BizarreBeyondBelief: How would you describe a day in the life of Juan Carlos Noria?
Juan Carlos Noria: Well, first and most telling, I don’t live for the week end. A day in the life of Juan Carlos seems normal to me but probably isn’t. I’m not a 9 to 5 guy. My personality requires having 4 or 5 things on the go. I run on managing the family puzzle and, the one and only struggle I give importance to, inspiration and art making. I work from home so my multi tasking mastery happends with in 80 squared meters. Strong coffee, cooking for family, garden administration and bike rides to “el pueblo” are all my day time good will. Computer time is required as well.
BBB: As an artist who has lived in a variety of different cities in such countries as Canada and Spain, how would you describe the major discrepancies between the art scenes?
JCN: The “Art Scenes” in different cities or continents can be driven by the cultural fiber of the place. That means, the mind set and inteligence of the people that create “scene.” In most cases, it’s not pretty to say but, the scenes are driven by selfish, monotone, fickle, witless individuals lacking vision. Art mafias and art speculators are dominate, every where. Like a virus they extend freely, globally, the antidote seems to be individuals who don’t follow or respond to the global mainstream, making scene/culture/art that is true and dangerously independent. Inteligence elevates any and all scene and that’s what I have noticed. There isn’t much discrepancy in this globalized world.
BBB: Do you find these differences to be negative, positive or indifferent?
JCN: “Scenes” seem to be the very same every where. The vibrant intelligence or, whit of a place and it’s people is reflected in the dangerously independent scenes.
Clearly this is positive because being “under the radar” or dangerously independent offers a sort of protection from being ingurgitated.
BBB: Were you an artist who’s career formed out of beginning as a graffiti writer turned fine artist or vice-versa?
JCN: I was injected a 40 million ton syringe of fun, adrenaline, anti pop anti system, do it your self broth, when I was introduced to “graffiti.” Art for me, as a child was a place I could go and play. It was a place in my mind where I could bend time and create what I saw in my mind’s eye. It was a fun start. Art followed me around and not till I was adopted by an art high school in Ottawa, was I able to see that art was a way to live. I was shown how art could be a commercial tool. Not till I was influenced by the torque of “graffiti” was I able to feel what art was. Art is power. Art is a potent communication skill. I could leave a note for every one to see, where ever it felt right. That feeling and mood live inside me now that I’m making canvases in studio. Every time I place a new canvas on my easel, I feel that important serge. So to answer your question, my “career” was formed in the vice-versa.
BBB: On that note, do you believe that a graffiti artist can dive into the fine-art realm and maintain their credibility on the street?
JCN: Hahahhaha….well, if you live to maintain street cred, you’re a fucken’ dumb ass. These realms we’re talking about can’t exist with out the basic act of making something. The “fine art” world will not respond if you don’t make a mark. The “graffiti” movement will not exist with out markings. The impulse to make something is what’s important. Making something slow and steady through out your life time or fast and furious in a short spurt, seems to be the real focus for many artists. How much of a rockstar lifestyle can you maintain while keeping your art fresh and “commercial?” …and still make time to get out in the street? I think the question is, can a graffiti artist dive into the fine-art realm and manage both fields while making dangerously independent, ground breaking work? Street Cred is for kids. It easily becomes less of a concern once you’ve been at it for 100 years. It’s a non issue.
BBB: As an artist who works in so many various methods, such as wheat-pastes, public interventions, illustrations and realism, is there a particular technique you prefer?
JCN: I live to make art so my archenemy is dead time and writers block. These become irelevant when I have no dead time or creative blocks. Wheat pasting, interventions, illustration and painting keep me thinking and moving and agitated. The tomatoes are always fresh in this garden. What particular techniques do I prefer? I prefer the ones I’ve not discovered yet.
BBB: How does your approach from the street to studio differ?
JCN: The street / studio approach to making art doesn’t differ too much for me. Most of my street work is now made in my work space. The dixon post cover project and intervention series are all painted in studio. I don’t share much street time with the fascists (police) As of late, when I practice painting murals, I find a place that is less traveled so I have time to focus and advance my craft. The street work used to be less time consuming for me but now, both street and gallery work are as complete as I can assemble.
BBB: Do these different aspects feed off each other or do you attempt to disconnect one another during your creative process?
