Text JF. Pierets Artwork Bubi Canal
Surrealism meets objet trouvé, meets performance art and photography. The art of Bubi Canal includes many disciplines, yet its common thread is the ability to make you happy. His work is positive, colorful and carries you along into this magical world filled with vivid creatures in geometric shapes and powerful imagery. Here is a glimpse into the disarming universe of Bubi Canal.
You’re originally from Spain, but moved to New York?
I was born in Santander, Spain, and met my husband Paul—who is American—in 2010 when I was living in Madrid. I ended up moving to New York in 2011. I can’t say it’s been easy to start over. I didn’t know where to find a photo studio and didn’t have any friends. But, New York is an inspiring place to live as an artist. People are very open and it’s a comfortable place to share your work.
Your work hardly has any reference to current hypes or trends.
My work represents a fantasy world, a universe where magic happens and where the sun always shines. It’s about what I feel and love, so you could say it’s a projection of my emotions. I’m an optimist and want that to be reflected in my work. My work changes as I evolve. It reflects the changes that happen in my life, like my interest in new technologies. I love applying their capabilities into my work.
You work with the people and objects that surround you.
My ideas are simple, and I find the most practical way to execute them within my means. I use myself or my friends as models, I shoot mostly in my neighborhood and my sculptures are made of plastic toys and found items. My work is an extension of my life. I can be inspired by a person, location or garment, for example. I’m always checking second hand shops for pieces I can use.
What inspires you?
Being open to intuition, ideas for my work come quite easily to me. I wait and see what comes up. I feel a connection to Japanese culture; I used to watch a lot of Japanese TV shows while growing up in Spain. I’m also a huge fan of Michael Jackson—his work inspires me tremendously.
‘I enjoy myself and see where it goes from there.’
What’s your work method?
I don’t have an image in mind at the beginning. I start working with a blank slate, so the end result is usually surprising to me. I enjoy myself and see where it goes from there. At times, I’ll start working on something and don’t even know what shape it will take. The end result could be an object in itself, or become a prop for a photo. Sometimes the idea turns out to be about movement, and then I’ll take it into the realm of video.
You must have a lot of fun.
I do. I look for the easiest way to create my work, so the process remains enjoyable while being effective.
How did your first solo show in New York come to be?
My work was featured as part of a group show titled Psychopomp, which was curated by Alberto Cortés and showed at the Munch Gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Gallerist Lillan Munch, the owner of the venue, asked if I’d be interested in doing a solo show. That led to Special Moment, my first solo show in New York. I was looking forward to people’s reactions, which were positive. I’m currently working on a new exhibition for the Digitaliseum gallery in Malmo, Sweden, as well as a publication about my work, with text by Jorge Clar, for Pupa Press.
What’s your biggest dream?
To inspire in the same way I’ve been inspired by the work of others. Ideally, my creations could be a catalyst for positivity.
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