rocamoreart

Marta Rocamora's blog and Graphic Design Portfolio

First Signs

20151113_150704.jpg

Good Old Red Gallery in 2015, showing  the black area under the window before I painted my  2nd sign

Last year I started making signs for Red Gallery. I worked there for about 2 years previously, mostly taking care of cleaning, runners and recycling. The managers were aware and supportive of my artistic abilities. I got some very useful tips on techniques and materials from Jay Kaes, a grafitti artist and sign maker with whom I used to share studio space. This section is an attempt at recording my progress as a sign maker, rather than my prowess. The emphasis is on the learning process, in all its imperfection.

My first assignment was a very last minute request for signage in the venue of The Festival of Heat 2015, a food event hosted in the open space that used to be Red Market, now The Last Days of Shoreditch. I was asked to do signs inside the open air This is the flyer I was given:

Festival-of-Heat-Website

My grafitti colleagues did this banner for the front area of the building:

The-Festival-of-Heat3-1024x576

Not the easiest wall to work on. Curved, and covered with old posters and paint, flakes falling constantly

Unfortunately I haven’t got many pictures of this first assignment, as 6 signs had to be done in one day, but here’s one

20150929_104026.jpg

Barbed wire sign to match.

Sign number two was better documented…

 

 

 

Advertisements

Decisions Decisions…

hibi.jpg

Here’s some Hibi that I photographed who knows when.

Have you ever had that gut feeling that it’s time to do something that you’ve never done before? To take on a new challenge, and so get to know  yourself in a new situation.

Well, that’s me now. As time passes, I find that crucial life events happen ever more frequently and intensely. Life becomes more eventful, for sure, just when I was sure it was already full…

After 16 years in London, for the first time I miss the summer, the land, the sea where I come from. I long for warm summer nights spent outside, laughing with my friends, speaking the language of my childhood. I love the English language, for so many reasons. English opened an infinity of doors for me: to jobs, for sure, but most importantly, to discovering the cultural nuances of Londoners, who may come from all corners of the world. How amazing to have experienced the deepest connections with humans from all over, from Crouch End to Malaysia, via Hungary, Loughborough and South Africa!

hastings.jpg

The English Channel from the top of West Hill, Hastings… to be crossed again soon!

Still, I am well ready for a few laughs with my mates in my native tongue, and spending quality time with my family. I could get a flight as usual and be there in a few hours, but  I am in a good position to take some time off and enjoy the journey. So this morning I had an illumination:

LET’S GO TO BARCELONA ON THE BIKE!

Luckily, I happen to know someone who had a similar idea and carried it through to the end. Misa travelled from London to Prague, and wrote a blog about her journey, which was inspiring to read:

https://neboyblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/

I am looking to set off around the 16th of August.

🙂

http://www.freewheelingfrance.com/where-to-go/cycling-from-london-to-barcelona.html

https://www.adventurecycling.org/adventure-cyclist/online-features/tour-it-yourself-cycling-in-europe/

http://xenotropic.net/europe/

 

Artist residence in Schwedt, Germany, 14-26 July 2014

 

drawing away

drawing away

I was invited to participate in an artist residence in the town of Schwedt, in the old Democratic Republic of Germany, just a few miles away from the Polish border.

The residence was organised and funded by the Galerie am Kietz in conjunction with PCK, the enormous Oil Refinery that was built near the town in the late 50s and to this day continues to exert a profound influence on the town and people of Schwedt.

The PCK owns a huge collection of artwork. It was a usual practice during communist times for big companies to recruit artists, who would produce work to improve the working environment, promote the company and, in many cases, to provide imagery in compliance with the ideals of communism. Our task was to provide our responses to that collection.

PCK mosaic in the Canteen

Detail of a Mosaic in the PCK Canteen

I cannot begin to describe how deeply moving, intense, emotional,  every minute of this experience has been for me.

 

First Impressions

I landed in Germany – for the first time ever in my life- as the last match of the World Cup Final was taking place: Germany Vs Argentina The Germans had previously defeated the Cup hosts, Brazil, at a shocking 7-0 score. At Schonefeld Airport, the information screens showed the football, not the departures.

at schonefeld airport

at schonefeld airport

Down in Mitte, all the bars had screens showing the match…. I sat at a pizza  place with a Fritz Kola, and watched the Germans win the Cup in the last 10 minutes. I felt that I had landed in The Country of Winners, an intense sensation considering Germany lost two world wars, and had a wall dividing its capital for almost 30 years.

 

Arrival in Schwedt

The first thing that struck me upon arrival in Schwedt was how scarily clean and tidy everything is. I hadn’t seen so much pavement without a scrap of rubbish ever in my life.

