Artist Market charming way to experience local passions

March 19, 2013
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On Sunday, my team and I went out in the name of art.  The assignment was to talk to members of the Associacio de Pintor de Barcelona (Barcelona Painters Association) and to learn about them, their work and their inspirations.  The Association is a collective of sorts that allows these artists to have an outlet to sell their art, connect with the public and form a community with each other.

When we entered the Plaça Del Pi – just off of the famous boulevard La Rambla – we were swept into a colorful and welcoming square full of tents.  The artists stood under their tents, with plastic covers shielding their work from the light rain that was falling earlier.

The artists were as uniquely different as their work.  The little plaza was a feast for the eyes: paintings ranged from crisp and unbelievable realism to finger painted faces to pure color and chaos splattered on a canvas.  The one common thread that I discovered was this: every Barcelona artist I met is inspired by their city.  It was refreshing.  Through the eyes of these artists, the city of Barcelona is just as fresh and fascinating than it is for a new-comer like me.

I got in a wonderful Spanish practice session as I chatted with the artists about the famous art icons from their country; discussions settled upon Dalí and Picasso, as well as the famous poet García Lorca.  I felt comfortable talking with the artists, as they all tried to help each other understand me and vice versa.  Their smiles and encouragement boosted my confidence, and my Spanish began to flow out of me.  My use of the language is not fantastic, but my 30 minute practice with these locals improved my accent and understanding, and gave me the push I needed to at least attempt speaking Spanish.

Most of the artists’ customers are from other countries. Because of the economic situation in Spain, many Spaniards are not able to purchase the often pricey pieces of art.  Also, the rich cultural history of art in Barcelona comes at a price for modern-day artists. They explained that everyone is Barcelona thinks they can paint, and paint well, so it diminishes the value of real working and creative artists.

The Association portrayed a sense of unity among the artists.  They are all friends, though their ages and art are different.  Through their involvement in the Association, artists can find an audience in anyone who walks by the plaza on a Saturday and Sunday.  I was fascinated at every tent.  A piece from one of these artists will be money well-spent: the artists will explain in great detail and with enthusiasm their inspiration, their technique, and their passion.  This is not like buying a print from a gift shop.  Every piece at the market has a tangible story behind it, and you will know this story when you purchase the piece.

My teammates left our interview as the artisans were packing their pieces away.  We left that day with more than art pieces: we left with a better understanding of what it means to be a local artist in Barcelona.

One Response to Artist Market charming way to experience local passions

  1. vic budura
    March 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    The Artist Market article transported me to Barcelona without leaving my home. The description of the artists and their economic situation brought home the reality of life in Spain today. Based on this article, i am looking forward to reading all the stories in this issue of Alpine magazine.