Quick escape at Aloft Madrid Gran Via & Interview with artist Misterpiro
Winter is coming and we ‘re all start to feel cold and gloomy. The best way to deal with it? GET OUT, BABE! Get out in the sun, and thanks to Europe (a bit of Global warming too I guess) Spain is a great destination to enjoy nice weather, specifically Madrid. Also, I don’t know what this deal with Barcelona, but I’ve always preferred Madrid way much more #dealwithit. Well lucky me, because last week I was invited to spend some time in the urban hotel, Aloft Madrid Gran Via powered by Marriott.
Brand’s New Future-Proofed Design Formula, Complete with a Rooftop Pool Featuring 360-Degree Views of Madrid’s Skyline, this hotel is a dream. Add to this a breakfast to die for and a very sympathy staff and you here you got the best deal! Located in the vibrant heart of the capital, the new hotel is a stone’s throw from hotspots including the iconic Plaza de España, the hip neighborhood of Malasaña and Chueca overflowing with restaurants and bars, and the shopping district of Gran Via.
On the first night of my arrival, we went to this delicious restaurant (arallotaberna.com). Just 10 minutes walking distance from the hotel, I was the happiest man on earth. The food was exquisite, I guess we can talk about haute cuisine here, and I couldn’t wait between each dish for the next one: nigiri croquettes, cod served on spicy horchata cream, carbonara dumplings… Fresh seafood, extremely tasteful and nice presentation. Also, please check that carafe, #musthave!
After having a stomach quite fool we went to a cocktail bar which was quite close form the restaurant. Not any kind of bar, we went to Salmon Guru, which make it to the world’s 50 best bar 2019 list! #badaboumbadabim Even tho I’m not a drinker, I couldn’t resist trying few a the house recommendations. The staff was very friendly, the atmosphere quite mysterious and also very intimate makes you feel at ease ( or was it the cocktails? ) It’s all craft cocktails with really interesting ingredients from the traditional to the weird and wonderful and everything is presented in a really fun way – all very good for Instagram. All in unique glasses served with little sweets/quirky snacks and at such an affordable price! (salmonguru.es)
Walking back to the hotel was quite blurry and, I couldn’t wait to get in my bed – I never experience so perfect pillows, the event didn’t know it could be a thing. The following day was started in the best possible way with the breakfast buffet. I have seen quite a lot, and none have matched this one, everything looks so delicious, it was hard to not stay all day there.
But come on’ time to explore a bit of the city. Madrid is a city of contrasts, where modern boulevards open onto ancient Egyptian temples and bustling flea markets border grand palaces and architectural icons dating back to the ninth century. Legendary nightlife and iconic national dishes come as standard from the cosmopolitan city of welcoming madrileños, but the Spanish capital is also home to a few surprises, including secret gardens, incredible art galleries, stunning parks, and lakes, as well as the oldest restaurant in the world. I enjoyed some time in El Retiro Park, where I could spend easily all day with this weather. I loved the trees, the Crystal Palace, the different groups of people, the lake with all the boats. It’s like everybody is just chilling there, walking around and enjoying themselves. I came across this woman singing “Maria” and I had to stop to listen, her voice gave me the chilled.
One of the highlights of the trip was to meet street artist Misterpiro. We went to his atelier for a little workshop and took the chance to ask him some questions.
KALTBLUT: Tell us about your creative background – when did you first start illustrating/drawing/painting and what really pushed you to do so? Misterpiro: As a child, I was always painting. From an early age, when I got home, I would paint everything I’d seen during the day. When I was 11, a spray paint shop opened in the town where I grew up. I was excited about the idea of putting up my drawings on a wall, in the street, where everyone could see them. From there, I decided to study art. I knew this was going to be my life.
KALTBLUT: I’ve heard that you started as a street artist doing graffiti. How did you go from Graffiti to watercolor? Misterpiro: I’ve always worked with the two techniques. I used to sketch out the pieces I would paint in the street with watercolors. But I wasn’t really happy with the end result. After a trip to India, meeting new artists and discovering new ways of working in the street, I returned with the idea of changing everything. It was at that point that I began to imitate watercolors on a large scale, transferring the technique to all sorts of formats.
KALTBLUT: Some of your pieces are totally abstract. What do you feel makes a good piece of abstract work? What makes abstraction special for you? Misterpiro: I’ve always painted figurative elements mixed with the textures and abstract forms that come from water-based techniques. I’ve gradually synthesized and eliminated the figurative elements to bring this total abstraction closer to a style that identifies me. When figurative elements appear in my work, I almost always use references from reality, which condition me in some way, even though I make them my own. For the more abstract side of my work, I have total freedom. I don’t think of anything and purposefully avoid myself, enjoying myself as I work. For me, this is true happiness.
KALTBLUT: Working as a full-time artist is not always easy. Where do you look for your daily inspiration? Misterpiro: It can be hard when you’re working and thinking of ideas and projects 24 hours a day. I always try to find inspiration in other things that aren’t painting or street art. I also try to avoid social media because it’s like an overdose of information and I hardly even retain the things I see on a screen. I like to draw inspiration from friends and creative people from other walks of life. Music producers, chefs, fashion designers, architects… I always try to imagine how I could work with them so that my work takes on an additional dimension that’s neither a wall or a canvas.
KALTBLUT: Do you feel it’s important to have a balance between painting in the street and your gallery work? Misterpiro: It’s a constant struggle. In terms of how I work, I could never do the things I do on canvas in a mural, even though it might look that way. Likewise, I wouldn’t approach a mural-like I approach a gallery piece. You always work quickly in the streets, and sometimes the conditions aren’t optimal. You always need to strike a balance so that pieces have that consistency and are identified with you.
KALTBLUT: So do you have everything already planned out in your mind before you start for example a huge mural? What is your creative process for such a big piece? Misterpiro: I hardly ever plan big murals, especially for my abstract works. Sometimes I create montages using Photoshop, layering figurative elements and textures on top of photographs of the building, as a sort of “grid” to guide me. That said, I like to arrive on site and allow the size and surroundings to inspire me. I always start by working on the background, without preparing anything. I order almost all the colors on the chart and start to improvise. I always work intuitively and impulsively and almost always forget about the sketch and end up changing everything.
KALTBLUT: What is the message you want to get across to viewers of your work? Misterpiro: It depends on each project or commission. The concepts vary between pieces. In general terms, I like viewers who come across my work, be it in galleries or in the street, to feel a sense of visual pleasure. At first, they might not be able to identify anything but the tones and shapes lead them to contemplate the abstract visual landscape created by each layer of color or how it transforms the surroundings in the case of pieces in the street.
After this workshop, I was definitely feeling my artistic vibe, see pictures below.
Back to the hotel for my last night and an exclusive concert of grammy awards winner Mala Rodríguez, but that’s another story… stayed tuned for the exclusive interview. Coming soon.