curiosagainThis illustration by Valero Doval for an article titled “not breathing” captivated me because it scared me. My biggest fear is suffocation, more specifically by drowning. This image reminds me of that fear of being trapped and without air. The article is not informative, but in the form of a brief personal essay. It’s creative and poetic and nature, discusses the “sport” of free-diving with an existential tinge. Very interested in the illustration, I first had to go to Valero Doval’s site. Here he has many categories and a wide assortment of pieces, from these types of drawings to film to set design. Compared to his commissions such as this one for the NYT,Doval’s personal work tends to combine traditional style art (painted floral arrangements, marble statues) with the technicolor minimalism of the modern age. Some of my favourites are illustrations which are on one half a bird, the other an airplane. Very visually intriguing. In reading, I discovered one of Doval’s proficiencies is in the art of collage. I found a vibrantly colorful and fun piece he made for Wizz Magazine. I went to the Magazine’s website to discover what content they focus on.

I was surprised to discover that Wizz Magazine is an inflight magazine used on all Wizz airline flights, the largest low-cost airline in central and eastern europe. Definitely not what I was expecting! A lot of what they publish focuses on advertising because their audience is trapped. Wizz features very colorful and amusing images, so it makes sense to me that they commissioned Doval for his collages.

Not finding another lead on the Wizz Magazine website, I went back to Doval’s work because I wanted to know how this collage artist managed set design. I expected plays and musicals, but in the end it is window fronts and pop-up installations Doval has created. One of the most beautiful was for something called “The Flower Project” by Nationale Nederlanden. I went to their website next to learn more about the project.

I was very confused at first. Nationale Nederlanden is a bank and insurance company! What do they possibly have to do with art installations? I found the manifest for the Flower Project…supposedly, five artists were chosen to create five spaces in five cities, with the protagonist being the flower. It was meant to be a tribute to “Real” people, not celebrities on TV or those society deems “perfect”, but those with authentic lives. I suppose this was a marketing technique for NN but the spaces are absolutely gorgeous! I would have loved to see them in person. One part of the exhibit is that every attendee gets a flower to take home, to remind them that they are special and important too even if they feel “normal” or unnoticed. Doval had his own space for commentary about his project on the website, explaining his exhibit: “guests will be welcomed by a housekeeper who at night becomes a cat, furniture and objects are transformed and acquire unexpected forms with opening of secret passages.”

Sounds so fun! I would totally attend a Valero Doval exhibit in the future should he ever come to Boston. I found a new artist to appreciate.

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