without any ambiguity; and secondly, because I like talking about the odd, unusual sides to life, I use a broad, widely understood visual language. It’s about using the same codes for everyone, both “normal” and “abnormal” people.
Going back to the use of symbols and icons, I should add that I also invent my own symbols with their own meanings to add something more to my pieces.
Without a doubt, a major resource in my work is colour. I spend a lot of time on each piece working very carefully on the colours. I want to make my pieces really powerful by using colour, as it helps get the message across more directly. I use colour to hit people like a revelation; it grabs you from afar and you’re drawn closer to see more.
5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
I explore the idea of the strange, lesser-known part of our life, which is clearly directly related to reality. Our society tends to push everything that’s different from the majority to one side and we work hard to create that other dimension where all those marginal elements can live without being scorned by the masses.
My raw material is everything that has been or still is seen as odd, strange, marginal, peripheral… Everything that lots of people are uncomfortable with, basically because they’re afraid of it.
6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
In my opinion, at the end of the day the point of art is to entertain. Then there are forms of art that can make you think about different things, or others that spark primary feelings as well, but basically the point of art is entertainment.
7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
What I’d like most of all is for people to stand in front of one of my pieces for a minute and feel entertained. Besides producing a series of sensations through the story I’m telling or the colours or composition, I’m also keen to entertain people while they look at my work. I want them to feel the time stood in front of my work was time well spent, like someone going to the cinema and hoping to be entertained.
I’m aiming at the general public as a whole. Everyone likes to be entertained and spend a few enjoyable seconds contemplating interesting colours, unusual characters in strange, but human, situations. I’ve seen that my work appeals to both children and adults, either because of its form, the colours, the story or everything all together. That’s the most rewarding thing about my work.
8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I graduated in fine art and I’m a professional expert in sound and a qualified drawing teacher at secondary school. To be honest, I don’t think my time studying art at university was very useful. What I value most are the first fifteen years of my life, learning from my father’s studio, painting and drawing there every day and generally acquiring skills and techniques to apply in different situations.
When I finished university, I took up painting and drawing again in the way I wanted to do it and I’ve spent many, many hours at home working on it, honing my technique and redrawing my roadmap, and it’s something I’ve learnt a lot from as well.
9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
This is a great time for me professionally. I’ve only been working on this for three years, but I’ve always moved upwards and onwards. I’m getting more and more work and doing more and more projects as an artist, so I feel really lucky. In the future I definitely want to continue in the same vein, but I’m also aware that it’s easy to slip or completely vanish from this scene. I believe that if I keep up the hard work, I can be fairly sure that at least I’ll keep moving forwards – upwards will come later.
10. Many artists say it’s difficult to make a living from their work; how do economic considerations affect you when it comes to work? Do you think this has a bearing on your work?
Well, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t a risk-free profession. The instability can be a bit of a stranglehold. But like I said before, if you work a lot and work hard, you can keep afloat. Obviously, the fact that I have to make a living from my work has a bearing on it, but in a positive way. If I want to continue living from this, I have to be exploring and offering new things all the time and that clearly affects my work, but in the best way.
11. What do you look for or expect from your relationship with promoters and curators? What advantages and difficulties have you found with these relationships?
I think promoters and curators have had a bad press in general, but at least in my experience I have to say the ones I’ve worked with have been unbeatable. Enthusiastic people interested in art and creation – and as an artist you have to value that. Whereas artists are often entangled in their own net, curators tend to have a clear vision of concepts and ideas. I feel they have a powerful vision that lets them see inside and outside the whole sphere of art, and that’s a virtue that’s worth making the most of.
So far I’ve had nothing but excellent experiences.
12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
Well, the differences between arts scenes in different cities come about as a result of the cultural and educational differences in those cities, so I don’t really see them as better or worse. I think Madrid has a very respectable arts scene that accurately reflects the city itself, which is very positive.
Madrid has a warm, embracing spirit and this is reflected in the arts scene here, for which I am eternally grateful.
Ricardo Cavolo (Ricardo García-Miguel Casado)
Vive y trabaja en/ Lives and works in: Madrid
Máster Profesor Educación Secundaria de Dibujo / Master in Secondary School Art Teacher, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Técnico Superior de Imagen / Degree on Visual Engineering, IES Puerta Bonita, Madrid.
Licenciado en Bellas Artes / Fine Arts Degree, Universidad de Salamanca.
Exposiciones Individuales/Selected Solo Exhibitions
Familia, Belaza Gallery, Bilbao.
Músicos, El Patio de la Favorita, Gijón.
Exposiciones Colectivas/Selected Group Exhibitions
DRAW, DRAW, DRAW!, Mad is Mad, Madrid.
No Backup, Casa del Mar, Novgorod, Russia.
Safewalls Poster Project for Cirque du Soleil, Espacio Valverde, Madrid.
Art & Tattoo by AIGA, AIGA Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, USA.
Actividades Académicas/Academic Related Activities
Taller de Ilustración, Jornadas TypeOn del Estudio Pobrelavaca, Valladolid.
Tlf. 618 626 819