Ricardo Cavolo Interview
Ricardo Cavolo on embracing the oddity in our world
Words— Ben Kriz
Our Creator Series is back with a colourful and energetic capsule collection from Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo that honours the oddity in our world. We’ve been a big fan of his work and artistic ethos and, as always, we’re proud to champion the spirit of creatives and makers all over the world. We caught up with him at Montreal's MURAL festival to chat about this collection, his inspiration, and how he linked up with Kaytranada.
What’s the main idea behind this collection?
The main concept is oddity–which is one of the main subjects of my work in general. Giving love to oddity. I like to speak about the Other. I lived with gypsies when I was a kid so I know properly how to live among the Others–those not officially part of life [society]. So with my work I try to give love to the Others. Oddity is a way to say it with love.
You've been dipping your toe into fashion a bit more as of late. Is it a passion for you?
I started to embrace my love for fashion a couple of years ago. Before that I thought it was...you know...superficial. I realized fashion is art. It’s wearable art. The best part for me about fashion is being able to express yourself by what you are wearing. I love that. Fashion was a guilty pleasure for me and then finally I found a way to spread my message and use my art for fashion.
You're here in Montreal as a party of MURAL festival. What can you tell us about this big piece you've done?
I wanted to create this woman with a non-specific race who is grabbing the sun–like the main goal of your life. It's about go-getters, fighting for your dreams and going for whatever you want to. So this is the biggest goal the biggest success is like holding the sun in your hands. All your desires, your dreams...it’s powerful, it’s simple and it's a positive message. Every time I come here I receive so much love from the people–it’s amazing. I always say the most wonderful things about Montreal because my spirit is always great here and now I’m able to give a present to all these people.
“I realized fashion is art. It’s wearable art. The best part for me about fashion is being able to express yourself by what you are wearing.”
What inspires you?
I have three columns of inspiration. Romanesque art–the most primitive way of painting during the medieval age. I love it because it’s sacred. I’m not religious but I love the way they use symbols and icons to speak about something higher or deeper. Primitive or tribal art–again theres this magic there, and thirdly, folk art or outsider art. Most of these guys were self taught, they don’t really have formal training, they just decided at some point they needed to express themselves. It’s so powerful. These are the three main columns of my inspiration.
How did you end up working with Kaytranada?
It was perfect because he’s from here and I’ve been working here for a while. He knew my work and he decided it would fit well for the first album. It’s been so, so easy with him because the only briefing he gave me was like, I want a portrait made by you of me with some details of his personal life at that moment and he was pretty easy. No changes, no nothing. I send the sketch. Okay. I send the colours. Okay. Okay. Easy, easy. I’d love to do more album covers. I’m a real music lover.
What do you love and hate about the art world.
The thing I really hate and I try to take care of for myself is about the ego. To be an artist it’s about riding the horse of your ego. You need it because that’s the way for doing a personal message, being true. But if you focus too much on this me, me, me...I mean I’m sorry we’re not better than any other one...anyone working in any other...I don't know...working in a restaurant.
The good things of course...it's about touching the feelings of the other people. When I’m going to see a movie and I’m crying–wow. Thank you. You’re touching my heart, you’re touching my gut, that’s amazing that’s unique and that’s very difficult. That’s art.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. If you enjoyed our sit down with Ricardo Cavolo, check out some of our other interviews.