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Interview with Joana Santamans | The Room Studio


Interview with Joana Santamans


This Catalan artist grew up in the shadow of the mountain of Montserrat. She has always combined her life in Esparreguera and the rural landscape of Els Hostalets de Pierola with the big cities such as London, New York and San Francisco. Currently, lives between Barcelona and l’Empordà.

Observer, restless and creative, she has turned art into her way of life. She declares herself a hunter of essences, an artisan of emotions and a lover of beauty and simplicity, inclinations that she was able to develop at the Eina School in Barcelona, where she studied graphic design and creative illustration.

Positive and enterprising, she creates works that reflect her look at nature and the female figure. Observe the plants and animals with a naturalistic look and feel the color and composition intuitively. Her art, restless and in constant evolution, beats through murals, exhibitions, decorative pieces and publishing publications.

– How did you decide to be part of the art world? Since childhood, my favorite hobbies are painting and the creative crafts. I studied graphic design because I thought that the artistic field it was the profession that came closest to what motivated me, immediately I saw that with graphic design I felt limited and I did a postgraduate in creative illustration and I started to paint. Little by little between painting, design and illustration I have been finding my creative world and different outputs to the professional world where I make murals for hotels and restaurants, illustrated books with different editorials, illustrations for posters and brands of different companies and exhibitions of my oil painting collections and other techniques.

– When do you realize your drawing ability and how do you decide to dedicate to it? Painting and creating objects was my favorite game but I don´t think I had a special facility for drawing, I don´t believe much in talent but yes in the desire to do something. If you practice a lot of activity, little by little you become an expert. In some way or another I´ve created my own world and a kind of creative brand that is evolving and defining me.

– What is art for you? It is a universal language that jumps cultural, idiomatic, social borders…

– Do you remember your first order? It has been a natural process since I have always loved painting and creative crafts. My favorite activity has ended up being my profession.

– What do you inspire yourself to paint? What do you feel when you paint? Nature in general is an inexhaustible source of inspiration. We are absolutely part of this nature and we often forget it. I have always felt a strong connection with animals. When I was a child, I was lucky to grow up in a rural environment and I was very in touch with my father’s farm, and the animals taken to the city seem to me to make a beautiful contrast aesthetically. I always thought that the city and nature complement each other wonderfully, they are needed.

Painting is stripping the ego, looking for the essence to touch the soul of the spectator. In the process of painting I try to be very present and connected with the activities that I do, but sometimes it is a fight.

– What have been your motivations and satisfactions throughout your career? My professional goal is to enjoy each project. Always do things that I really like because I know that many times the process is long, if it doesn´t motivate me enough it will be difficult to finish it successfully. I also think that for me it is very important have fun of what I do, it is for this reason that I like to do very different things.

– How is your creative process? Is it necessary to have a technique to paint? More than control a technique, the most important thing to paint is to find the right colors. The techniques are learned by painting. My way of painting is very detailed, I need to have a lot of control of the movement, but I also need to be alone and calm. I need to combine the painting with movement activities, either swimming or a good walk on the mountain.

– What are your most admired artists and what has been a great influence for you? I like painting from the Netherlands, Jan Van Eyck, Vermeer; Rembrandt comes to my soul, his work has a spirituality that seems sublime to me. I love looking at the classic portraits, I love the detail, the color, the light, the sobriety of the backgrounds. I hallucinate with the work of Velázquez. Frida Kahlo influenced me when I was a child, I was influenced by her work and her life. Egon Schiele also excited me in my young time. I love what the international Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa does. I am interested in the intensity of Miquel Barceló and I love the facilities of Eulàlia Valldosera. These are some of my referring artists. There are many other things that inspire me, such as: a good movie that makes me think; the music, I always paint with classic music and jazz; or just have a good conversation.

– Could you tell an anecdote that happened to you during your professional career? Oops, I do not know! Many… Every day is an anecdote. Life cannot be controlled and it goes around. There are always many unexpected anecdotes, the interesting thing is to learn from all of them.

– Do you remember what was the first painting you sold? Well, surely my father bought it for me. My parents always believed in me. Then my environment began to buy me some pieces and, little by little, with the help of the social networks the ball has become uncontrollable and goes alone.

– Tell us about your most recent work, what are your plans for the future? Now I am finishing work on this new series of oil paintings, which I will present with the exhibition “Presencias”. In it, I include a couple of pieces of a very large format: one is 2.40 x 2.40 m, and the other 3.60 x 1.50 m. I am very attracted to the large format and, in fact, I have already painted murals much more gigantic than this. As for the oil technique that is much more demanding, these are the biggest I will have painted so far.

In addition, I am with a mural of more than 12 meters for the new restaurant Vinitus, located in the old restaurant “Madrid-Barcelona”. These days I am working intensively with a new illustrated book, a second VIDA, it will be an illustrated herbarium and will be released in October 2019 with the Bridge Editorial. There will also be a wallpaper that I made this summer in collaboration with Coordonée, and a beach towel in collaboration with Bubel Barcelona. This October I will give a workshop of creative painting in the middle of nature within the Literature Festival that makes me especially excited, and there will be my book “Vida, Bestiario Ilustrado” for sale available. My plans for the future is to continue painting and doing projects that excite me!

– What would a day in Joana Santamans’ life be like? I try to be very calm and exciting at the same time. I am in love with my profession and I try to enjoy it at every moment.

– What question would you have liked to answer? Can you answer it? I can say that I like to be hopeful and at the same time, let myself to be disturbed by the magic life. I like luminous colors, I am inspired by the brush stroke and detail. I feel more comfortable with the large format. I like to observe and immerse myself in this life. I’m interested in naturalism.

Many thanks to Joana Santamans for let us know more about her and thank you for inspiring us with her works, we hope to continue enjoying them.
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Author: Meritxell Ribé