As an artist, I have been very nomadic. I get inspired by traveling, meeting people observing them and listening to their stories.
When the quarantine was declared, I realized that something exceptional was happening: the whole world had come to a halt, no matter how unprepared anybody was, it had never happened before in our society.
I found myself alone in a new empty studio in Madrid, with only two suitcases, a laptop, and a sketchbook. Then I got an idea: I could travel without crossing the door!
I asked for volunteers in my social media, perhaps as an artist I could do something special for them, give them a little gratification during the hardship of the lockdown, and in return they could do the same for me: I would portray for free anyone who would tell me their story, which then I would edit and share with the rest of my followers.
If it hadn’t been for the long lockdown we would have carried on with our business and I would have never met so many wonderful people and made beautiful friendships. Confined in my studio, I traveled to around 60 countries and got to enter such different homes, but the most precious gift is that people opened up to me completely, and let me know so much of their life, as if we were already familiar with each other. I wanted to know who they were, their past, how they lived, what process of their life the quarantine had interrupted and how they were spending their time in social isolation.
Some sitters, after spending 2, 3 or even more hours with me, to say thank you, would sing songs, play a musical instrument, sketch me, read a poetry or show me their house, art studios, introduce me to their family, pets, or how they make things with their own hands, like jewelries masks or clothes. I realised how much these “ordinary” people were all extraordinary, and my portraits needed to be a testament of that. Both they and I now cherish the memory of a wonderful experience in times of social isolation.