Symbiosis at Guzzo
Symbiosis freak show at the best Jazz club in Town
I normally don't make shows in bars, basically because people go to bars to get drunk not to see an exhibition, but Guzzo is not a regular bar. They host the best Jazz concerts in Barcelona, bring some top shelf international DJs, have great cocktails and food, and organise art exhibitions and photography shows on a regular basis. Besides all this, their walls are decorated with some murals by great artists like Btoy and Peeta. This combination of factors makes it one of my favourite places in town to have a drink and enjoy some music.

So when I was approached by the people of Subagora to organise a Symbiosis show at Guzzo, I was really happy about it. The wall where we were going to hang the pictures was covered by a big mural by the Italian 3D master Peeta, which we wanted to preserve, so we used some black wooden panels to hang the pictures on. As the budget was limited, we decided to use some hand-made calligraphy to write each artist name below the pictures instead of using vinyl, which was cheaper and worked fine.

We also hanged some smaller paper prints using magnets, which allowed me to include more artists in the show.

Symbiosis Exhibition at Guzzo
The opening night, DJ Ilia Mayer delighted the audience with some fine tunes and we all got drunk together, which is always a nice thing to do. Thanks everyone for coming, special thanks to Fred Guzzo and Subagora for making this possible, and to AHT for these beautiful pictures of the event:
Double Exposure
Double Exposure
Watching the Watcher
Watching the Watcher
 
Colombian Famiily
Colombian Family
 
Sosaku & Joaquín
 
Rush Hour
Rush Hour
 
Taking a Picture of the Picture
Taking a Picture of the Picture
 
Fred & Ilia
Fred & Ilia
 
Through the Glass
Through the Glass
 
Vanessa & Friends
Vanessa & Friends
 
Victor & Friends
Victor & Friends
 
Laura & Rosa
Laura & Rosa
 
Btoy Mural
Btoy Mural
 

 

Symbiosis at Déballage BCN
Pop-up show for a one-day art market

I had never participated in one of those one-day art market events in which you set up a stand to sell your art. So when I was invited to participate in the Deballage BCN Art Market I thought it would be a good chance to show the results of my experiments and try to sell some prints. Besides the stand with the small prints, we set up a pop-up show with the big pictures in one of the train station halls. Yes, the event took place at the Estació de França, one of the oldest and most beautiful train stations in Barcelona. Having your pieces seen in a train station without the need of vandalizing trains was something new for me, I found it really handy and comfortable, and I considered it an evolution from the good-old days (I also think it is more appropriate for my current age).

The event was mainly focused on antiques and original art pieces, but the organisers also wanted to have a nice exhibition included in the pack. So I selected a few of my mutant artists' portraits and made a black vinyl with the names to place below each photo; I don't like to show my pictures without the artists' names, not even for a one day pop-up show.

But there was an unexpected surprise when I met the organiser at the station before the event to see the room where I was going to set up the show. The room walls were all black marble, and the vinyl I had prepared was also black! As I already explained, it is of vital importance for me to have the name of each artist below his picture, without it the show looses meaning. And, of course, we couldn't make any holes on the black marble to hang the pieces. So I ran to the hardware store in a desperate attempt to solve these two last-minute problems, and luckily I found the solution. I bought some industrial double-side adhesive tape to be able to hang the photos without making holes, and some white foam board to stick the black vinyl into.

Flyer Expo Deballage
Then I spent some time cutting and pasting each name on a piece of foam board to have it all ready to set up the show quickly.

After these initial moments of intense stress and panic, finally everything worked fine. The only problem was that I used too much double-side adhesive tape to fix the pictures to the walls, I was afraid it wouldn't be strong enough to hold the big pictures with the aluminium frames; but I was totally wrong, it was so strong that I couldn't remove them when the event was over. So I had to call some friends and use a screwdriver to be able to detach them from the walls. The good thing was I sold enough small prints to recover the money invested in foam board and double-side adhesive tape. There was even something left over to get some beers for the friends who helped me pull out the photos from the walls. Thank you all for your support! :)

Preparing the Foam Board
Setting Up the Photos
Prints for Sale
     
Everything Ready for the Action
The Action Starts
Wandering Around
Everything Ready for the Action
     
Rush Hour at the Station
Interested in Marga
Albert Bertolín
Rush Hour at the Station
     

 

Symbiosis hits Naples!
Symbiotic exhibtion + a little bombing in Southern Italy

Naples is one of those places you've heard many stories about; about the chaotic traffic in the city, about the fantastic and incredibly cheap food you can find, about the beauty of a town that once was the most important capital in Southern Europe but today is full of garbage, derelict churches and decayed palaces... It's one of those places people say you should visit before you die. That's why I was highly excited when I was invited to organise an exhibition at a self-managed space called L'Asilo in the old quarter of Naples. Having high expectations about something can be a bad thing, if you expect a lot you may feel disappointed; but Naples totally exceeds any expectations you can have.

