Hola, my name is Aitor. I am an interdisciplinary artist and organizer from the Basque Country of Spain, currently based in the US. I spent ten years in Los Angeles, a city I love and hate, but I love much more than I hate, and also I miss now because I am currently living with my family in Fort Collins, Colorado, a city nearby the Rocky Mountains, home to the Colorado State University, where I teach painting and socially engaged art.
A big part of my art practice is dedicated to making paintings. I must agree with Oscar Wilde when he said that "the way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test reality, we must see it on the tightrope. When the verities become acrobats, we can judge them". In paintings, I use cartoonist or imagery to depict imaginary scenes in which I reflect with perplexity on the most absurd or paradoxical aspects of human and non-human existence or the society I suffer and observe every day. My paintings are also a playful celebration of the medium of painting and its physical and sensorial presence.
For a few years, I have been very involved in organizing and producing art experiences and materials revolving around other people's work. Exhibitions, events, editions, books...Of all the projects I have taken part in, my favorite and most personal is Micrologies, a series of exhibitions focused on exploring issues of small scale in art making, presenting a few dozen tiny-scale artworks. The idea of scale as a radical instigator of awareness in our relationship to the world around us is an essential overarching idea in my art practice, paintings, curated exhibitions, and teaching and a big interest of mine.
Merging my interests in painting, organizing, and scale aesthetics, a couple of years ago, I decided to invite other artists and curators to organize exhibitions in, on, and for my paintings. Yes, small-scale exhibitions are hosted in my paintings, in the figurative visual spaces depicted on my paintings, and on their flat material surfaces. For example, I made a painting in which I invited an artist collective from Merida Yucatan to organize a show on one of my paintings. They requested a room with a view of the beach, and that is what I provided. I also invited a couple of friends to curate an exhibition on one of my paintings. The exhibition was called "There is a bunny in my parking lot," and the piece was part of a group show in the gallery "Here/There"—a space within a space and an exhibition within an exhibition. I call these paintings collaborative paintings.
During my time at GlogauAIR, I have worked on organizing two more collaborative painting projects. "Sydinkat" is a painting that I painted, evoking loosely a memory of a great bar I spent a day in with my friend Isma in Neukölln Berlin in 2019. I shipped the piece to Berlin recently. Some of the other artists in residence will freely create art or artistic interventions for its surface. I gave them full control, and I really don't know what they will do. The painting will be on show soon at GlogauAIR. At the same time, these artists are creating small-scale works that will be shipped to Colorado. Each artist provides me a description of a virtual, pictorial space where they would like to see their pieces. I will make a painting that somehow stitches all those spaces in one image, and I will show it in my gallery here in Fort Collins.
I am really not sure if these paintings are proper exhibitions, but I wonder if they do offer an opportunity to explore and test some, at least for me, interesting and ludic forms and notions of artistic and social production, dissemination, collaboration, negotiation, and community building. I continue as I engage in their making, ruminating on those questions. Shoot me and email if you have an idea for a collaboration!