Mike Swaney

Mike Swaney

- Since when have you been working as an artist?
- M.S.: Since 2001.

- Originally you are from British Columbia in Canada. What made you come to Spain and settle in Barcelona? In what ways has your life here influenced the way you look at life and influenced your creativity? Are there parts of your work that in some way reflect Canada, your home country?
- M.S.: Instinct and intuition led me to Spain. And I stayed here because of my wife. I had a good feeling about Barcelona, even though I did not know it very well and when I got here it was everything I had imagined it to be and more.
My creativity and my attitude towards life are both very relaxed. Barcelona has brought a great deal of light into my life – here I have become a more positive person, and my my art has become even more colourful. Sometimes I include references to Canada in my work, like a maple leaf, a pine or some animals that do not live in Spain. But the truth is I focus more on what I see every day than what I don’t see.

- You used to focus more on drawing and painting, however now you tend to create installations that are like "containers" which you can enter and find little drawings, paintings and objects. Do you think contemporary art in general is also going down a similar road, i.e. that exhibitions are becoming more of an experience for the viewer?
- M.S.: I think that all good exhibitions are experiences that draw in the viewer and briefly remove them from their reality, if only for a moment. It is like being in a dream or somewhere that is geographically contradictory. I’m not sure if this is the direction in which contemporary art is moving, though. And I try not to think too much about what I am doing, but it's certainly a direction that I would like to explore further. For me, disorientation, discomfort, uneasiness and even euphoria are feelings that I like feeling when I view art. In my opinion, some artists like that include Paul McCarthy, Erwin Wurm and Thomas Hirschhorn.

- How important are popular culture and day-to-day objects?
- M.S.: Everyday life and popular culture are my biggest inspirations. The biggest inspirations of all are the people and their ability to be creative, even without intending to be. I am also motivated by odd jobs or anything made by hand by someone who doesn’t think he’s an artist. That, for me, is the most authentic kind of creation: humble and unassuming.

(Photograph: Albert Romagosa)

Exhibitions / Art Fairs

Swab Barcelona 2015

01.10.2015 - 04.10.2015