Antonyo is a really good person, as well as an artist. When you have read this interview, you will come to the same conclusion. A simple person, without airs or graces referring to a quote by the “chef of the sea”: “[An individual] With their feet on the ground but their head at sea”.
He has been a part of the Trendsplant family since 2015, since he painted our first store in Madrid, as well as our previous premises in Alicante on Calle Bazán.
If you have seen any of his works, even for just a second you will recognize his pieces anywhere he has left his imprint, which is in a considerable part of the world.
We had this online conversation with him, it’s a hard job scheduling meetings, of which you will become aware in the following conversation. Enjoy.
Shall we talk about your background, how did Antonyo Marest start?
Well, like all children with artistic interests, my origins were self-taught, with a simple tin of paint I painted my name in abandoned places, on walls, urban furniture etc. I made a lot of mess, I needed to practice...
Is it hard to start out in the world of art in Alicante?
That would be an understatement, as this is a city that has forgotten about art. I’m not saying that it’s not important to them, but with the light we have here, the colors and climate... it should be an inspirational city. I don’t know if it’s just a lack of interest, but there are hardly any galleries. We have great museums, but as they are free, people don’t tend to value them; there are a whole host of reasons that influence this.
Who did you follow, and who inspired you? Who are your influences?
Well, I always admired and still do the master Dali, many of his facets, and in Kadinsky's lines I find my main inspiration. At the start they were words that I copied from magazines that people brought to me from cities such as London or Paris, I was mad about the MaClaim collective, there was an artist from Orihuela called Seal, who I thought was the best, and Daim was a reference for me with his model pastel...
Are they still influences for you? Have they changed? Who have you added to this list?
The truth is I don’t keep them as influences. Well, when referring to art, Dali is always there, but we could mention the Memphis collective, Peter Halley, Kaws, Andre... I have added a lot to my list of influences, but I think it’s more admiration for their work than inspiration.
Can you remember your first commissioned work? The one where you said: “Wow, this is getting serious now!”?
I had many commissioned works before realizing that this could be my future. I painted commercial buildings and roller shutter doors in exchange for the excess paint. But my first paid work was a marijuana store who paid me €150 and I thought: “Wow, €150 for one day’s work!” And from that point on, I have continued until today.
Do you think that your style has changed since you started or has it remained the same?
Yes, the style has evolved quite a lot. When I started, it was with words, then I moved on to natural landscapes, then daubing, and back to landscapes, onto material mixes and in 2014 I found some old university notes and I refound the Memphis group, which I was crazy about. I evolved this style, a flat style, with shadows and then adding textures, palm trees and jugs.
What has influenced you over the last few years that lead you to your current artistic style that can be found in your work?
Above all traveling, discovering, reading, exploring, getting things wrong... but above all, Miami: it changed my way of seeing and doing things.
How does an artist feel when they begin to travel the world and leave their imprint in different places on the map?
I think that you aren’t aware of this until later. But you do feel grateful, because thanks to your work you have found a way of life where you discover the world inside you, you value simple things, but above all you’re learning every day.
Does it turn into some sort of high that is difficult to control? Is it hard to keep your feet on the ground when these things are happening?
My high is a daily one, when getting jobs that I didn’t have yesterday, when important companies call you because they want your work, that is my high. I keep my feet on the ground in order to carry on, Ángel León, the “Chef of the Sea” has a saying that goes: “With your feet on the ground but your head at sea”. I think that’s how I feel.
How do you combine your personal and professional life? We have seen your work throughout of the world, and a lot of time goes on traveling. Is it hard to combine the two?
It’s difficult. Firstly, you have to be strong if you want to progress. Traveling is my life, and I always take what I need when I do, although on many occasions I can’t take everything I want, such as my family.
How has Allegra’s arrival influenced your art?