Schwedt at midday 1

Midday in Schwedt

and how deserted the streets were… When I asked about this, this lady told me: “Germans go to work, or go to the shops, or go home, or take care of their gardens. They don’t hang around”

midday in schwedt town centre

Midday in Schwedt town centre

Coming from Spain and London, this was enough to shock me.

The next thing I noticed is how much elderly people live in Schwedt…. you see them everywhere, walking around in motorised walking aids, wheelchairs, rollators… often with painfully bent backs intheir old age.

The absence of children around is eerie. I was told that there are kids around, but in July, most of them are away on holiday. Nevertheless, the atmosphere in Schwedt was for me one of superficial perfection, and a lot of unknown gurgling underneath…. At night, I felt more reluctant to walk alone than I would in the middle of London…

Schwedt by night

Schwedt by night. You can see the outline of the Catholic church at the back

Schwedt by night pic2

But the nights were warm and mysterious, and very hard to resist…. This is how I came across this old lady who came out every night at 11 pm to walk her dog, accompanied by a carer and her rollator walking aid, immaculately dressed in white ironed trousers, and a freshly pressed shirt. How beautiful to see her take care of her appearance despite the lonely streets, the late hours…the invisibility.

Studio Time

On my first day in the Gallery, I was offered this amazing studio space:

My studio in Schwedt

My studio in Schwedt

I set up my studio on the second floor of the Galerie am Kietz, a building originally used to dry tobacco grown in Germany(!). There were many of these buildings around, but they got demolished as tobacco production faded. This one survived, and I was told that, back in the 90s, some members of the artist community in Schwedt squatted it. Eventually it became established as the community Arts centre in town.

wiew from the studio window

wiew from the studio window

As soon as I settled, I felt compelled to draw clean, orderly, straight lines… I started with the Catholic Church in Schwedt, as it presides its town centre. Later I found out there is also an Evangelical Church, with a Christ inside that is suspended in the air without a cross…. a true vision of freedom? Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to visit it. Two weeks is very little time, I found out!

work in progress in the studio

All of us

all of us

most of us

Here we all are, on the first day, (from top left to bottom right)

Janet Grau, (green top) An American performance and community artist who moved to Germany for love, with whom I shared studio space and some delicious conversation. Her work for the residence  brought  young people from Schwedt to work in the studio on a regular basis, and that was a great opportunity for all of us. Her sensitivity, professionality, commitment and self-discipline are admirable.

http://www.janetgrau.de/

 

Jan Brokof (with cap) and Alex Höfs-Schulz (behind Jan)

Both Jan and Alex were born, like me, in 1977. I was born in Barcelona two years after the death of Franco. They were born in Communist Schwedt and lived the fall of the wall, with all its consequences. They took me around Schwedt, showed me places that no official tour could ever show. They told me about what it was like to be a young teenager in this strange town (not easy), and allowed me to see a bit of the world through their eyes…. At night, when Beer O’clock time found us still in the studio, we laughed and talked till late, and their company was the most wonderful present I got from Germany.

Alex works with printing and paper cuts, and his work has a profound spiritual quality… his room in the final exhibition felt like swimming in a pristine lake, cleansing the mind and feeding the soul. He belongs to a tradition of Artists that filled the town of Schwedt with little sculpted corners of hope when times were dark and difficult.

http://papierschnitt.info/

Jan is an explosion of enthusiasm and his zest for life is impossible to resist. His curiosity takes him to all sorts of  places, from the most elaborate woodcuts,  to filming antheaps devouring a city made of fruit. During the symposium he came up with an idea to open an Art Gallery in Schwedt that would home the PCK and Schwedt town collection of artworks, and make it available to all. I have no doubt he will make it happen.

He took me on the bike around the buildings of his childhood, his school and his first plattenbau home (both demolished), and opened his home (and his mum’s!) to me. His daughter Amanda is just as viby as him, wonderful and free.

http://www.galerie-baer.de/en/artists/jan-brokof/

 

Waldemar Wojciechowski and Danuta Wojciechowska (just below him, holding a flower) are both Artists and university teachers in Szczecin, in Poland. They were warm and friendly, and had participated in the Schwedt artist residence in previous occasions. They are skilled, intelligent artists, and I particularly enjoyed Danuta’s darkly atmospheric work in the final exhibition.

