Photo by Ana Karina García
Performance artist - Windy Man
I started performing in Barcelona 10 years ago. My brother invited me over for my birthday. He said, “You can perform here, there’s this place called the Rambla.” I realised I could live from it, so I stayed.
Making money is a bonus. For me, it’s about creativity—having the freedom to explore and travel; to perform in city centres around the world and at festivals. For many, however, it’s more about working.
I started off as Red Man. I painted myself completely red and pulled faces through a picture frame. Then I became Green Man. After a while, I realised I had to do something different, so I graduated to Windy Man.
Windy Man was inspired by the movement of the people on the Rambla, and a performer I had seen in New Orleans. I bought a trenchcoat and put coat hanger wire in it to show the movement. He slowly developed into a businessman.
You get a very diverse mix of people working on the Rambla. I’ve seen quite a lot of possessiveness; some people are supporting families so they arrive at really crazy hours to get their spot, because if they don’t have it, they don’t survive.
It’s a lot more regulated now. In the early days, I used to do things like hang from a lamppost—I like to use my environment—and there was a time when the police wouldn’t do anything. But I can’t do that anymore. Once when I was up there, some kids stole my money!
There’s a kind of respect among people who work on the street. I was almost mugged once walking home, but as soon as the aggressor saw my face, he beamed at me in recognition and left me alone.
Culturally, people have very different reactions. In Austria, for example, people are respectful and maintain a perfect circle and applaud in unison. In Istanbul, they stood right in front of my face. In Denmark, a woman came up and stuck her tongue in my mouth.
I met my Argentinian girlfriend Ana Karina García through performing on the Rambla. We started performing together and developed a windy couple called Los Ventosa, which we took to festivals around Spain, other parts of Europe and China.
For me it’s a good day, if I have had enough fun and interaction with my audience. That is the best thing about what I do. The energy can get to a beautiful pitch but when a policeman comes and threatens to fine or denounce you for some petty thing, that kind of sucks.
The challenge to this type of work is the lack of security. Last autumn, I took a steady job with a local theatre company. If you want to get a flat, for example, who are they going to listen to: a clown or a lawyer?