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Yoseba MP The creator of “Super-abuelas”
Yoseba MP The Creator of "Super Abuelas"
Grandmothers play such an important role because of the unconditional love that they give, their wisdom and their hard work made a big impression on all of us during childhood and adolescence. Grandmothers mean a lot in every home, neighbourhood, town and city across the country; Yoseba MP knows it and manages to communicate it in a big way via his art.
To start off by getting to know about you...how did you get started with painting and art?
I started doing graffiti as a child when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I stopped it for a while, but when I finished high school my mother half forced me to study fine arts because she could see that I could do well at it. She saw something in me. Everything went forward on the basis of those studies.
What was the first big project you remember and how old were you?
It really wasn't a big project; it was a big prize. What made me take painting seriously was winning the youth with promise contest. The prize money was € 6,000. I put my name down for it and I won; that was when I felt like a painter for the first time. There was a before and an after in my professional career.
You are known as the painter of Galician super-grandmothers: what is a super grandmother?
All those who are in rural Galicia are super-grandmothers. They have a daily job throughout the year. They take care of the house, the garden, the grandchildren, the food and, in the end, the whole family. These ladies started working from a very young age. They are very old and yet they manage to cope with everything. It's really amazing. Rural life means working from when you are very young to very old.
And if she is Galician? What differences would you say there are with super grandmothers from other regions of our country?
Let's see, there are super-grandmothers everywhere. A lot more work usually falls on women’s shoulders as far as the home is concerned. And in Galicia, people are smallholders. In other words, the grandmothers here do physical work. One super-grandmother might work harder than another one depending on the type of vegetable garden they have. The houses in rural Galicia have their garden and their families and, in this case, the grandmothers work in the field as well as in the house.
Who was the first super grandmother you created? Tell us how you met her and what inspired you to do this kind of art.
The first one is the only anonymous one I have. It was an exhibition that I had to do of an exhibition by Cocido de Lalín. I did a Google search for” old lady from rural Galicia” and printed that photo to do it. She is the only one; the rest I had the good fortune to meet them.
Do they volunteer? Do you get messages from their children or they themselves?
Above all, their grandchildren suggest them. Well, more granddaughters than grandsons, it's curious. They tell me about their grandmother's life. The next step after this is to talk to the Town Council and then we get on with it. I don't always do murals, I also do pictures, which is why these calls are great for me and I get to know lots of grandmothers.
What is the selection process and how do you choose the superpower?
Well, I don't have a massive demand either. Many times, they call me from a Town Hall and commission me to paint a mural. When this happens, what I usually do is post something on my social networks and a few people show up. It is not usually that many, although now more and more people know me. As far as superpowers are concerned, I try to ensure it has something to do with them. They almost always have something that stands out above other things. For example, recently I drew a grandmother who looked out of the window a lot and was very observant. Right in front of her house there was the house where she had lived all her life, and it was already in ruins. I drew her with binoculars on top of a water tank since her husband worked at the town’s water purification plant. It could be that another grandmother comes from a place where some kind of food is famous, and I choose something related to it; I don't usually have a hard time finding the superpower. There are always circumstances because I have previously been thinking about many things and that personality fits with some idea that I had before.
Ok, we are clear about the selection process and how you do it, but then to put this on a wall of a private or municipal building, the first one would not be easy. How do you convince a politician or local government representative?
Very easy, they usually call me. They give me everything I need, so it’s great.
Let's talk about Galicia, what is the world of art like in your province? Both the positive things that you see currently, and the negative things that you would like to improve ...
People who are artists live precariously. There is no art market. The galleries are small and there are no buyers, so you are not guaranteed any annual sales. People who dedicate themselves to art have another source of income. Before making murals, which is what is going well for me now, I decided to set up a painting academy and that is what allows me to have that fixed source of income.
Besides Galicia, where else have you gone with your art?
I have been to Guadalaviar (Teruel) - it is very beautiful - and twice in Salamanca too. They called me to go to Mexico and Naples, but it didn’t pay well. They only pay you for expenses. We do a job that involves a lot of effort, both physical and psychological, where having talent counts. I refuse to do things for free, regardless of whether it is here, in New York or on the moon. I need a commission; it's something basic. You have to get paid for the work.
The place in the world where you would like to exhibit?
Well, the truth is Galicia, anywhere in Galicia. Not for anything special, but because it is where I am better understood. The super-grandmother is very characteristic of Galicia and here everything makes more sense. It is a better place than any other place in the world.
What is the worst thing you've heard about any of your murals?
The truth is that I haven’t. A few times when I was beginning to do a work, someone may have thought that I was doing vandalism with graffiti, but when they see the finished work, I have never heard anything bad. You have to keep in mind that I go with a crane and with plenty of material.
And the nicest thing a grandmother has said to you?
Well, something quite emotional happened to me. It turns out that my works were exhibited in an exhibition at the Torrente Ballester de Ferrol Museum. At that exhibition, there was a television with a video on a loop with pictures of the entire creative process of each one of the paintings. Well then, a grandmother began to cry because she identified herself closely with the paintings and my family just happened to be there. My mother spoke to that grandmother and they both began to cry. It couldn't have made me happier. They are incredible emotions and that person forms part of that.
Thank you Yoseba MP!Read more Close