Upfest gives a home to many international artists. This year we will be treated to the work of Spanish artist Mon Devane with his distinctive use of colour and faces.
Mon Devane really started painting graffiti and listening to rap in around 2010 in his local city of Ourense, in Galicia, Spain. Up till then he had been ‘dedicated to making many sketches on paper (all very bad) until in 2003 I made my first letters on a wall with sprays. A little later I began to study in a school of arts and crafts and years later I began to develop my current realistic style.’
Of influences on his work he says ‘work by Belin or Smug has always been a reference for me. The artists of Maclaim Crew like Tasso or Case. On a more level of painting and classic art I like artists like Dalí, Sorolla … etc.’
Last year his work grew from the small festivals in his region of Spain, to travelling and painting in Mexico, Italy and France.
Of his current work he says ‘This year I have already participated in 3 Festivals Meeting of Styles, and I will attend the Upfest for the first time. Then in September I plan to attend a festival in Barcelona, and for the moment are the plans for this year 2017. At the end of the summer I do not know if I will devote more time to work in the studio, work to order or travel more’
Mos MEX Monterrey was the first work that he created outside Spain. ‘I painted it in the city of Monterrey (Mexico) and in it I made a picture of a friend eating a typical product of my region called pimiento de padrón, which says that some sting and others don’t. With it I looked for an approach to the Mexican culture with the ingredient of chile. I n fact, they thought it was a chile, which made me very funny. The other work (Graffiti at Hospital) was a collaboration that I was asked to humanise a hospital ward, and I think it was one of my best paintings so far and one of the most media response.’
About his process he says ‘I worry a lot about the technical finishing, I prefer quality to quantity.’ It is important to him that he makes the work look as clean and sharp as possible with colour and form ‘for some time I have used a very specific chromatic scale, playing with turquoise and magenta lights and mixing them sometimes, sometimes with more monochromatism … experimenting with those coloured lights.’ He also concentrates on the content and making the technical finish good. ‘Sometimes I try to transmit reflections, sometimes traditions and customs of my land, or other times only seek the entertainment of the viewer.’
What he is looking forward to at Upfest ‘I hope to meet new people, a new city, leave my mark on it, and breathe the good atmosphere of art. I also hope to return to Bristol again to get to know the city a little more calmly, since this time I’m going only two days and I can not do anything but paint.’
See Mon Devane’s work at Ashton Gate Stadium
Upfest Saturday 29, Sunday 30 Monday 31 July 2017