The first thing that totally exceeded my expectations was the place where I was staying. A classic palace from the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Age, where my good-old friend Giovanna Mercurio was living. She shared a whole floor with a group of radical feminists who spent most of their time in the kitchen drinking coffee, smoking weed, and plotting to destroy patriarchy and capitalism. When I first arrived I suggested the mountain of coffee they were trying to force inside the coffee maker was too much. I was told they wouldn't accept any kind of reccomendation about how to make coffee from a man, especially if he wasn't even Italian. So I decided not to make any judgements about the amount of weed they were putting in their joints. After this initial imprudence from my part, we finally established a friendly relationship, and I decided to join their subtance abuse and plotting to end patriarchy, which I both found highly appealing. After some days of cohabitation, one of them, Maria Elena Stellato, who besides being a radical feminist activist was an artist, even let me capture her and replace her head with one of her African women scupltures to create a female power portrait, which I'm expremely proud of.

Flyer Expo L'Asilo
Many centuries ago, when humans were polytheistic, Earth was considered a goddess, and people lived in a more sustainable way, respecting the planet we live in, and understanding it is our home. After too many centuries of monotheistic patriarchy, we have totally forgotten about the importance of femininity and its vital role as a live holder in our universe. This is one of the conclusions we reached after invigorating our neurons with cannabinoids and caffeine; and thus we decided to create this portrait to reclaim the deep respect our ancestors used to have towards femininity in the broadest sense of the term before monotheism forced people to believe there is only one god and he is a man.

Now returning to Naples, the traffic in the city is far more chaotic than you can expect, seeing three kids on a bike without helmet rushing up or down a bumpy alley becomes totally normal after two days. In a three lane street you get five lanes easily, cars just bunch up. The first time I took a bus I witnessed a fight between the driver and a guy in a car that was coming the wrong way right onto us, but the funny thing is there were 20 more cars coming behind the guy against traffic. While they were having a fight through the glass using their hands to make sure the communication was explicit, you could see the sidewalk full of motorbikes rushing up and down while the pedestrians dodged them on the spot without blinking. As there is no more space on the street, the pavement becomes the bike lane. And when the night arrives, it becomes a parking lot for cars, people just walk on the middle of the street because the sideway is full of parked cars. The squares and parks go totally wild with people drinking beer and smoking weed next to the police cars. When I told the locals I felt slightly unconfortable smoking so close to the law-enforcement agents, I was told "They are there just in case something actually serious happens..." And I realised they were totally right.You can get the best pizza you've ever eaten for 5€, and then enjoy a cup of coffee that will keep you awake for two weeks.

And people are so friendly they continue talking to you loudly even after you tell them you just don't understand Italian. All the people who came to the opening congratulated me personally, and some of them asked me to explain the project to them, which of course I tried to do speaking Spanish really slowly. As my communication skills in Italian are quite limited and there was a big screen and a projector in the place, we projected the Symbiosis Explained video in loop to make sure people could understand the project. It was nice to see that the people who came by were actually interested in the show, the fact that there wasn't any free beer might have helped. I didn't sell anything, not even a print on paper, although I used some advanced marketing techniques; but I felt so kindly treated that I gave some away as a gift.

Of course I didn't want to leave the city without doing a little bombing, Naples is probably the place with the most amazing spots I've been to. The small dark alleys, derelict buildings, and ancient huge wooden doors offer a great variety of surfaces for exterior decoration. And the chilled attitude of the people towards what is considered vandalism in other cities helps a lot. I took some tags on vinyl with me which are very practical, people in general don't consider that putting adhesive stuff around is too bad, so you can put them up in full daylight without much trouble. Of course I also took my marker with me to make some classic old-school tags to prove I'm still hardcore although I do gallery shows. You must never forget where you come from. And we also pasted some fetish and pin-up olivias around town to make this beautiful city look even more beautiful.

I must say that people from Southern Italy are very hard workers, the cliché about their laziness is total bullshit, all my love and deep respect goes to all of them, and specially to my sister and brother from Napoli Giovanna Mercurio and Peppe Cerillo for all their help and total involvement in this adventure, their help made this a reality, I couldn't have done it without them. Organising and setting up a show in a self-managed space involves a lot more work than in a normal gallery, but it is also a lot more rewarding, and this is the way things are done in Naples, you work hard because that's the only way. There's no middle way with this city, you either love it or hate it, and I totally loved it.

