The walls of the Almeria boulevard, which is adjacent to the Alhamilla Secondary Education Institute, were adorned with nature, colour and art for the Almeria Urban Culture Festival. Irene Lopez Leon, the creative genius behind this work, shares with Ideal the secrets to her success.
Do you devote your time solely to graphic arts? Or do you combine painting with other disciplines?
This is what I have chosen to do. This has been my sole focus for the past seven years. It started as a pick-and-a shovel job, but it became my full-time occupation. It's all about daring. I have more fear than desire.
What kind of training do you need to be able to do your job?
-I studied something entirely different to fine arts. Marketing and business were my main focus, not painting. Although I was good at painting and drawing, I lost my way a little. According to my working-class family the arts have always been reserved for the wealthy. When they asked me where I would go to make art, I replied that I didn't intend to earn a living. It is much harder for women, as there are very few references. There are four. More is written about her dramas and less about her work. Although it seemed impossible, I'm here.
Can you make a living from art?
In my case, it was possible. It is possible because it is possible.
How did you get a foothold in this competitive world?
"Actually, it's not clear. There is no secret, it's just work, work and more work. I was stuck somehow. Muralism and urban art have broken with the mould of traditional art. It is like something new that attracts attention, and is liked almost by everyone. This path opened up a lot more doors for me. You can find art everywhere. Series, movies, music, advertising...However, the profession of artist is highly reviled, under suspicion and assumptions that it hardly has a future in terms of job stability.
- Do you ever feel criticized for your dedication to this profession?
I have been blessed with a lot of criticism. These are the things that feed me and make me want to do what I love. They also help me grow.
How long does it take to create a mural?
It all depends on your neurotic state at the moment. A mural is usually completed in four days. However, this can vary depending on how detailed the detail is.
Do you have a creative process for creating your compositions?
-That's where I got you. I paint what I love: landscapes, animals, nature... lots of vegetation. It is easy to see why the viewer loves it. Although I use figurative elements in my work, the majority of it is colored. I love the effect it has. The final result of a work is visible when it is viewed. There is more to art than the paintbrush strokes or the chisel strokes of a sculpture. It involves a process that relies on reasoning, tests and trial-error.
Do you work alone, or with a team?
I work mostly alone. It is more than just painting. There is also an administrative component and a contact with the client. Although I work mostly alone, there are times when I may need to be supported. It all depends on the project's complexity.
Which materials do you use for your work? Are they expensive?
A can of spray costs between four and twenty euros. Because of walls, you can't use plastic paint on certain surfaces. To create a mixed technique, I combine spray and paint. This allows me to use blurred brushstrokes with thicker brushstrokes.
What advice would you offer to someone who wants to devote themselves to art but is afraid of the prejudices?
They should dare to give it a cane because everything can happen. It's just like any other trade, practice is the key. Every mural I paint I learn something. Once you have mastered the technique, it's time to continue painting regularly.