Private Conversations /Javier Velarde
Photo by EDUARDO BOILLOS
Styling by MIGUEL BECER
JAVIER VELARDE IS A MADRID BASED ARTIST WHO HAS RECENTLY VENTURED INTO CARPET MAKING. VELARDE TAKES SECTIONS OF HIS PAINTINGS, AND BLOWS THEM UP ON HIS COMPUTER TO COME UP WITH THE PATTERNS FOR HIS RICH CARPETS. A HUMBLE, HARD WORKING AND CHARMING MAN, HE WELCOMED PHILISTINE INTO HIS MADRID APARTMENT TO TALK ABOUT HIS BEGINNINGS AND HIS PLANS.
SMALL BIO OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE
I studied art at the European university of Madrid. After finishing my studies, I spent a few years producing work with the intention of showing it at various competitions, but the good news came in small doses. I participated in collective exhibitions at the Center for Young Art of Madrid and in other itinerant exhibitions, like the platform for emerging artists, “Atelier des jeunes”.
In parallel to my painting, I started experimenting with different mediums, namely textile, which led me to create a line of carpets, made in India, with the intention of giving a practical use to my artistic endeavours. This led me to start a course in textile art in the “Arte Diez” in Madrid which in turn led to new and exciting collaborations, like with Oxymoron-Madrid, which is a shoe brand whose identity focuses on prints and with whom I have designed a capsule collection coming out in Autumn/ Winter 2014.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A PAINTER?
I didn’t have too many artistic references at home, but I do remember my drawings in all my school books, and I would always alter the faces of models in magazines by changing the hair colour, their eye make-up...so my interest in art obviously stems from my childhood. I wasn’t initially a talented artist, but I was lucky enough to go to art classes on saturdays and sundays. As my judo belts progressively changed colour, so did my artistic career, first came the use of “plastidecor” followed by a passing enthusiasm for pastels, coloured pencils (a total revelation), aquarelle and finally oil paint! After that I discovered that my neighbours were very interesting people, with an interest in painting, car and dog exhibitions. On their weekends, they enjoyed flowers, visits to local villages and to antiques shops and thus, I became the really annoying neighbour who came on every trip with them. I learned to train my eye to distinguish beauty, and from there I went to university to study Art.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TASTE AT HOME?
I err on the collector side, not organised in excess, light, the colour grey, big spaces and high ceilings are my priorities. A big bed, a sofa for little siestas (as long as it’s not leather) and a warm and welcoming carpet like the ones I make. To be perfect, I need a big desk on which to draw, next to large windows accessorised by potted plants.
WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD HOME LIKE?
I grew up in a beautiful area in Santander. I can’t say we had a particular aesthetic criteria, it was comfortable without many requirements and we had lots of space in which to play. It was a home filled with love, although when our school grades came in my mother would hunt my brother and I down with a shoe.
HOW HAVE YOUR TASTES CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
I need perspective...When I look back on the evolution of my tastes, the mistakes of my past have allowed for my current understanding and I hope it will go on like that. I feel embarrassed about seeing old projects, I think “Howwas I capable of doing that” although I’m convinced that it forms part of my necessary evolution. What now seems banal to me was a total drama in it’s moment of conception.
I like to string together a timeline of all my projects that take me up until the present day, I can see my different stages throughout and I think it’s a beautiful thing to do.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
My biggest hobby is my routine and my dedication to producing. To see my projects take on their own identity and to shape them means that I don’t see any difference between my work hours and my free time, I enjoy mixing the two. Otherwise I love sport, but when I’m running I never lose sight of what I’m doing, I’m constantly thinking about projects. Chatting to friends, spending time with my family and eating out are my favourite things.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN REAL LIFE AND IN A FANTASY WORLD?
I think real life inspires me more than fantasy, although there are dreams to which I dedicate time to, although I’m keeping those a secret! I feel stimulated by real people, strong, optimistic people who know how allow themselves to feel emotional about how fortunate they are. I’m inspired by people by people who love themselves and make the things that seem so impossible to make into something simple. I can’t stand drama, although I have to admit that it’s a good platform for inspiration in which to re-create myself. I also interested in how people related to the spaces they live and work in, and how a particular circumstance can condition that relationship. In that context my imagination goes wild.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER SEEN IT?
My style is simple and contained, I’m influenced by domestic scenes. I am a nomad in his home, I speak of solitude and abandonment, I think one’s space should be understood as a reflection of one’s vulnerability. Coloured pencils and porcelain pieces are the vehicles which serve me to make this visions a reality.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS?
Like my artistic style, I am clean, easy going, colourful honest and devoid of artifices.