Op 30 september onthullen we onze 100ste Blind Wall. De schildering wordt gemaakt aan het Planciusplein en de Columbusstraat door het Spaanse kunstenaarsduo Reskate. We stelden ze wat vragen over hun werkwijze, inspiratiebronnen en wat ze ervan vinden dat ze de 100ste Blind Wall mogen maken.
Please introduce yourselves!
Hi! We are María and Javier, members of Reskate and visual artists from Donostia (Basque Country) and Barcelona (Catalonia). Our studio is based in Barcelona. We love our work, animals and cooking paella and many other dishes for our friends and family in our terrace 🙂
Can you tell us about what you do, how you got into street-art and where you get your inspiration.
Currently our main professional activity is muralism but we also develop other projects that range from illustration to graphic design. It is a great balance for us to work both in the public space and in the coziness of our studio. Our first contact with street art was when Asalto (Street Art Festival from Zaragoza, Spain) invited us in 2011 to participate in their 6th edition. Our main task was to restore an old vinegar cellar to hold an exhibition of rescued skateboards. At that time we were centered in our project Reskateboarding, which was born with the intention of rescuing abandoned skateboards and giving them a second life. From 2011 to 2014 we curated, produced and organized exhibitions around Europe. We were amazed by the big-scale murals that other artists were producing, so after this festival we started to practice our painting in our parent’s garage and abandoned places.
How would you describe your style and working process?
Both Javier and I, María, have studied graphic design. Javier later specialized in illustration and I focused in typography and lettering. Also my father was a graphic designer, so I guess that this background has a heavy influence in our mural works. We love classic sign-painting and retro advertising. These are our main sources of inspiration. Our working process as a collective varies according the project or our mood. But roughly the first stage is always research. Then we discuss about the information that we gathered and brainstorm. If we are not inspired we work in parallel on another project or go for a walk or play ping pong. Once we get an idea we start sketching either on a notebook or with the tablet. During this part of the process we pass on the sketch to one another so that the final result has always the same finish and style.
What is the favourite mural you’ve made? And why?
It is difficult to pick just one! We guess it is like expressing which is your favourite offspring. However we could say the mural we painted in Santander (Cantabria) last year. It represented a seal in its natural environment. The reason we chose this project among many others is because of the controversy and discussions that it created. We tried to raise awareness in a public zoo that is located in this city, where animals of far-off environments are displayed in poor conditions. From our point of view it incites a despicable use of nature and it promotes a model of tourism that is external to the local culture and tradition. So we decided to paint this mural adopting the style of tourist posters from the beginning of the 20th century. But in this case throwing a message against these type of tourist attractions with the intention of encouraging a different way of interacting with Nature and understanding tourism. We also used the Cantabrian language, which is a minority and neglected language in the Spanish state. Both are tricky topics, but we always like to approach a project speaking in a positive way, so that the work incites reflection and generates more acceptance.
What was your first reaction when we asked you to come make a Blind Wall in Breda?
It is always rewarding that curators form a solid project trust our work. Moreover we have not painted a mural in The Netherlands yet, so this fact adds to the excitement. One of our first works as Reskate was a live-painting on skateboards for an event in Rotterdam in 2011. So we will come back 10 years later!
All Blind Walls are inspired by stories about the city of Breda. What do you think of the story of your mural location? How did you translate it to a design?
For us it is essential to represent facts of the places our murals will be located in. We think that as visual artists we have a responsibility of putting our art at the service of the citizens. It is important that people feel that our work belongs to them. We try to promote a critical thinking but also improve places in a coherent way. So when we were asked to represent the story of the two architects, Molière and Peutz, that reconstructed this area, we thought it was a great starting point to talk about dualism, tradition and modernity. We did not want to approach this topic in a literal way so we focused on how this two concepts interact. There is no modernity without tradition. It is also a call for self-consciousness in favour of growth. The design is developed in two parts that work visually on their own, but need for the other to complete the interpretation. The choice of a single colour and the background left as it is, is also intentional to express this duality. The fact that we leave parts of the brick wall without any paint is our way of being respectful with the surroundings and pay homage to the natural and traditional material of this surface.
Does the environment influence your work? In what way(s)?
This is a big yes. We could not imagine our work any other way. Not only we like to learn about the story and reality of the places we leave our work in, but as mentioned before we feel it is our commitment to do it so. However we don’t like to be too literal so we always try our murals to be open to many interpretations. We also think that it is important to talk in a positive way and represent pleasant images even if we talk about negative or sick topics. Getting back to style and concept we use the visual tools of retro advertising in order present messages that add for collective improvement rather than personal success. We are always surprised at how people accept advertising in the public space but are always so critical to art in the same location. We think there is nothing as aggressive visually as advertising signs and billboards.
Your mural in Breda will be the 100th Blind Wall. A big deal for us, and for the city! What do you think about that?
It is a very nice coincidence that our mural will be the 100th. We will be very happy to blow with you at 100 candles in front of our walls on the opening day. It is great to hear that during this poor celebration times we are experiencing because of the pandemic there’s still space for some responsible festivity. So the parallel activities that are being scheduled for this project sound really exciting to us! It will be a celebration for everybody, cheers to you for curating this 100th wall and to the neighbours for accepting the project!
You haven’t been to Breda yet, but looking at our website, what are your favourite Blind Walls and why?
We have not had the time yet to go through all of the walls that you have curated in Breda. However there is one that really caught our eye and it is “De Vlucht uit Breda” by Telmomiel. It is not only astounding technically but really shocking because of the painful part of the story that it represents. Even so, it is dreamy and beautiful. Hope we can get some time to visit all of the murals!
That’s it! See you soon. Any last words?
We can’t wait to arrive to Breda and meet you in person. We also cross fingers for good weather so that we can enjoy the mural execution process!