New Talent: MuralesLian in Barcelona
Where are you originally from?
I was born in the USA but, as a teenage girl I was disgusted by North American culture and binary gender divides, I upped sticks and ended up in Barcelona, Catalonia. I lived there for almost two decades. I think who I am formed more in Barcelona than the States, so I say I’m Catalan. But identity is a social expectation.
Is there a story behind your artist name?
Unfortunately not. The art world, and society in general, is so awash with attempts towards a complexity alluding to an obscure intelligence that all too often all clarity is lost. In my art, and in life I strive to be lucid. My name is Lian. I paint murals. MuralesLian.
Where was your first mural? Is it still available to see today?
Well that takes me back a bit! I first started painting in my teens, not long after I realised that the life of an author, my previously desired vocation, required subtleties I could not offer. But I guess my first mural was done on two withered bits of plywood in my back yard that I’d dragged out of a dumpster in downtown Boston. Money was tight when I was growing up, and human relationships rarely presented in a positive light by my parents, so at the peak of my sexual virility I attempted to depict what I understood to be the act of copulation. Thankfully, that work no longer exists.
When/Why did you start putting your art onto walls?
Again, because in my youth money was tight. Canvases and the materials of high brow artistry – were never available to me. But walls were, and in the late 90s, in a Chicago that was just discovering empty warehouses and techno, a healthy disregard for private property presented the aspiring artist with an endless supply of blank canvases.
Do you paint with spray cans or do you use any other techniques or media?
Yea, spray cans, and occasionally an air gun when, you know, there’s one knocking around! Spray paint is great. The quest for ever newer mediums often forgets the beauty of that which we already have.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Where to start, or end! Life itself. I love figures, faces and hands… lives and the that which cannot be lived, brought together by the ideas that drive us forward, only to drag us back again.
Which of your artworks are you most proud of (And where can we find them)?
I think that would have to be my piece in Terni, which you can see on my instagram feed. It was done across a long wall of a municipal market just outside Rome and the idea was to draw attention to the brutal realities of migration. At the far left you see a man drowning, followed by a mother and child draped in a thermal blanket as if they have just been rescued. Further on an adolescent girl looks toward the right of the mural and is confronted by a impassive blue eye starring back at her. Savagely, these are all images we see on a daily basis and, far worse still, realities living beings have to endure day in day out. Words can never say what a painting can.
Have you collaborated with other artists ? Do you have any artists you would like to
I’ve done many collaborations with RocBlackbloc, Tizne, ideasalcolor, Meot, Fuga, Nadie and other old-school Barcelona street artists. Alot of them don’t paint a great deal anymore. Some people have to grow up and get real jobs I guess. Not me! There are three artists that I really really want to collaborate with: Adnate, Mariano Antedomenico (el.mar.ian), and BKFoxx
Is there a dream place worldwide where you would like to create an artwork?
Rome, without a shadow of a doubt (so, as you’ve just learned, I got close but no cigar!) Italy, in all its sordid glory comes with a texture, a detail that doesn’t exist in other places. The food, the wine, the women, all combine to douse a palate with everything the sensual mind may require. And Rome, standing corruptly in all its blood sodden imperialism, taunting Europe with the beauty it has ravaged over thousands of years, deserves nothing less than a meagre contribution from a failing artist.
Do you have any exhibitions or upcoming art festivals?
I usually spend my summers travelling Europe, expressing my gratitude to those that feed and house me by leaving a piece behind. Relationships cannot be measured or marketed. I strive to make the same true of painting, but that’s an uphill struggle.