My four weeks in Barcelona was filled with art, architecture, and interior design. On one of my many adventures I came across the art of emerging artist Steven Marques in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel. The piece I noticed is called Cristalised (below) and features a blue eye, colour and pattern. I immediately connected with this piece and reached out to Steven.
I wanted to meet him, see his work, visit his studio and get to understand more about Cristalised, the eye as a recurring theme in his work and so much more.
We had a great chat about Barcelona, creativity, brand and signature style. Signature style is something that I also have been contemplating during my time in Barcelona.
I think we could have talked for hours, but below is an overview of our chat.
About Steven Marques
First things first, Steven Marques is Portuguese, born in Switzerland has lived in Qatar and is now settled in Barcelona. I can understand why Barcelona. It’s a design forward city, where creativity is part of the culture.
Creativity in ALL its forms can be expressed in Barcelona without judgement. The lack of judgement and freedom of expression, allows great things to be created. As we see in beautiful structures such as La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Casa Battlo and so much more.
Steven is untrained and started painting during the pandemic. But his work is more than a hobby to pass the time, it evolved.
His work became a therapeutic mechanism to understand different people’s response to the pandemic. As a hospitality worker Steven comes across a wide range of people from around the globe.
This unique insight into people informs his art while focusing on the eye to understanding feelings and emotions. With a dual purpose to communicate what the artist observes and feels instinctively while allowing his work to be interpreted consciously and subconsciously.
Story telling through art
Naturally I wanted to understand the emotion behind Cristalised. Steven used the word ‘paralysed’ in describing this piece and the contrast of bright colours with a dark emotion. But the beauty of art is that it is subjective and open to interpretation. Steven welcomes hearing how people are impacted by his art.
Something Steven and I have in common is how one’s culture can influence our work or perspective. For me Cristalised’s blue eye was an immediate connection to the Greek evil eye. And for Steven the mosaic or trencardis patterns and shapes of tiles, which defines Barcelona and widely used by Gaudi are also part of Portuguese culture with the azulejos tiles.
Which brings us to one of Steven’s sources of inspiration, Antoni Gaudi. Describing Gaudi as omnipresent, I was curious that an artist would be inspired by an architect.
Gaudi’s work is artistic in many ways, but for Steven his first impression of La Sagrada Familia was deep. He remembers thinking ‘how can someone even conceive such a thing?’ Something that has taken longer to build than the pyramids.
It is true that Gaudi is everywhere in Barcelona, his work defines Barcelona, gives it an identity. This is something that Steven aims to do with his art. Create an identity.
While Steven’s style is still evolving, colour, pattern and trencardis will always feature. As Steven’s aim is to meld Modernist themes with a street art style of painting.
Delivering Modernist ideology through a current medium such as a spray can and street art, ensures Gaudi’s work remains relevant.
I loved Steven’s honesty when I asked about signature style as he replied he doesn’t have one yet. I would argue that he does. But who am I to argue with an emerging artist whose ten-year plan includes creating a brand that is synonymous with the Steven Marques name.
Steven was kind and generous enough to gift Cristalised to me and I can’t wait to bring it home and hang it amongst my collection. I promised Steven I would work hard to connect him with local galleries in the hope that we can see his work in a solo exhibition in Melbourne. Fingers crossed.
Do check out his work and follow Steven on Insta, he does live street art work which is mesmerising to watch. And to learn how to select art for your space read my blog.
First published on Grace Interior Designs, June 2023