Flying To Naples
Neapolitan Palace
Maria Elena Stellato
Flying To Naples
The Palace Where I Was Staying!
Maria Elena Stellato
     
Peeling the Vinyl
Advanced Marketing To Sell Prints
Ready to Start
     
I Like that Hairstyle
First Visitors
Napolitan Coffee
I Like that Hairstyle
     
Olivia Karada
Marilivia
Parking Napoli Style
Olivia Karada
     
Yellow Tag
Vinyl Tag
Wipe Your Ass With Berlusconi
Yellow Tag (Classic Technique)
Wipe Your Ass With Berlusconi

 

Symbiosis on Saatchi Art
Going highbrow yo!

Symbiosis by Dr Case on Saatchi

 
As part of my constant efforts to share the results of my digital experiments with the world, I just opened myself an account on Saatchi Art. I intend to use this sophisticated artistic network to discover new talented specimens who could subject themselves to my experiments voluntarily in the future; as well as to showcase and share the final images resulting of the digital surgeries I have already conducted.

Besides all this, if collectors find my mutant artists portraits interesting and feel the desire of taking one of these beautiful creatures home; they can acquire large-format limited-edition copies printed on canvas tightened on aluminium frames directly through Saatchi (series of 15 with certificate of authenticity numbered and signed). There are only four selected portraits available on the site at the moment, but my cunning plan is to update it with new material on a regular basis. Click on the image above to see the complete portfolio of mutant artists available at the moment and/or enjoy works of art conceived by other creative minds.

 

 

Symbiosis at the Llagosta festival!
Collective exhibition including symbiotic portraits of the participating artists!
Glass Vinyl Shadow

 

I was invited to the Llagosta festival to help curate and organise a group show including my portraits of the artists taking part in the event. The festival took place at a small town near Barcelona called La Llagosta (The Grasshopper) and included street art, skate, documentaries, workshops, exhibitions, etc. The event invaded the small town for four days, with skate contests and DJs in the popular park, and documentaries and the collective exhibition at the Cultural Centre. The participating artists painted murals in the park, and also in the Cultural Centre front wall. Each artist also created a piece for the group show and I was asked to include my portraits of the participating artists.

The town council also organised a press conference about the festival at the Santa Mònica Art Centre in Barcelona, and I was asked to set up a little pop-up show at the press conference room just for that day. The pop-up show was a small preview of the exhibition including only a few selected pieces from some of the artists, and the corresponding portraits of the selected artists (Crajes, Ilia Mayer, and Olivia). The Mayor of La Llagosta talked about the importance of the popular park for the town people: in the 70s, the town government planned to create an industrial area on that space, but the town people stood up against the project, arguing that they already had enough industrial buildings and factories in town, they all went down and started planting trees and plants, painting graffiti on the walls asking for a park, and making demonstrations to stop the industrial project. The people won the fight, and finally a popular park was created instead of the industrial complex. That's why all the people in town have special feelings about this park, because it was created thanks to the efforts of their fathers and grand-fathers. Many of the artists created their pieces having this in mind. Joaquín Jara, for instance, created a sculpture using plaster moulds of the people's hands and installed it on the oldest tree in the park to represent the collective effort made by the people to have a park.

Below you can see some pictures of the small pop-up show at the press conference, and the full collective exhibition at the town Cultural Centre. You can find more info and photos of the event at the Llagosta Facebook page.

 

Pop-Up Show Ready
People Arriving at the Press Room
Watching the MiniExpo
Pop-up Show Ready at the Press Room
People Arriving at the Press Room
Watching the MiniExpo
     
Having Some Beers After the Conference
Having Some Beers After the Conference

Me Working Hard
Setting Up the Photos
Everything Ready to Start!
Me working hard mounting frames while rest of team drink beer and check the phone
Setting Up the Photos
Everything Ready to Start!
     
First Visitors
Checking the Details
Beer Time!
First Visitors
Checking the Details
Beer Time!

 

Interview on IdeaFixa!
Vanishing the boundaries between creator and creation

Symbiosis on IdeaFixa

 
I was recently interviewed by the people of the Brazilian online art magazine IdeaFixa. You can read the interview here. And for those of you who don't understand Portuguese, here you have the English version kindly translated by myself (:

 

1. We are living a street art boom, with a bigger implication of society and a greater interest in knowing who is behind the pieces we can find on the street. How are you living this moment? How do you see the future of street art?

In Barcelona the street art boom started some years ago, until the City Council got tired of it, decided to start a personal crusade against graffiti and created a greyer city. In other cities it is true that street art is becoming really popular and generating a lot of interest in society, many big cities are offering their walls and organising events. There is an increasing number of street art enthusiasts, photographers who capture the pieces, and art collectors interested in buying street artists' works. Street art is becoming more popular because it uses an open language, anybody can understand and appreciate a street art piece, while graffiti is a closed code of communication, a tag or a throw-up can only be understood by another graffiti writer. Graffiti artists look for recognition inside the graffiti movement, not outside. That's why street art is becoming more and more popular while graffiti is still a stigmatized movement which is considered vandalism by many people. People generally don't like what they don't understand, that's why graffiti generates a lot more criticism than street art.

