Sergio Mora

INTERVIEW

How would you describe your contribution to the Truck Art Project?

I’ve been investigating for some time the transfer of the language of ceramic tile murals to painting. On the basis of a collaboration with Philippe Starck, when I designed some murals for some restaurants belonging to the chef José Andrés, I became attached to this language and I’ve continued to develop it in other contexts. Basically, the idea is to combine and harmonise disconnected languages in a subtle and elegant way. I feel very comfortable with the notion of combining tradition and modernity.

How do the two sides of the truck engage in dialogue?

One of the sides is more narrative and complex, and the other more minimalist and straightforward. On one side, we can see a landscape with a scene typical of the science fiction comics of the 1950s, where a woman is attacked by a wild animal or monster and the hero gets ready at that moment to save her. Here I combine pulp and cartoon iconography with the aesthetic sensation of traditional cobalt blue murals and of old prints. On the other side, I retain a detail of the girl and a tropical print design that might well decorate a vase or a dish.

What do you see as the challenges of the project?

Above all, the format. I’m not a graffiti artist. I generally work in my studio and I’m not in the habit of going out and painting in the street. But I love the idea. I’ve been working for some months with larger formats than usual, and I’m very keen on working on this type of large-scale project.

How does this project fit into your artistic development and discourse?

I like to change context, always doing new things and confronting new challenges. It’s highly motivating. For me, an artist’s discourse is the route taken through that person’s career and how the work evolves, refreshes itself and stays alive. The project was a gift from heaven because it arrived just when I was very eager to try out this language on large-format murals that aren’t tiled.

Some artists admit they arrived with a preconceived idea which they then had to modify, or which grew in other directions when they were confronted with a support like this. Was that your case?

I generally work a lot on the idea and the drawing before I start painting. This is above all because when I paint, I like to focus on the plasticity, the brushwork, the texture and so on. I therefore tend to be quite faithful to the original design and composition, and what interests me is giving it pictorial potency in the execution, although some decisions are always taken at the last minute.

How have you envisaged the reception of a work like this one, which is found rather than sought out by the spectator, and which doesn’t circulate through the usual artistic channels?

I love the idea that it should be the artwork that takes the viewer by surprise, turning up by chance in the most unsuspected places. I find it interesting that the first thing we perceive is that sensation of something traditional which strikes us as familiar, but we see if we look more closely that the iconography used is not what we generally see on traditional wall tiles, but a surrealist and poetic universe with a touch of humour in a retro-futurist, tropical, cosmic and magical ambience.

And the fleetingness of its reception?

The impact is often greater when you’re not very sure what you’ve seen, because what you receive is a more abstract sensation. On the other hand, I like the impact produced by an initial sensation of the fragility and delicacy of drawings done on porcelain, but painted this time on something as solid as a trailer.

How did you tackle the scale? Were you used to it?

I’ve done things in a large format, though it’s not usual for me. I’m not accustomed, at least until now. But I love it and it greatly interests me to work in a large format. I enjoy the process and the result.

What do you get out of participating in a project like this, and what do you think you contribute to it?

It opens up new possibilities for me. What I can contribute is my language and my universe.

What’s the interesting thing about a project like the Truck Art Project?

It’s a fully rounded idea. For me, it’s a luxury to participate in this project.

Sergio Mora (Barcelona, 1975) is a painter and illustrator from Barcelona is the chief representative of Spanish Pop Surrealism. The instantly recognisable style of this artist, known as ‘Magicomora’, has crossed borders. His works are exhibited internationally, he publishes his own comics, and he has illustrated numerous titles for the most prestigious publishing houses. Childhood, toys, music, science fiction movies and monstrous creatures of all kinds are constant presences in his oeuvre. Hidden behind the amiable and magical image of his work is a painter of the first order whose full power has yet to be discovered. Capable of transmitting a universe of pictorial energy, his own personality shines forth without needing to be linked with any given figurative image or trend. The winner of a Grammy award for the best design of 2016 for the album El Poeta Halley by the band Love of Lesbian (Warner), Sergio Mora has also won over the creative directors of the Gucci fashion house. He has designed the tile murals that cover the walls, ceilings and floor of Bazaar Mar, the Miami restaurant of the chef José Andrés, with interiors by Philippe Starck.