JCN: As of late, I don’t attempt to disconnect one from the other and they seem to feed each other. Every time I walk into the studio, I treat it like a new day for learning my craft. Art is now an exersise in idea transfers. Transfering the idea in my minds eye onto a surface….with witt, crafmenship, elegance, intuition and energy. One, or all, depending on the day. The best work happens when I can gather all these together.
BBB: How difficult have you found it to be an artist who maintains creative integrity and achieve success?
JCN: Thank you for writing such words. I’m flatered. To answer, you need to be a stubburn, self centered ass….in a good way. You need to think and reduce your built in hypocrisies. Share ideas and opportunities. You have to believe in your self and shed all the popular bywords like, “time is money.” Most importantly, not shooting for the bank note and simply knowing that doing what you love to do will make you the best at that activity and, in a roundabout way that will bring you to the place you want to be. The word success can be harmful because it creates confusion. What is success? Big car, big house, time is money sucess? Getting connected with self is the highest form of integritry and success. I feel connected with my, self. The other success evades me but may become my accomplice one day.
BBB: Has this always been the case or have you succumbed to the woes of creating commission work of less than interesting work to make ends meet?
JCN: Being able to manuver a project, commercial or not to suit your creative wishes is always important. To do that, in a project called for by a client, you have to be a skilled diplomat who can find that happiness required or, if it’s not in your dna to do so, simply be your own boss who can call the shots on every project. I’ve done some scary projects that have made me question what it is that I do but not enough of them to make me want to quit. I keep a mental, emotional log and when I feel that I’m venturing into integrityless space, my intuition kicks in. I listen to my intuition and respond. Both, this and the question before have made me think of the need to set your personal needs and wants berometer. Personally, I keep mine fairly low, meaning that I don’t have a “must have” shopping list or a need to have the latest phone on the market. It really is a lifestyle choice, of not living beyond your economic capacity. I don’t have credit cards or a car or a mortgage and I don’t plan on retiring. It also has a great deal to do with the company you keep and the sort of work that that community can offer you. I’m a big fan of creating and maintaining relationships with individuals I work with. I shoot for the personal treatment and favourable alliances. Almost never the bank note. You may never see my work processed in a nike commercial because, I won’t do it for the money. Not even 1.3million.
BBB: What are three tools in the studio you could absolutely not live without?
JCN: Those three tools would be my brushes, my eyes and my heart. ….Oh, and an esspresso.
BBB: We understand you’re a family man as well, how much of a role does your family play in your artistic practice?
JCN: My family has plenty to do with my art. They keep me in check. Greatfuly they are my anchor and I needed one. My work output is some what lower but it all compensates because I feel much happier and complete when I get down into the studio in the bowels of the house we rent. Time has become more precious and valuable and that makes me more focused on my projects. I’ve had to hand over my fears and cowardes feelings towards an idea or a painting series to intuition. It carries me through the important, condenced studio time. If I have 5 hours, 5 hours it is….straight through. No back tracking no guessing. Our 4 year old daugter Alba, inspires me a great deal becuase she has that special thing that all kids have….no breaks. She draws free of what I might think. What she draws, is! The circle with 4 1/2 lines in it is a hand. No questions asked. I love that and have adopted the sentiment. Carolina has a special understanding of what it is that I do because her father is an artist. She gets it and respects me for it. I’m blessed.
BBB: If you only had 24 hours to live, what would you squeeze into your final hours?
JCN: I’d try and stay up, perhaps adding a small nap to the mix, and tax my body. I’d eat, make love, take photos and dance to all my favorite music. If I didn’t have the capacity of using my body and only had my eyes and mind, I’d read Noam Chomsky’s, Power and Terror several times through, and hand it to Alba the minute before I left.
BBB: What’s next for you? Are there any big plans, projects or exhibitions that we should be on the look for?
JCN: Swab Art Fair requested I attend this year in Barcelona. I just came back from Swab. I’m off to the Bloop Festival in Ibiza next month to paint some murals and I have a commercial job in Cairo through Articulate Baboon Gallery. I’ll be doing a July group show at Robert Kananaj Gallery in Toronto and I’m shipping numerous pieces to Philadelphia to raise funds for Pennies in Action Charity which focuses on breast cancer vaccine research. I also have a street art, poster project on the go….and painting, lots of painting so I’ll need to go buy more canvas.