Xavier Magaldi. Interview English / Chinese in Jardin Orange, Artistic residency in Shenzhen China
Can you introduce yourself?
Hello, I am Xavier Magaldi, I live in Geneva, Switzerland. I have a Spanish father and wife and my mother is Swiss. So, I speak both Spanish and French, but my English is something I still am learning to use. I also have three children and I am a watchmaker/designer.
What is your current profession or job?
I have been working in the creative department of Patek Philippe in Geneva for the past 11 years. I balance this full-time job with my family life and, in the later evenings, I go to my studio to paint.
How would you describe your style (or the message inside) of your work?
My work is abstract, in general terms. I seek to define, or ‘capture’ a moment in time, like a photo. I want it to be something dynamic that which also expresses movement. Each canvas is a glimpse in time. I am a watchmaker, which I think comes out in my art work. The geometry, use of tools (like the compass, rulers) to really define and ‘fit’ everything on a canvas.
What artistic influences have inspired you in your art work?
The Cubism (for its geometric forms) and Futurism movements. One artist is Marcel Duchamp – for his work that gives the impression of movement (for example, the woman walking down the stairs) and dynamism… but instead, I work on a canvas.
Can you briefly describe how and when/why you decided to become involved in art?
As a kid, I was always drawing and building things. I started my career with graffiti in the last years of the 1980’s. My first tag was 1989, first graffiti piece 1991. I traveled around Spain and France finding people who did the same. It was like having a family.. I kept doing graffiti at the same time I was going to watch-making school of Geneva (which probably has had an influence on my work) until 2000, when I left graffiti behind to become a graphic designer. That is when things shifted to become more concrete, professional, for me. Only in 2010 did I return to draw again. I rented a studio and started working on canvas with tools, pens, etc. That’s the style I still have, just evolved.
What recommendations do you have for young or aspiring artists, based on your experience?
Everyone has their own life. You have to keep fighting. Other things can come up.. a job, having a family, but art is a way of life. Every thing you do (even if not related to art, like a vacation, studying the culinary arts, etc.) can have an influence on the next art project you may pursue…even if you take a break to live other experiences for a while. If your mind is capable of analysing and directing the positive learnings from these moments, you can easily bring it into your art. If someone cannot paint consecutively or consistently for a while, it doesn’t matter — what they live will come out after in their future works.
It is never too late to begin. But time is priceless… so that is why this 1-month opportunity with JO (which is giving me the time to develop my ideas at night and work by day and goals), is really important to do every once and a while.
Why is art important? Why should people support the arts?
Each part of the world seeks to find the beauty of life. Whether it is in shapes and forms, I believe the human being has and will always look to improve or contribute to his/her environment their own unique vision. It could be with a painting, simple objects, decorations, a mural, …even in prehistoric times, people wore jewellery and unique clothing to express themselves! If it weren’t for this, everyone would be just the same.
Why did you come to Jardin Orange? Do you have a particular goal or project? Any impressions or comments about your experience?
When I was invited to come to JO, I thought it would be a great way to discover this new country. I know colors in China have a great symbolism, so I try to consider that. For example red i has a really positive connotation here, so I am bringing that to my work.
Truly, this residency is well-equipped. I find that the space is abundant; there are lots of materials to work with, the natural light is helpful and the neighbourhood is relaxed. I like #chinalife. The local people are really happy and are very giving; they’ve invited me to share food with them, visit their homes and have gifted me many things.
This area is quite modern, safe and has a high level of development. I would compare it to Europe. But I was shocked by how many bicycles there are.. or that people don’t really use cash money, but rather their phones, to pay for things.
Thankyou Mister Ceet, April, Rebecca, Nicole, Samuel, Richard and the super JO Team!
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