Alejandro Ontiveros. Portrait photography and interview by BARTE.
The Straight-Up series by Juan Barte is part of his long-term project “Enjoy Madrid”; A soul-searching work of love exploring the path of art through some of Madrid’s new art scene key individuals. Follow Barte’s Enjoy Madrid progress on Instagram @Juan.barte.
Formidable Magazine. What was your first creative impulse?
A.O. Probably when I was a child. Childhood means creativity. If we speak in artistic terms, with focus on my project, my first impulse was a line on a paper. One line it was, the first of many…
F.M. Is there some epiphany moment or experience that made you realize art would be your way?
A.O. Not really. It was more of a process rather than a particular moment. During high school, I was a good student and my focus was on Math and Engineering. But I guess the doodling in my notebooks had an influence in the end. Later, once studying a B.A, I focused on learning all the tools I would need in my art career.
F.M. How would you define your work?
A.O. First of, I work with the public in mind. The name of my studio is Arte Para Todos, (art for eveybody). To me, art is not for the artist but for others, the audience. The space and time surrounding an artist are the key elements, the context of his/her work to come alive. Mine has a particular rational and aesthetic, where the process is as important as the result. I like getting deeper into the concepts, I am obsessed with the concept of connection; between people, and individual connection as well.
F.M. Inspirational artists?
A.O. So many times inspiration comes at first sight. I think these three artists have an influence on me in terms of materials, color and forms: Ives Klein, Juan Uslé, and Richard Serra.
F.M. Would you say your studio setting influences your work?
A.O. For sure. As I said the context is crucial. A clean and bright space is what I need for creation.
F.M. Is the studio just a place for production or also inspiration is inherent to the studio space?
A.O. In my case, inspiration usually comes from experience; places I live, people I connect with. Thus, my studio started to be an inspiration itself, but, I guess this will be less so as time goes by.
F.M. Did you have a plan for the layout of your studio or did it develop organically?
A.O. I had a plan, but it changed. Is always changing. The good thing about a flexible space with light furniture is versatility.
F: M. How is a day in the life of Alejandro Ontiveros?
A.O. I stress out easily. That’s why for a few months now, I start my day with some light exercises and breathing before breakfast. Then I go to my studio. Sometimes is a good idea to take some papers and just sketch. But there is a lot of computer work to do; open calls, portfolio, web updates… Finally, when I approach the final o a piece I’ve been working on, is great to work with light and music.
F.M. Best and worst night out?
A.O. Maybe the same one. I was living in Vienna with my girlfriend and my brother came to visit. At the end of the night, I remember a magic moment close to a public sculpture. Maybe the alcohol did influence, I had seen that sculpture many times before, but then it was special. The worst part: later on the way back home seemed endless.
F.M. What do you love and hate about Madrid?
A.O. I love its energy, everything you could imagine is here. What’s missing? The sea. I love the sea, it gives you an empty space just for losing your sight in, and breathe… In Madrid there is no such an “empty” space, so the rhythm is crazy, unhealthy. That I hate.
F.M. What’s on your playlist?
A.O. It changes a lot. Now I have Tame Impala, Phoenix, BeachHouse, Toro y Moi, Mow, Real State…
F.M. Our motto is “A life less ordinary”, what makes life less ordinary?
A.O. Fortunately, more people live less ordinary lives these days. It’s very important to find your own way, to think and do your own thing, to scape control.
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