THE STUDIO CONFINEMENT
22 April 2020, Pepino
It's a dystopia out there but I haven't suffered too much which makes me feel almost guilty. During the corona virus confinement I've worked more than ever. My generous wife has been taking care of the house and I haven't had to drive the kids to school, activities, birthday parties, anywhere. It has been a studio paradise.
Once I was fined by the guardia civil for going to the studio but the officer was wrong - I phone to their headquarters and was told that as a self-employed person I have right to go to the studio and I can appeal the 600€ sanction.
The kids have been good too, they can play football at our big property and walk in the forest that begins from out backyard. We are truly privileged. I always hated to live in the countryside but now it has been perfect. I would have gone insane in a small apartment in a city.
16 March 2020, Pepino
I'm at home drawing corona virus. Last week I had to travel to Helsinki to meet some clients, I hope that they would have canceled the event but they didn't - until I arrived in Finland. The gallery booked me a new return ticket for Friday, I was afraid that on Sunday the borders could have been closed.
I'm very very lucky, the virus hit the last week of my show at Galerie Forsblom. We had lots of visitors and the sales were great. When the crisis is over, I begin to design my new studio.
THE DICTATORSHIP OF FAME
09 March 2020, Pepino
The authorities say that we should keep at least one meter distance to the other people for the coronavirus infection risk. It’s difficult when you are famous, some fans want to take selfies with me in the street.
Arco Madrid art fair gave me once again 20 minutes of fame. I was in the TV news in every Spanish channel, TV entertainment shows, newspapers, radio, blogs, memes, everything you can imagine. Last year my portrait of the king got lot of attention at the fair but this year I was the only star and my satirical portrait of Franco titled Franco Wasn’t as Bad as They Say was the Mona Lisa of Madrid. The best moment was when an older man came to hug me (then we weren’t so alarmed of the physical contact yet) and told that he had been a political prisoner during the dictatorship. He thanked me for the work. Not all the people had patience to read the text accompanying the picture of the monster, they hated or loved me for being a fascist, depending of their political views. You can never underestimate enough the audience.
Last week two TV crews came to my studio in Cervera de los Montes. I took them to film signs of Plaza Generalisimo Francisco Franco, just few meters from my studio. The people of the municipal administration tried to stop the journalists. They have illegal fascist street names but they don’t want them to be on TV. An older lady yelled me insults, the mayor tried to convince us that we should’t show their love for the dictator. It was on the TV. Maybe now they change finally the signs.
Last week I was the most famous artist in Spain, I did what’s my job - participate in the political discourse. However, this doesn’t mean that I would become a Spanish artist. Nobody in Madrid is interested in showing my work (I was at the fair with my Finnish gallery). I was in every newspaper but the art critics ignore me. Maybe I’m just a jester, not a serious artist.
20 February 2020, Pepino
I’m happy with my two shows in Helsinki. Taxonomy of Anthropomorphic Animals at the Natural History Museum looks as strange as I wanted with my drawings juxtaposed with their taxidermy. Animal Show Business at Galerie Forsblom looks like art in a white cube but very exquisite. It’s great to work with a super professional gallery.
Some people entering in the gallery said “that oh, it’s nice to have so colorful things when it’s gray and raining outside”. I told them that if they want colors, they should go to a hypermarket or a shopping mall, they are even more colorful places. You can never underestimate people, even thouse having courage to visit galleries.
Yesterday, I our cleaning lady said that she didn’t know that I have designed Nestlé and Kellogg’s mascots. I tried to explain that I just abuse them in my art and I’m against capitalist corporations. She said that everybody in the village think that I work for processed food brands.
BACK TO THE ART WORLD
27 January 2020, Pepino
I've been almost one year away from the art world and since last January I haven't traveled further than Madrid, 120km from the village. After Arco Madrid art fair last year February, I have met only a handful of art world people who have visited my studio. My works have been shipped to some group shows but I've stayed at home for a serious health issue in the family.
Now I'm ready to rejoin the art world. As an aperitif I'm in a group show in Talavera de la Reina, the nearest town to our village, opening on Friday. Next week I fly to Helsinki where I have two connected solo shows - Taxonomy of Anthropomorphic Animals at the Natural History Museum and Animal Show Business at Galerie Forsblom. Just after that gig, I take a portrait of Francisco Franco to this year's Arco Madrid.
I have to recall the Riiko Sakkinen artist role, which is, I guess, different than my way of being as a father and husband at home.