For me Allegra is everything, her name appears in a corner of all the walls I paint, at the highest point as she is the highest point for me, she will inherit everything I achieve. But Gemma is also an important part of this journey because without her I couldn’t do all this traveling, she is the one that looks after her and brings her up. I would like to be either at home or in the studio more, but this is a wave that you have to keep riding. And for this reason, as well as working and living my work, you do things with an objective and endpoint in mind: Allegra's future.
Can you run through a normal day in your life?
A regular day for me is waking at dawn, a black coffee and a ham and cheese sandwich. That’s how it starts but I never know how it progresses or finishes, but I am always learning and grateful.
Can you go through your creative process? Do you receive a job and then adapt? Do you always start with the premise of the job in hand?
The creative process changes according to the project, whether it’s free or something specific, and above all the final objective. I like to talk with the client about their tastes, about what they most like about my work, and it is really important to ask where the sun rises, and with these ingredients I can begin to formulate my sketches.
We have noticed that you have received projects from a great deal of brands and companies. What is your relationship like with them? Has your relationship with these brands and companies changed? Are there any red lines that you will not cross?
My relationship with all my clients up till now has been really good, above all because they have given me the freedom to create and I have exceeded their expectations in relation to the work. My red line... this would be asking me to be involved in political or racist etc. messages or texts.
And with us, with Trendsplant, can you remember how we started?
My relationship with Trendsplant goes back to 2015 when we first worked together and I painted the Madrid store. We then painted the store in Calle Bazán, and since then we have become like family.
What’s the thing you most like about working with us?
The best thing is the Made in Europe manufacturing policy, the sustainability of the garments and the care that is taken right from the start, but above all, that the brand has a very Mediterranean spirit.
What do you try to transmit in the work you have done for us?
The first thing I would like to transmit is me offering a little bit of myself to everybody, but above all, the pride in representing a brand as you well say, that is owned by my friends, my Mediterranean friends.
Is there anything we haven’t yet done that you would like to do soon?
Well, there is something I have been wanting to do for quite some time, everyday beach items, such as beach balls, spades, beach towels, parasols and even inflatable beds. Go back and relive the beach like before.
Let’s go back a couple of years, to the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. How was it for you at that time? What did you do with your time during lockdown? Did it help you to create more?
Well, talking about the pandemic, which affected all of us to a larger or lesser degree, the first thing it taught me was how to be with my family: Allegra took her first steps at home, I was able to draw in my sketchbooks, something I have missed for some time, but above all I was able to work on many joint projects. And with you, remember that we created two mask collections in order to help others. But I wasn’t really locked down, because after 15 days I went to the studio every morning.
And can you remember how it was for you the first few days going outside again, of taking commissioned work again?
For me there was no real relaxing of measures as such because as I mentioned earlier, the first thing I did was to take the dog out three times a day and on 26th of March I was back at the studio every morning with the excuse of walking the dog and then back again. During the time where people had no outside entertainment, they wrote to me to buy works that I had already completed: I think people spent a lot of time at home staring at the same four empty walls. But the best day for me was on 12th of June when I could fly again, to experience the clouds again, to gaze out onto the dawn through my window...
And can you tell us what you have on during the next few months? Where will we be able to see more Marest pieces?
Well, it’s a long list but, in March: Barcelona - Greece; April: New York – Salt Lake City – Pisa; May: Strasbourg - Frankfurt - Panama; June: Switzerland - Alicante July: Ibiza – Calabria; August: well-earned vacation; September: Las Vegas – Miami; October, November and December: Miami.
Let’s finish with Alicante. We know that your art, to a large extent reflects our Mediterranean culture. Which parts of the area have to be included in your work?
The Mediterranean, as I mentioned earlier has the sun of Sorolla, the madness of Dalí and the abstract hints of Picasso... but the parts that are never missing from my work are the blue color of the sky, the turquoise of our Mediterranean Sea, the yellow of our incredible beaches, the reddish tones of the sunrise, the violets of our evenings, palm trees, the waves of the sea and the marble of our quarries.
- Tags: collaboration