 

Ènrico Drømmefanger is a young Schwedt artist. He was super curious and interested in all of us, and collaborated with Ernesto Leal and Janet Grau in both their projects. I had a short conversation with him about life in Schwedt for young people. He got goosebumps telling me about how much he cared about his mates and the life Schwedt offers him, and told me the young are around and very  much active and creative in this town, if not visible at first sight. His company, and that of his mates Miri and Angie, was a breath of fresh air and a vision of hope for the future.

https://www.facebook.com/incart1330

 

Günter Neubauer von Knobelsdorff, is a veteran who produced work for the collection of PCK back in the 60s. He was friendly, kind and willing to speak of the old DDR times, which brought much enquiry from all of us. I felt for him as we bombarded him with all sorts of questions. He painted a large amount of watercolours, faded ‘Earth from the Sky’ maps of the local area that for me felt like a distant dream of the past, one that  that I wished to wake up from but was inevitably lured back into by its softness.

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%BCnter_Neubauer_von_Knobelsdorff

 

Cora Vries (black top), A Dutch artist with whom I had some fascinating and fun conversations. I was touched by her relaxed manner, sweetness and honesty. Her studio became a forest of canvas and white banners, and straight black lines and stitches.

http://www.coravries.nl/

 

Kate Kotcheff is a producer, photographer and film maker coming from London. She is a seasoned professional with an acute eye and inexhaustible curiosity. I was lucky to spend time in her company, learn from her, and enjoy together a considerable amount of  bisongrass vodkas! Alex took us to see the old Schwedt prison at her request, and it was one of the most intense moments of the entire residence. The photographs she took during the residency are absolutely stunning. She also dug out from the archives and exhibited a selection of fascinating images of Schwedt at the height of the population boom.

 

Christian Uhlig (with cap) and Susanne Hoppe (who is not in the picture), work for the Galerie am Kietz, and are both artists. They dealt with our requests on a day to day basis, and took good care of us.

 

The man in the suit is the Mayor of Schwedt, Bürgermeister Jürgen Polzehl

 

Below Kate it’s me, and Ernesto Leal, who put my name forward for this residence, and without whom I wouldn’t be there. He is one of the managers at Red Gallery London, where I work, and his personality is simply too big to describe in just a few sentences here.

He curated an exhibition in London featuring the Artworks in the PCK collection back in 2011, called The Big Society.

 

And finally Roswitha Flöter, head of PR at PCK. This confident lady works and thrives in the full-on male environment of the Oil Refinery. I particularly enjoyed our last night together, when she was off duty and her naughtyness showed up after a few of those bisongrass vodkas…

 

Finally I would like to thank Alicja and Viola, PCK staff, who did a superb job of translating and interpreting, and made themselves super available to us during our stay. It’s been a pleasure to meet you, ladies!

 

Visit to the PCK Oil Refinery

 

PCK Raffinerie

PCK Raffinerieit

The sheer hugeness of this place blew me away…. it goes on and on for miles, a town of pipes and chimneys almost as big as Schwedt itself. The oil is mined in Western Siberia, and it travels for  3 weeks  until it reaches the plant…. It was eerily impressive to see an oil refinery so clean. Not many funny smells (from the bus that showed us around) gardeners cutting grass, workers with pristine overalls….

The food in the canteen was excellent…

But it is still an oil refinery…

More towers and pipes

More towers and pipes

Back in the 60s, thousands of young people moved to Schwedt to build the refinery, work in it and in the more than 70 companies feeding of or supplying PCK with goods. People were also needed to  build housing and schools for the increasing population. But gradually, PCK has required less and less staff, and permanent contracts have been hard to come by for young people. Hence the migration of young people to Berlin and other cities, and the strange sense of disconnection between the young and the old I perceived so intensely during my stay. In three years’ time, a considerable amount of skilled workers will reach retirement age…. who is going to replace them? At the time of the fall of Communism in 1989, Schwedt had 55 082 inhabitants. by 2012, 31 042, more than 1/3 gone, and counting.

The people that came and built prefabricated blocks of houses, and lived in them, were also told to tear them down…. People’s homes, people’s special places, built to be torn down… Are people expendable too?

It is very strange for someone like me, who has never lived in a place with decreasing population, to see nature allowed to reposess the spaces that once were built up.

 

20140715_105001

20140715_104253 20140715_104224

20140715_103632 20140715_102637

20140715_102315

In contrast with all of this, Schwedt is surrounded by an enormous Nature Park, a river and a huge network of man made canals and landscaped fields and hills. truly beautiful.

20140718_141720 20140722_202118 20140722_204106 20140722_204331

Painting

One of the main successes of this residence is that we made it possible for Artwork from the PCK collection to be exhibited alongside our own creations. At first we asked PCK to take some of these paintings to the studio for inspiration and reference, which they agreed to,  and the natural progression for most of us is to have these pictures seen by the people with whom they are so deeply connected. This opened up dialogue between the PCK, the artists and the people, and many fascinating stories surfaced, especially during the vernissage. In the video links at the end of this blog, you can see a man who recognised himself in a picture. Others knew the artists or the models in person and shared their stories with us.

