Pastel | Interview

Buenos Aires based artist Pastel focuses his work on experiences, using symbolism to explore and share stories about the various spaces where he paints. Find out more in our interview with him.

Some of the first pieces that we’ve seen by you were your murals for the Viavai project that we found very interesting, as you referred there to the contemporary human values and spoke of “the significance of human essence to live or survive in a chaotic time”. Can you please share some insights regarding the themes that interest you lately? Is your work about nature or the human nature? About the past or the present? Is chaos necessary for us to understand certain aspects of life or do you refer to chaos for people to become aware of it? 

There is no difference between nature and human nature. There is only one history, and our chaos is based on us trying to differentiate those terms. The modern culture denies the inhabit meaning is its purest way, it is the dilemma of live or survive. Working with nature and stone age tools to glorify humanity’s strength without referencing a specific culture is my way to discuss about it.

Pastel - Mural for The ArteSano Project, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic, 2014

Mural for The ArteSano Project, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic

Your work is mostly symbolic and complex from a conceptual perspective especially. What do the flowers and the arrows stand for? Also tell us about the Jungle Project.

I use to work with the local flora of the place where I am painting, inspired by the region, and sometimes with the herbs that grow just in front of the wall. It’s a way of talking about various complex issues, in a language that can be directly appreciated through color palettes and shapes. But I think about local identities as local jungles, understanding each component of the place, and the society. When I paint walls the references are also born from the place itself: from its history, geography, society, or politics, in order to translate the place into a flora, but with a heavier concept.

Pastel + Jufe, Miami, USA

Pastel + JUFE, Miami, USA

You use distinct colors – we see a lot of yellow, gold and pale pink in your murals. Is there any specific reason for this?

The color compositions are planned to working internal in the wall, but also with the environment. The architecture, urbanism, the skyline. Sometimes it is a historical architecture reference around the spot, and it must coexist tighter with the mural. I like to feel we build public spaces, and not as a selfish act of painting, as we’ll become an extra tool of chaos and gentrification.

La Escocesa Festival, Barcelona, Spain

Mural for La Escocesa Festival, Barcelona, Spain

Can you talk a bit about your recent collaborations with Franco Fasoli JAZ, Pixel Pancho and Agostino Iacurci and the occasions when you collaborated? 

They are big artists and also good friends. They make everything simpler to me, it is always a good chance to learn more.

Pastel + Jaz, Buenos Aires

Pastel + Jaz, Buenos Aires

What do you believe is the role of what you do in the streets? Do you usually link the works to the history, social, political and economic context of the space? And considering your influences when you paint in the public space, how would you like your works to be perceived? What is usually your relationship with the community? Do you get to talk to people living in the city or village where you paint or rather prefer isolated spaces?

I understand this work on the street as an urban acupuncturist. Modern cities are full of “non-places” because of irregular and non-inclusive master-planning. So paintings can be a kickstart for those places, working on the local identity and not being another tool of social gentrification. I base my work on experiences. Considering the space where I get to create my work, it may be a city, a rural space, an open space or a closed space. First of all by trying to understand the conditions that the environment offers and not to impose an already established concept for the space. Expecting the space to tell me how to work on it, and make it dynamic and natural.

Festival Asalto, Zaragoza, Spain

Mural for Asalto Festival, Zaragoza, Spain

Why did you choose this path? What is the hard part in what you do and what is the most fulfilling one?

As an architect I understood the cities are full of constructions and buildings, and it is not necessary to build up over and over. With very small and simple acts like paintings, we activate “non-places” with an identity and new function for the community.

Mural in Barcelona, Spain

Mural in Barcelona, Spain

What is next for you as an artist? What are your plans? Any upcoming events?

Continue painting, painting and painting…

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Images © Pastel

Find out more about the artist on his website, on Instagram and Facebook.