Exhibited in the solo exposition “Iberia” the M Gallery 2-12 March 2012, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT

I spent the summer of 2010 in Barcelona, condemned to live weekend to weekend due to an unsavory work schedule. In an effort to explore the city and exercise, I put on my running shoes, grabbed a compass, and got myself good and lost. Down a back alley somewhere between the cathedral and Plaça Reial, I saw some guy putting up a poster for a nightclub or a lost pet. I moved closer for the details and was struck by how the wall littered with ripped posters, stickers, and spray paint, became a sort of incidental pubic art, with countless authors. I looked at all the walls I could until it got dark.

The next morning, I went back out and spent the day taking pictures of all the walls I could. Each part of the city–Gràcia, Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Montjuïc–had its own combination of the classic Barcelonian elements of Okupa squatters, anarchism, night life, and federalist debate. I returned to the streets with the camera for three more times before I left.

I don’t know if the Barcelonans or tourists realize how striking their alleys and walls look, but I sure hope they don’t ignore them as they hurry to see all the Gaudí or think of them as vandalism. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t, but today, I try to make sure I don’t overlook anything interesting or beautiful right under my nose, though I suspect I might.

On my second trip to Spain a year later, I took a sketchbook instead of a camera. I sketched from my imagination as well as the Spain around me, and sometimes it was difficult to tell which came from which. The history and aesthetics of Spain have all inspired these paintings, but more importantly the tone of a traveller: maybe lost, but not particularly worried about it.