It also fascinating to observe how some of the imagery typical of communist idealism pictures is still very much in use nowadays…

workers unite

the image on the left is taken out from the PCK website, the one on the right was painted in 1952 by Walter Götze, an oil painting of a PCK welder

I was privileged to enjoy the company of these three fascinating paintings for the two weeks. They are so loaded with history, and they permeated the air of my studio with their presence. I particularly enjoyed the contrast between The Welder, a picture of health and vigour (although he looks a bit tired to me),  and the Chemistry Lab worker, who looks like she’s made of radioactive raw flesh, a very critical perspective on communist idealism.

PCK artworks in my studio

PCK artworks in my studio

Walter Götze, Welder

Walter Götze, Schweißer (welder), 1952 Oil 92 x 71 cm

Claus Hänsel

Claus Hänsel. Chemiearbeiterin im PCK (PCK chemist) 1976, Oil, 89 x 109 cm

Heinz Weber, PCK bei Nacht

Heinz Weber, PCK bei Nacht, oil painting, 1975, 69x100cm

The PCK by night is a beautifully executed painting. The atmosphere exhuding from it was especially delicious at sunset, when the whole town of Schwedt went even more quiet  and one could almost hear the rumbling of the refinery in the distance.

Work in Progress

 

Work in progress 1

Drawing the elderly lady

 

 

 

work in progress 2

work in progress

 

Detail from top

Detail from top

work in progress

work in progress

top

Top Section of Zwei Woche in Schwedt (Two weeks in Schwedt)

amanda

Amanda, detail of Zwei Woche in Schwedt

 

 

 

 

Zwei Woche in Schwedt

Zwei Woche in Schwedt

 

Marta Rocamora in front of her drawing/collage piece.

Marta Rocamora in front of her drawing/collage piece.

 

A link to all media coverage of the symposium, including a 7 minute video summarising the event.

http://www.moz.de/heimat/lokalredaktionen/uckermark/pck-kunst-2.0/

 

 

Get in touch!

If you feel like it, please visit and like my Facebook page, and feel free to tell me your thoughts!

https://www.facebook.com/rocamorART

 

Thanks  and Enjoy!!!

Opening night behind us…

The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure opened today at the Blue Elephant Theatre

windmills crackup1 day1

Once again, i have laughed and laughed…. and experienced a good challenge drawing live on stage…. it’s basic, there’s for sure lots of room for improvement, but this simple chalk drawing of a typical La Mancha landscape is successful and efective as a complement to the play, a very loose adaptation of the adventures of Don Quijote de la Mancha, brought to you by Little Soldier Productions

Tomorrow I will be painting again, and I am looking to experiment with chalk techniques…. very excited about this, and about the entire project altogether…. what a joy to work with such talented people. The atmosphere with this crew is so joyful and playful…. even after 10 solid hours of rehearsals….

If you are in London, make sure you get your ticket for this show. You won’t regret it!

The Knight of the Sorrowful figure

Image by Alex Brenn

Image by Alex Brenn

So once again I am delighted to collaborate with Little Soldier Productions and the Blue Elephant Theatre London, creating some new artwork for their latest production, The Knight of the Sorrowful Figure. Loosely based on the adventures of Don Quijote de la Mancha, this show is playful, vibrant, exciting and uncompromising, a delightful celebration of  Cervantes’ masterpiece. I have attended a couple of rehearsals and I have been laughing my head off. The physical comedy I’ve witnessed is some of the best I’ve seen in my life.

rehearsals of Knight of the Sorrowful Figure

rehearsals of Knight of the Sorrowful Figure

I am over the moon that I have been offered the opportunity to join the celebration with some live painting on set. I will be creating new visuals every day for the show while the performance runs, from tomorrow (21st of may) until Saturday the 25th.

For directions, to book tickets and for more information, visit http://www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk/whatson

 

Hope to see you there!!!

 

 

 

An amazing community initiative

My friend Anna Maltz has lent her expertise to this project, that I would like to share with you. Have a look at the video, and get yourselves some PUKKA KNITWEAR!!!! Thanks

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1597899565/ricefield-collective-knit-4-life

Logos

Logo for Terrafunka, an electronic music outfit.

terrafunka

And logo for Miraca, an experimental music ensemble. The client wanted references to cymatics and the natural world.

miraca

The Bird Book

Flyer design for One Moment in Time’s Puppet Theatre production. For more information, please visit www.onemomentintimetheatre.combirdbook

The Cauldron Club

A collection of graphics, including logo, fliers and blurb for The Cauldron Club, a monthly mixed media entertainment event. For more information on that, please visit:  www.myspace.com/thecauldronclub cclogo