Hello everybody! This week, I’m excited to feature something new on my blog – an interview with local Barcelona artist Xavi Julià. Here’s his interview, where he was kind enough to tell me all about himself and his work with BarcelonInk.
OK, first things first. What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Xavi Julià and I’m from Barcelona.
How long have you lived in Barcelona for?
I was born here 34 years ago. Lots of times I want to get out of here and get to know other places, but in the end I always want to come back. Apart from half a year in France, 8 months in Senegal, and a few holidays, I’ve spent all my time here. And now my life is here – my friends, my family, my work…and BarcelonInk!
So what is it that you do with BarcelonInk?
I draw my favorite corners of the city. I don’t look for typical postcard images or the most publicized images of Barcelona. Actually, I don’t look for anything.
Suddenly, I’ll find a place that draws my attention, without having gone out to look for it.
Things that I love: sunlight on the buildings and the shadows it creates. The balance between light and shade is what brings them to life. Light is crucial, and I always calculate the best moment to draw a place based on the angle of the sun.
I also like clothing hung outside to dry, the flags that wave from the balconies, parasols, bikes…they’re details that give the city color. People don’t appear in my drawings, but you know that they live there because of these details. Besides, how do the neighbors manage to coordinate the colors of their houses and clothing so well?
I like antennas and cables, chimneys, high-voltage transmission poles, and old cracked walls – there’s nothing more poetic.
And above all, I do drawings on the spot I don’t use photos (except for my oil paintings, at the moment): the atmosphere of a place, the noise, the people talking, the music, the heat or the cold. It’s all in the drawings if you’ve been there.
How long have you drawn for? How did you get started with BarcelonInk?
BarcelonInk is less than a year old, it’s a baby. But before this, I did quick sketches of the city when I saw something that attracted my attention. Drawing is a special way of looking at things. You end up with the soul in a sketch.
One day I posted one of these sketches on Facebook, and a friend said she’d like to buy it. That encouraged me, and I started going out to draw more. People liked my drawings and whenever somebody bought one, I got a rush. I also got put in charge of doing three mural paintings for a hostel and two oil paintings. Every time I did something I enjoyed it more, and I started dedicating more time to my drawings. And that’s where I am now: BarcelonInk and I are getting to know each other.
Describe Barcelona in 3 words.
What’s your favorite place or thing in Barcelona?
In general, Gaudí’s architecture, the clothing hanging from the balconies in the Raval, and the houses piled high on the mountains in the Carmelo neighborhood.
Anything else to add?
¡Muchas gracias! And lots of ink!
Thanks to Xavi too for sharing his work and story with me! You can find Xavi’s work at his website BarcelonInk (there’s no ‘a’ at the end of Barcelona).
Here are some more of his pieces: