Juan Miguel Palacios' exhibition, Wounded, is fast approaching, with the show's private view only a few days away. So before you decide to come and join us at the gallery to view his thought-provoking art, why not get to know him a bit better?
Between painting the walls, hanging the paintings and making sure those coming to the private view have enough beer to drink, we got chatting with the artist himself. Palacios has a lot of stories to tell about his career as an artist so we feel privileged he's letting us share some of them with you…
Every artist that is on our roster has to answer one very important question… Why did you become an artist?
That is a funny story. Apparently, I was that kind of hyperactive kid, who kept doing many things at the same time, although one of my favorites was painting. An activity that went with astonishing speed, from paper to table, from table to floor and from floor to wall. My mother, somewhat tired of the situation, tried to enroll me in children's art school. I was 6 years old then, and like the great majority of children at that age, I wanted to go to karate classes instead. My mother, after some time trying and seeing that I did not accept her offer, she decided to lie to me. So, one afternoon she told me: "It's okay, let's go to karate classes." I still remember that as we were walking down the street, I was playing "karate kid" and when we finally arrived, it was a painting school! Although tremendously disappointed by my mother's lie, I remember seeing all the painting's utensils, the easels, the canvases and I was so amazed that I decided to give it a try. The following day was "carnival party" at the studio, and my mother dressed me up in one of my sister's costume of red riding hood, hahaha, after that, I never wanted to do anything different.
Ha! That's one of the best answers we've heard so far, so we have Karate to thank for the beautiful pieces that are now on our walls! Do you have any other stories for us?
Back in the days about 10-12 years ago, the "La Latina" neighborhood association in Madrid, where I had my studio and an Art School at that time, asked me to participate in a cultural event against the demolition of a historic park because of the construction of private houses. We agreed on painting a mural in one of the large walls of the cathedral that faced to the park while the rest of the activities happened.
That day I woke up early in the morning and went to the park to organize everything. When I was on the scaffold priming the wall, the police showed up and came to me. I couldn't hear their alerts because I was wearing my headphones, so one of them approached the scaffolding and moved it roughly to get my attention. Startled, I turned quickly and inadvertently; I struck a bucket full of paint that fell down on the head of the police. You cannot imagine his reaction. They tried to arrest me and take me to the police station, but at that moment the director of the association just appeared. They could not do anything to me because everything was legal. They had asked for all the necessary permits, even to paint the mural. The bishopric accepted to paint one of the walls, so they had to leave me free because I did nothing illegal. That day I became a hero for throwing a bucket of paint on the head of a police officer. It was so funny!
Your stories just keep getting better. It sounds like you've had a great career so far, but what inspires you?
My wife. She is not an artist, she is a scientist, and she is the one that brings the light to my life. She is the one who I talk to about new ideas, the processes, and the first person to see my new pieces. She is my starting point, my way, and my aim.
It is really nice to hear that your wife is the one who inspires you, I'm sure she is really excited for you to be here in London right now, but what is most exciting part for you?
Being here, showing my works at Lazarides gallery. I think London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. Probably, along with New York, is the center of the world so having the opportunity to show my works here, is kind of a dream come true.
We're happy to have you. So, is there a message behind the works?
Of course, my work, although it has a clear figurative language, contains a strong conceptual load. In this case, it is a reflection on how the daily life experiences shape our way as human beings. Although the genotype influences, the phenotype is the one that draws our character.
What would you like the visitors to think and feel when they're leaving the exhibition?
First of all, what I would like is that after seeing this exhibition visitors could get closer to art and could enjoy more art. Second, of all, I would like them to make a reflection about the world we live in. Sometimes I think we live very fast and in a very selfish way. And third of all, I would like everybody to leave the show with one of my paintings! Haha!
Just to clarify he means buy – not take off the wall, ha! Do you have a favourite piece at all in the show?
The truth is that I always find it tough to choose a piece as my favourite. What I like is the entirety. I usually work in series and what I am looking for is to see how they work together. That is the interesting thing about an exhibition; it is the best way to understand the meaning behind it and see how the paintings interact.
We're beyond excited to see the visitors' reactions – it is going to be a great exhibition! We just have one last question – if you could give the world a bit of advice, what would it be?
For me, the best advice is to not give advice, but if I have to say something, it'd be, trust your feelings and never give up.
That's it – interview over! We'll let you get on with your day, thank you so much for speaking with us, it has been a pleasure.
If you want to see Juan Miguel Palacios' exhibition, Wounded, the show opens to the public on Friday 22nd June – please see the details below for more help:
The exhibition runs from 23rd June 2017 to 22nd July 207
Gallery: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm. Admission is free.
Address: 11 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HR
Phone: +44 (0) 207 636 5443
Enquire about the show and the artwork here.
A look at the artwork featured in Juan Miguel Palacios debut UK exhibition, Wounded...