Interview with Uri Martinez for Nexus III at the Brand Library & Art Center

What was the inspiration behind the body of work that will be showing at the Brand Library & Art Center?

I’m from Hospitalet, a gypsy area on the outside of Barcelona, where a majority of people come from the south of Spain. The music one grows up there with is flamenco. Flamenco comes from pain, but from that pain, we make a party. Life is sad but you can enjoy this and canalize this pain. If u ask a flamenco singer, he would say, the good singing, hurts. I think it’s a way of being in this world. The poetic and romantic: it can kill you but its love; and if it doesn’t kill you, it will make u stronger

Do you have any pre-studio rituals that help you get into a creative flow?

Music, coffee, and a big huge smile are what’s most important, and if it’s in the afternoon, some rum. Sometimes while I’m painting I can hear my family singing and clapping and drinking, and at that moment it’s just magic – like amidst chaos comes order threw creativity.

When you were working on this body of work, what were you listening to in the background? Do you have a different soundtrack for the various stages of the creative process? 

I can listen to any kind of music really. I’ll have to stop painting cause my feet are moving and I’m more into dancing than into paint. I love rap, afro dance, dembow, reggaeton, bachata, cumbia, and any kind really.

What piece challenged you most in this body of work, and why?

Spain went into lockdown and I got closed into my studio with no materials, so I got into more detailed level I never tried. It was a struggle, where I got fuckin bored of myself and I wanted to try new shit. So I began to add more meaning by adding significant surroundings to my portraits. That first piece was the Q — the quarantine, inspired by a Haris Nukem pic.

What do you think will be said about the New Contemporary Art Movement in 100 years?

We were all pricks on the internet but we had fuckin fun mate. I don’t know.

Sometimes I look into the art from the past and lots of times I think it’s pedo, to be honest. and with funny mustaches. 

I’m just a painter. I have no clever words. I grew up selling drugs. I’m drunk most of the time I’m not in my studio, but I’m reaaaaally happy.

For now, the Brand Library and Arts Center are unfortunately not welcoming visitors. This Saturday, November 7 at 1 pm we will go live on our Instagram to tour the show and we will also be sharing a professionally filmed video tour of the exhibitions on our Instagram and Facebook around that same time. A self-guided virtual tour will be shared shortly as well.

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