Ok another year! another Christmas, and this blog is officially One Year Old!
It has been an interesting one, taken the fact I had started with an idea to blog about art and related issues, (not necessarily the ones being bandied around, hot off the press, but relevant ). A mix of stuff really, which has taken me on a journey through lots of different topics and areas of art. From the hugely inspiring #class project in February to linking up with artists across the board with the Lives of Artists series, discussing what it is actually like to be an artist today from their many different perspectives and solutions to problems. Something which will be continued well into the New Year. And this year culminating in the remote (for me) but involved continuation of #class to #rank at Miami Art Fair.
Plus! I have a new schedule to engage with in the first months of the coming year as I venture to pastures new in Southern Spain – where I will be visiting an Artist’s Residency established way back in the 1980’s and will be getting involved with the organisers and resident artists during the time I am there.
I am especially interested in visiting this particular art foundation, as the area, although sort of rural-by-the-med has also seen a vast influx of tourists and ex-pats over the last 40 years. And it is also a hugely different landscape both physically and in human numbers from when the residency was first set up.
Pilar has given me all the details and I will be heading down to greet as soon as I land and I’ve dropped my bags off. The idea being that I visit and see the workings of the space, the problems they have faced over the years and their solutions!. Talk with the artists over three months and get the feel of how the space has evolved. Especially in this area, which has seen so many changes.
Sierra Cabrerra and Tabernas Mountains stretching behind the village
In 1989 Fundacion Valparaiso started life in a very different era… spawned by the fact that during the 60’s Mojacar, the area and the village close by, became a draw for film crews as the advent of the spaghetti western dawned (think landscape and tons of it). A lot of West Coast Americans involved with the films, came, saw, fell in love and stayed, including Tito who now has one of the best chiringuitos on the beach!
Tito’s concept : images courtesy El Beach Bar website
He regularly holds jazz afternoons, usually on Sundays when everyone can make it, fellow friends and acquaintances of the influential 60’s jazz circuit that drew musicians to the area in the decades beyond have also stayed, frequented and play here. The area in fact, was without electricity until the late 50’s and much else until the 70’s and has a unique and special feel. True it’s been a traditional Spanish holiday destination for decades with the Pueblo the main focus. But also creative’s of all types settling has added to the mix of an already pretty atmospheric Moorish-Spanish hill top village.
Valparaiso was born out of its founders a Danish artist Paul Beckett and his wife Beatrice’s passionate idea. The idea being to set up a place where artists could visit for months and weeks at a time for a very nominal–running-cost-fee; bring your own materials and create bodies of work. Basically offering space and the time to re-address your art uninterrupted – so although a communal atmosphere – the communal meal’s provided (with fruit and veg from the garden) can also be taken in-studio if preferred. You basically get on with your own thing and share the facilities with like minded.
It was a few years into this initial inception that the founders met up with some other artists, one from Greece and one from The Netherlands, who were thinking of bringing together the many residency spaces across Europe (and subsequently South America, India and across the globe). This emerged into the over-see organisation of ResArtis that now helps with the bureaucracy of things like government funding. Basically making sure, whether self funded or with a grant the artists get the best out of their time spent in the choice of the spaces on offer. There are regular meet-ups and they have an annual GM always held in one of each other’s areas, so everyone gets a hands on feel of each different space and what they do. And of course to share ideas!
Times change and the area although away from the main beach and (it has to be said ok! ) condominiums and urbanisations, is still rural. The village has grown to adapt even further to cater for the influx of tourists especially during the summer. And consequently virtually shuts down over winter; it is though not hibernate-dodo-dead. And the core of creative’s in Mojacar are certainly switched on and vibrant – but in a different way to your inner city creative, maybe. I think the expression is tranquilo!.
So I will at least get a feel of the tranquil of Valparaiso – 20 years on in the wider context of the area.
The artists who have visited over the years have grown in diversity from Brazilian, Bulgarian to Australian.
I am very appreciative of the time and space Valparaiso are sharing with me and can’t wait to see in this age, with the seeming necessity for artists to head for the urban city’s call of location! location! location!. How this space offers something relevant away from cities like Buenos Aires, Rio, New York and London.
Also certainly well away from main art central Spanish cities such as Barcelona or Madrid……..
More off the beaten track pueblo and tranquilo!
Hasta! Febrero! y Valparaiso!
And of course back next Thursday 30th Neeeeeaarly New Years Eve with a wee bit of pre-hogmanay
But for now Happy Christmas !