For me the best moment of my city was some years ago, I enjoyed a lot more the pre-civic-law Barcelona. I believe the politicians' control desire and their intrusive presence in the public space are creating a less-genuine city, too focused on tourism, and which is loosing its own identity. Anyway, I think that one must learn to adapt to changes, and if things become more difficult we must find alternative ways to keep on doing what we do, by using faster methods, such as paste-ups o stencils, to avoid big fines and arrests, or by finding other workarounds. What's clear to me and politicians should realise is that graffiti is never going to disappear. Instead of trying to fight against it, they should create spaces for the artists, and the same applies to skate. Thinking they can stop graffiti or skateboarding by making laws is totally stupid. We are always going to use the public space to express ourselves, a city without graffiti and street art in which you can only see advertising is a dead city.

In the future artists will continue to use the techniques they need to express themselves even if new laws make it more difficult. We must always find a way to keep moving forward. After all, street art is art; the only difference is the location of the piece. Instead of being found in a museum, people use the street as a medium, which allows the artist to reach a greater audience and to express himself without being selected by a gallery or presenting a project to an institutional museum. The street democratises art, anybody with something to say can say it. Street art gives the artist the opportunity to free himself from institutional control and it is used in many cases to criticize the present situation, the politics and the system; which makes it very attractive for some people and quite annoying for others...

 

2. In that sense, Symbiosis works as a tool to connect the piece with the artist, have you ever imagined your own Symbiosis?

Actually I made some self-symbiosis a long time ago to censor myself using the head of my character Mr Lost. This project started as a way of censoring pictures of graffiti writers and street artists, and I also censored myself at that time. Here you can see how the project started including various self-symbiosis: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_case/sets/72157607354601712

 

3. Have you ever considered expanding the project to other artistic disciplines?

Hell yes! Actually I have already made some Symbiosis of artists who don't belong to the street art world: illustrators, like Albert Bertolín, graphic designers, like Vasava, painters, like Sergio Mora, fashion designers, like Manuel Albarrán, tattoo artists, like Adriana Maluquer...

Although all this started as a practical way of censoring graffiti writers without having to use the typical pixelisation, I think it is a great idea to portray artists from other disciplines and merge them with their creations.

 

4. Who would you like making a Symbiosis of?

So many people! Mark Ryden, Ron English, Ray Caesar, Word To Mother, Blu, Jeff Soto, Doze Green, and Jeremy Fish just to name a few...

 

5. Which artists you consider most inspiring and influential in your work?

David Lachapelle, Annie Leibovitz, and Ransom & Mitchell.

 

6. Your favourite city to paint?

All of them!


7. Define using just one word: 

•  Symbiosis - Collaboration.

•  Street art - Art.

 

 

Symbiosis Calendar 2014
Free printable 2014 calendar with one artist per month!

 

The Symbiosis 2014 calendar is here ready for you to download in PDF format optimized for printing (A4), including one fabulous artist portrait for each month of the year. And it's incredibly easy to get:

 

1. Download the PDF.

2. Print.

3. Enjoy.

 

www.symbi0sis.net/symbiosiscalendar2014.pdf

 

 

Symbiosis Calendar - January

 

Symbiosis hits Ibiza! (again)
Symbiotic portraits exhibition at the Secret Walls Ibiza battle!

Symbiosis exhibition - Secret Walls - Atzaró Ibiza

 
After participating in the Bloop Festival last year with a symbiotic exhibition including only portraits of artists participating in the event; this time I was asked to create a pop-up freak show of freely selected mutant artists to accompany the Secret Walls Ibiza battle at Atzaró, probably the most beautiful location where I have ever exhibited my work. The Secret Walls battles are one-day events in which teams of artists from different cities battle each other for 90 minutes using only black paint, with no pencil, no sketches and no references.

As there were no walls in the room where the exhibition took place (only glass windows), and the pop-up show was one-day only, we used some easels to set up the pieces, and some wooden frames instead of the aluminium ones to give the show a more rustic look to match the location.

It is always a pleasure to showcase the results of my digital surgery experiments in the island. BIG thanks to the Secret Walls x Spain team for making this possible and to Cöco Käfer for the pictures of the event.

 

Dr Case Royal Rotor Andrea Michaelsson Olivia Boris Hoppek Andrea Luschi Escif Suso33 Marga López Inocuo Noaz Mr Kern Next Ina & Ótica Martha Cooper Catalina Estrada Suso33 Kenor Boris Hoppek Sergio Mora