Photo by Alissa Colombo
Liverpool native Ashwan arrived in Barcelona in 2009 having studied fine art in the UK and America.
His paintings are inspired by graffiti and hip-hop music, with the DJ’s creative projects spanning the full artistic sphere. He will showcase his talents on Barcelona’s streets in the Walking Gallery on March 6th, when a group of artists display their work in the city’s plazas and streets.
“I’ve always painted for myself and created art through graffiti. I didn’t take art at school but I sketched a lot and one day my physics teacher threw my book at me and said: “Take that to the art teacher.” I completed the art ‘O’ level in six months and studied art at college and university, while working as a DJ at night.
“I visited Barcelona for the first time in 1991. I was on a college trip and promised myself I would return here to live.
“I’ll paint anything; vinyl (records) and skateboards are icons that associate themselves with certain sub-cultures. They help me have a dialogue with a specific audience.
“My inspiration comes from hip-hop and graffiti culture. The music, dance and visuals are the driving force that keeps me doing what I do. I want my work to inspire people the way I’ve been inspired.
“I’ve an incredible view from my studio as it overlooks Hospital de Sant Pau. I can see the whole hospital and its amazing mosaics and roof tiles. At first, this overpowered my painting as lots of different colours were coming out and I didn’t know why. Then I saw all the colours on my paintings and the view from the window; they were the same.
“The Walking Gallery is the brainchild of local artist José Puig. He believes owning art is not generally a part of Catalan culture and the gallery is a way of breaking down some of the barriers between the public and the galleries. I’ll be displaying my graffiti record covers and playing remixed music from the vinyl to create attention and have some fun.
“The event is about taking art to the people during everyday life. There are 15 to 20 of us involved and we are all really driven. There will be lots of interesting art on display.”