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Okuda San Miguel

“My works always have a touch of some recognisable elements, for example, eyes are painted with the black and white of the cosmic universe.”

left: Sahara Prince - Rabat, Morocco, right: Snail - Zaragoza, Spain

“When I paint humans or faces with multi-coloured geometrics, I try to symbolise that all skins are one: all colours in one.”

Mirages to the Freedom - Youssoufia, Morocco
left: 3rd eye dog - Kaohsiung, Taiwan, right: Spiritual Capitalism Totem- New Delhi

“I am constantly challenged to find a harmonious balance of the grey scale with my vibrant palette.”

Chaos star - Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi

“Out of all the countries, India inspired me the most because of the colours.”

left: Rainbow Thief - Hongkong, China, right: The World-Love is Ours - Kiev, Ukranie
The Secret Mountains - Cransmontana, Swiss Alps

“After my holiday at my mother’s house, I will be doing some murals in Vancouver, Vegas, and Tahiti.”

Universos Paralelos - Ibiza, Spain

“My proposals are usually not only for a flat wall, so I need to see the whole architecture in person to be able to try and play with it.”

Universal Chapel - Fort Smith, Arkansas
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Showcase 28 Aug 2017

CQ Interviews: Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel talks about his vibrant, geometric & colossal murals

Imagine a world where each and every creature is made up of the same fundamental elements – let’s say triangles and squares. They are all composed of delicious, vibrant colours, all from the same palette. Their eyes, and paraphernalia, often filled with starry nights. Everything oozing out surrealism, thus unleashing imagination and provoking interesting thoughts and dialogues. Well, Spanish contemporary artist Okuda San Miguel has been creating this world through his various art forms that include canvas, sculpture, photography, video, and murals.

Born in Santander, Okuda is now based in Madrid. Over the years, he has created various large scale multi-coloured geometric murals at interesting locations such as International Church of Cannabis in Denver, Kaos Temple which is a 1912 Spanish church transformed into a skate park, and on buildings, railroads, walls and abandoned factories in many other parts of the world including India. 

Okuda San Miguel

“My works always have a touch of some recognisable elements, for example, eyes are painted with the black and white of the cosmic universe.”

In his official artist statement, Okuda says, “My works always have a touch of some recognisable elements, for example, eyes are painted with the black and white of the cosmic universe. I use colours as a symbol of life and the natural world, whilst the grey scale in my paintings represents cement, death, dust and the material of classical sculptures. I am constantly challenged to find a harmonious balance of the grey scale with my vibrant palette.” 

Universal Chapel - Fort Smith, Arkansas

CQ chats with Okuda specifically about his mural work. Edited excerpts below.

Can you tell us a bit about your process when you are working on a large-scale mural? 

I hardly ever do any sketches before reaching the wall or the place where I have to do the intervention. I like to arrive and feel the environment, and only then think about the composition. My proposals are usually not only for a flat wall, so I need to see the whole architecture in person to be able to try and play with it. I usually do the background colours with a roller and then do the first round of sketching directly on the wall. After this, I start putting colours within the triangles, while constantly creating new elements (geometrical, humanoids, natural, etc.) as I progress. 

left: Sahara Prince - Rabat, Morocco, right: Snail - Zaragoza, Spain

“When I paint humans or faces with multi-coloured geometrics, I try to symbolise that all skins are one: all colours in one.”

"I use colours as a symbol of life and the natural world, whilst the grey scale in my paintings represents cement, death, dust and the material of classical sculptures. I am constantly challenged to find a harmonious balance of the grey scale with my vibrant palette.” 

What was the first ever mural your created and how was the experience?

I started doing letters in the streets around 1996. And I think my first good murals were done around 1999. It was a collaborative mural with my Jungle Junkies crew in the city I was born in – Santander. It was around that time that I started to feel that creating was my passion and meaning of life.

And I remember my first international wall was in Wiesbaden, Germany in 2002. It was called ‘Wall Street Monument’, and was a collaborative big wall with the great Gemeos, Vitche, Herbert Baglione, Daim, Loomit, Maclaim, Dems, and Satone. It was a very special work for me because it was included in the Urban Discipline book.

What’s been your most challenging mural to work on so far and why?

I think that would be the insides of the two churches I’ve done – Kaos Temple in northern Spain and The International Church of Cannabis in Denver.  They were the most challenging out of everything else I have done because of the complicated ceilings and other difficult parts in their overall structure. 

Mirages to the Freedom - Youssoufia, Morocco

"When I paint humans or faces with multi-coloured geometrics, I try to symbolise that all skins are one: all colours in one."

In terms of the countries where you have created murals, which one inspired you the most and why?

Out of all the countries, India inspired me the most because of the colours, the ornaments they play with in their architecture and fabrics, and also because of their spirituality and beliefs in holy animals. 

left: 3rd eye dog - Kaohsiung, Taiwan, right: Spiritual Capitalism Totem- New Delhi

“I am constantly challenged to find a harmonious balance of the grey scale with my vibrant palette.”

You have a multicolour approach to your work. Could you tell us a bit about that?

When I paint humans or faces with multi-coloured geometrics, I try to symbolise that all skins are one: all colours in one. 

Chaos star - Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi

“Out of all the countries, India inspired me the most because of the colours.”

In terms of your mural work, what all is in the pipeline right now?

I am currently in the USA, doing some walls for different street art events (Salem and Sacramento). At the same time, my new big size sculpture is traveling to Vegas for a special project. Beside walls, the new line of sunglasses I’ve designed will come out pretty soon and I am working on a very special collaboration with a high quality jewelry brand called Suarez. 

left: Rainbow Thief - Hongkong, China, right: The World-Love is Ours - Kiev, Ukranie

After my holiday at my mother’s house, I will be doing some murals in Vancouver, Vegas, and Tahiti. I will also be producing some new pieces in my studio for the next Scope Art Fair and some group shows. 

The Secret Mountains - Cransmontana, Swiss Alps

“After my holiday at my mother’s house, I will be doing some murals in Vancouver, Vegas, and Tahiti.”

 
Universos Paralelos - Ibiza, Spain

“My proposals are usually not only for a flat wall, so I need to see the whole architecture in person to be able to try and play with it.”

You can know more about Okuda’s existing projects and new work on his Instagram page: @okudart For more CQ Interviews, click here.