At the International artmoney show in Spain I experienced the true meaning of exhibiting original art
On Friday, October 12th, Gallery Soppa de Azul in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, opened their doors to an audience of many nations, ages and personalities. There were plenty of food and beverages and music surrounded the lot of us. The gallery was situated inside a super creative and dynamic community workspace divided between digital nomads and visual artists. The space itself was an impressive large room with high ceiling and bright lights. Along the walls they found 60 strings each extending 10 artmoney attached with metal clips. The collective view of the 600 miniature art works was stunning!
The show was the result of months of preparation. Artists from various countries had shipped their artmoney to Copenhagen. I gathered them all in a suitcase and travelled to the volcanic island situated in the Atlantic Ocean outside the Sahara desert. A good portion of excitement stirred my stomach. Like something big was going down, and I was the sole responsible for better or worse.
Compared to the highly industrial Denmark, the atmosphere in Gran Canaria is very relaxed. In spite of a vast tourist industry, only 5% of the population are tourists, and they are mostly situated in designated areas in the sunny south of the turtle shaped island. The show took place in the heart of the capital, Las Palmas, inhabited by nearly 400.000 permanent residents. Due to the “worlds best weather” Las Palmas is home to more digital nomads than any other place in Europe. The city is thus a melting pot of creative single people from all corners of the world and the environment is one of the most social and creative networks I have ever experienced. Not only because of the many creative souls but specifically because the stress level is extremely low and people have more time for adventure.
The mix of 600 original art works and lots of excited people with much time on their hands resulted in a super-mingling situation, where talk and laughter overshadowed the idea of shopping art. Only 10 artmoney were sold that night. That is an all time low sales rate for a major artmoney show – anywhere!
What could seem like a disappointing result in sales turned out to be one of the most successful exhibitions in our 21 years of artmoney history? Why? Because original art and original people add up to original living – sensing colors, textures, compositions, images, stories, questions, propositions, concepts. A movement sprung from the gallery walls and into the receptive crowd. A positive wave of art that may travel through people and spread good vibes around the world. What springs from a moment like this is nothing less than the original meaning of exhibiting original art!
Soppa de Azul is a unique community work space because it is a mix of digital nomads and visual artists. The owner, Alecs Navio, is himself a dedicated visual artist. He works some of his paintings in 3D, so they protrude a foot out of the frame. We also find murals by Alecs around town and strange totem-pole sculptures carved in wood and painted in bright colors. Alecs is the soul and guardian of Soppa de Azul. Anyone who dare to enter the white iron gate to explore the bright office space and the dark artist studio basement will surely feel the presence of Alecs – weather he is in or out.
Alecs is the center of a larger body of amazing ingrediences of art and comers at the Soppa. I was fortunate to meet John from England, Martha from Poland, Paola from Colombia, Erik from Denmark, Rocco and Giuliana from Italy as well as the Spanish Arantxa, Jordi, Sonietta and Alby. Each of these wonderful people adds to the special Soup that the Soppa serves to the world.
Some of these people now make and spend their own artmoney. And so the story goes. Artmoney is intended as an anarchistic and self governed, global art project. It is meant for everyone. The more the merrier. Each community is a world in its own right. With its own special, collective spirit. Denmark, Gran Canaria, Hong Kong, New York City, Dar Es Salaam. Artmoney from each world has the ability to change hands, travel and communicate as an original art object for many years to come. Through generations. If all the love and real living, that I experienced in the Gallery Soppa de Azul, can spread through people and art. Spread from one world till worlds around the world. I see hope for humanity.