joan miró, the kitten life, barcelona, gaudi, spain, spanish art

There are sangria-tinted Spanish vibes in the air here at The Kitten Life.

Our guest post today is from super-kitty Syd who recently kittened her way across the Atlantic and into the heart of Catalonia.

Inspired by the architecture, cuisine, art, history and awe-inspiring views, Sydney's profile of Joan Miró touches the core of Barcelona waviness: freedom of expression, interconnection, and being true to yourself and your craft.

In April, I visited Barcelona as a prelude to a more permanent move coming later in the summer.

One of the things I most wanted to do was visit the Fundació Joan Miró. Miró is an artist whose work I have observed and appreciated for years without knowing much about him. Because I often find art more meaningful if I know some context about its creation, and because Barcelona is Joan Miró’s hometown, visiting the Fundació seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn more about the artist and satisfy my curiosity. As such, on a beautiful, sunny day (this is still a novelty for a Canadian like me), I paid the Fundació a visit.

joan miro, barcelona, catalonia, spain, spanish art, catalonian art

I was not disappointed. I learned a lot of facts about Joan Miró, allowing me to feel as though I understood his work just a little bit better. He was born in Barcelona in 1893 and felt a deep attachment to the land of Catalonia. Despite this, he never considered himself a Catalan nationalist and favoured both Spanish and worldwide unity. He characterized a closed world as a bourgeois world. He lived and worked in Paris, Majorca, Mont-roig, New York and Japan. He continued to produce work until his last days.

In addition to getting to know Miró, his thoughts and philosophies allowed me to reflect on the creative outlooks of myself and the people who surround me.

In 1927, Miró is famously quoted for having said “I want to assassinate painting.” 

He saw the tradition of classical painting as a way for the elite to affirm and expand their culture. He actively avoided traditional theory or being associated with any specific artistic school. He rejected impressionism, cubism and futurism. He took offence to his work being called 'abstract' as it called the truth of what he put on a canvas into question. His works represented a concrete representation of his mind, he said. They were not abstract at all.

joan miro, barcelona, catalonia, spain, spanish art, catalonian art

There is something powerful about one of the most influential artists of the 20th century rejecting virtually anything that would put him in a box, right from the beginning of his career.

He professed a desire to find a new way of making art, and he found it. When working in any creative field, particularly at the beginning of one’s career, it is all too easy to look for inspiration and artistic growth in other, successful people.

Writers want to emulate famous authors’ styles. Photographers scour the internet looking for inspiring images, made by other artists. Painters go to art school and learn about major artistic traditions. And of course they do! Because these successful creatives are talented and inspiring. Indeed, a certain amount of personal development can come from observation. However, it is more important to prioritize paving your own way, as Miró did. Imitation almost never works if the style you are working with does not flow naturally from within you.

Focus on developing what makes you unique, what tumbles out from you naturally. That is where you will find your artistic strength.  

One of Miró’s main goals was to produce art that connected with the everyone; he rejected what he considered to be elitist. Instead, he sought to connect with the masses. He wanted to create things that evoked emotions common to everyone’s experiences. He did not create art for art’s sake, so to speak, but art for the people. 

One of the most powerful things one can do as an artist (of any kind) is connect with people’s emotions.

If an artist focuses on expressing their true likeness through their work, their most raw and intimate emotions will be revealed. Raw emotions are universal, and therefore the work in question will resonate with many. Art has to be created with an open mind for it to truly be considered art, after all. Open to other’s emotions, open to other’s experiences, open to other’s interpretations. Art should be created with the knowledge that no individual will perceive it in the same way. This is what gives art life and longevity.

Joan Miró’s work is incredible. As one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, a legacy of artistic inspiration stemming from his work remains strong. However, considering his thoughts, philosophies and processes can act as an even richer source of inspiration for those with artistic pursuits today. The same can be said for any great artist. Rather than focusing on the fruits of their labor, their masterpieces - which are without a doubt impressive - focus on the mindset that guided them to their success. Use this to help you reflect on what will lead you to your own.

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