Ricardo Cavolo | Renowned Spanish Artist with a Love of Folk Art, Tattoos, & Montreal

MURAL festival was launched in Montreal five years ago and has since brought great international artists to our city to paint murals.  This year, we were lucky to welcome Ricardo Cavolo, an internationally renowned Spanish artist that designed one of the biggest walls for the festival.  In fact, it was also the artist’s largest mural to date!

Ricardo is an artist that isn’t afraid to pursue new ventures by creating a variety of products (a clothing line, books and tarot cards to name a few) that are not as expected as paint on canvas! He is a self-described storyteller who uses bright colors and naïf style to tell his tales.  He is inspired by folk art, legends, portraiture, tattoos, and outsiders. He brings life to his many projects by applying his distinctive touch.    His manager, Andre Bathalon, Quebec native has assisted him to pursue exciting projects around the world in his blossoming career.  Impressive overall, we got the chance to touch base with the artist while he was here in Montreal, a city that he loves.

His manager, Andre Bathalon, Quebec native has assisted him to pursue exciting projects around the world in his blossoming career.  Impressive overall, we got the chance to touch base with the artist while he was here in Montreal, a city that he loves.

I have been reading about you and your work lately and what particularly touched me is how you speak artists that share their feelings with the world. The more genuine it feels, the better! I wanted to ask you since your pieces depict stories with protagonists – can you tell us the story of the Montreal mural you just created?

Firstly I must say I had a briefing for the wall, as it is sponsored. The client gave me  “GoGetters” as a concept to work with. So I developed my usual medieval/naïf style to talk about that, being a woman grabbing the sun with her hands as the biggest goal in life. At the same time, I chose that image in particular because I know about the winter in Montreal. So it is nice the idea of this kind of goddess taking the sun a little bit closer to the city for those cold days.

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All things considered, your expansion as an artist is phenomenal for a short amount of time (Ricardo is 35 years old), the quote “If you can dream it, you can do it” seems to fit your broad range of projects. Your creativity is inspiring.  So far, is there a project you are most proud of? And, would you like to share your dreams as an artist and your vision of where you would like to take your art?

I think my best project so far is my last book “Periferias”.  I’ve been thinking about this project for the past fifteen years, and finally, I was able to do it, and as best as I could. It is like a illustrated encyclopedia about minorities and outsiders.

I have no idea where am I going to as an artist, and I don’t want to know. Now I just want to enjoy every stop of the journey, investing my energy on the present. I know my next step is my clothing brand. We are launching it in a few weeks!  However, I don’t know if in ten years I will be painting, taking photographs or shooting films.

Bright colors, fire, eyes, and protagonists are at the center of your artworks. To me, it shows me that you are a joyful, passionate and receptive person. How would you describe the way they represent who you are as a person for creating them?

I’m not so sure that I’m speaking about myself through the portraits I do. I think my work shows what I think and love, but not specifically about what kind of person I am. Maybe I will do that in another moment of my career.  Right now I’m really interested in social movements, and that’s the main subject of my work.

You have traveled so much for your work – how do you feel about traveling and how does it inspire you? Do you have a favorite place you like to return to?

Traveling is one of the best parts of my work.  Of course, I have a special relationship with Montreal, I’ve been there four times, my best friend and manager (Andre Bathalon) is there… Montreal is like my second house.  More than that, Mexico is a very special place for me. I always had a strong connection with that country and the people from there are amazing (and of course the culture, arts, food… is also a winner in Mexico).

How has your Spanish background influenced your work and who you are as an artist?
I’m not sure if being Spanish has influenced my work. Maybe the bright colors and having an immense artistic heritage.  And I have no idea about who am I as an artist. That’s a question for the people who enjoy and connect with my work.

I noticed Frida Kahlo at the center of one in your artworks. She is a prominent figure in the 21st-century art world. How did she (her story) inspire you?

It was more like an unexpected meeting. I was developing my work with other inspirations, and at some point, some people started to find a connection with Frida’s work. Then I realized she was like an older sister of mine, symbolically. Then, I paid more attention to her work and learned new ways to develop my work with her as an inspiration.

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Do you have any specific topics, celebrities, or people in your life that tend to inspire you principally?

Yeah, most of my work is speaking about minorities, outsiders, nonstandard people.

For more information on Ricardo,  you can visit his website here.

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