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L👁👁KING THROUGH PROFANE GEMSTONES
A quick chat w/ Bel Fullana

Patrick Tayler
“MIAU!” “♥♥♥!” “FUCK OFF!” “VROOOM!” “⟡ ⟡ ⟡!” “XXX!”[1] Bel Fullana’s wide-👁d figures R “girl-bossing” (lol) w/ crazy, #demonic energy while showing off an almost infantilising fragility.

In her paintings, we often C 2 figures —doubles, twins— as if the overbearing intensity of personhood had summoned a legion of clones to express the conflicting drives of the self, ie. “alterego selfies” (?).

Blinged out w/ delicately drawn tattoos, ice and #nostalgic stickers, they blaze👍 phantasmagoric gemstones in the night 🌌🔥
2 get some insight into the stories of these [baby-faced rascals] wreaking havoc, 👁 contacted the artist via IG 4 a chat!

[1] If U are already annoyed by this #ortographic filter, it is going 2 get more hardcore, as U progress.
Patrick Tayler: 2 what extent was it because of #cute animation films, PC games —&👍 smoooth graphic design— that U decided 2 turn the [human body’s morphology] into a more #radical, #weird, #cartoonish, #extreme direction? What influenced U?

Bel Fullana: 👁 guess, my POP! influences R predominantly movies from the ‘80s & ‘90s, 👍 Terminator or Nightmare on Elm StreetGremlinsBiker Mice from MarsTales from the Crypt & Child’s Play. That absolutely terrifying look that reigned at the time, 👍 Iron Maiden album covers à which were sinister and mocking @ the same⏱!
Also, the whole UFO phenomenon! Like the E.T. movie, showcasing the humanization of that [amorphous being] coming from outer space ♥♥♥♥♥ Just like Howard the Duck, a movie from ’86 that featured an alien duck that came to earth and fell in love with a girl w/ whom he even had sex… if 👁 remember correctly?! What a super-weird thing… I’m pretty sure all these influences — fantasies bustling w/ humanoids, ½ aliens—½ cyborgians & nocturnal beings, etc.  — were important for many artists of my generation!
P+L+U+S the representation of the ♀ warrior like Sarah Connor, Barb Wire, Lunch or Bulma from Dragon Ball: the »iconic rebel women« who don’t fit into the conventional canons and navigate in an abyss of darkness 🌑!
The 1s who further inspired my perspective on this feminine aspect (especially in the last few years) were artists predominantly from the ♫ music scene ♫, ~ Grimes, ~ Tomasa del Real, ~ la Zowi & ~ Hofmannita. The Spanish interdisciplinary artist María Forqué, aka Virgen María, is also an important influence 4 me!
As 4 #cuteness, 👁 was unaware of this entangled theory of cuteness and horror until very recently when the curator 🔥Núria Gómez Gabriel 🔥w/ whom  👁 ‘ve been working 4 a few months for an exhibition, told me about it! She catalogued my work as cute-terrorist & the truth is 👁 LOVE the term!!!🔥 However, 4 me, the characters in my paintings R more cute than terrifying! They look aggressive, violent and militant, but they R just pretending!

Article icon ╱ Cover Image:
Bel Fullana: WHITE MAMI2023 ╱oil and spray on canvas ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist

 

Bel Fullana: TECHNO KITTY ╱ 2023 ╱oil and spray on canvas ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist

 

Bel Fullana: KOBRA SKY ╱ 2023 ╱oil, acrylic and spray on canvas ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist
T: There are a bunch of loaded terms thrown around in contemporary figurative art: #zombie figuration, #escapism, #worlding, #identity, #terraforming the body, etc. R U interested in the discourse surrounding (ultracontemporary) New Figuration? In general, does theory play a crucial part in how U view art?

BF: 👁‘m not theoretical @ all, nor do 👁 turn 2 the theories of others 2 create my 🎨s👁 simply let myself B carried away by a.e.s.t.h.e.t.i.c. trends & tendencies that attract me, and react 2 them by creating my own images.

PT: Did U know U R in Kunstforum’s supertheoretical #Cuteness issue?

BF: Yes! I know!!!  It makes me happy 😊😊😊

PT: How did U #personalise the [G]rand [M]edium of [P]ainting to create UR’s very own fictional universe 🌌? R U interested in the #neo-surrealist #disneyfication / #theme-parkification of art?

BF: 👁 think about my 🎨s as a universe of characters (~ cartoons), and 👁 think there’s a tendency, as U say —a #neo-surrealist one, & 👁 would add a #figurative one— which may have something 2 do with #disneyfication, but 👁 wouldn’t use this term because #Disney has many connotations 👁 really don’t 👍. (UGH!)
👁’d say that U can C this tendency of the artist creating thematic universes, for example, in the works of Kenny Scharf / Jon Burgerman! ☺
👁’ve been painting 4 around 20 YRS! (!), trying to find my own voice. There have been times when 👁 painted very differently, so much so U wouldn’t even recognize it, but little by little 👁 have been developing this language that 👁 really feel is mine & represents me. (It may continue 2 mutate over the years!⏱)
👁‘m very interested in [☼ children’s art ] and primitivism, but its [►freedom in shapes►] & [dooodles] clashes with my method, which is more #meticulous and #detailed. 4 a long time, 👁 tried to free my stroke, but it didn’t come naturally. So over time, 👁 chose 2 work on a childish language of unbalanced and amorphous forms without sacrificing my need to leave everything closed and finished.

Bel Fullana: MIAU PLANET ╱ 2021 ╱ solo show at Galería Fran Reus ╱ Palma de Mallorca ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist
Bel Fullana at Kiaf Seoul with Galeria Fran Reus ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist

PT: R there any [contemporary painters] who R interesting 2 U technically? 🎨

BF: Lately 👁 ‘m in w/ Christina Allan’s paintings, she has a magical technique that 👁 don’t quite understand and surprises me! 👁 don’t know if she uses airbrush, but she certainly doesn’t use it like SO MANY other artists do nowadays. She makes it special! Another artist that drives me crazy is Austin Lee, 👁 his work! 👁 think he also uses the airbrush, his paintings are so #soft, #rounded, #cute and #endearing!!! And so are his sculptures! Awesome! 👁 see many artists on Instagram using airbrush & it really grabs my attention w/ its attractive, supersoft finishes. But these 2 artists use it in a very special way!

PT: ✧Where does this attraction 2 shiny things come from?

BF: 👁 would say that the attraction 👁 feel 4 BLING! BLING! comes from aesthetic trends present in fashion, urban music & trap. The jewelry and accessories —that some of my aesthetic idols wear—, as well as the decoration on their nails, teeth, hair and clothes… Right now, there’s glitter wherever U look! These shiny things R an object of desire 4 me.

Studio shot ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist
PT: All those details (🌌👍🔥) float around in a badass mythological soup! Why did U choose to create compositions that r~a~d~i~a~t~e — and also take apart — the #heroic atmosphere, reducing the often “WTF?!-type” narrative to a single figure? Would U consider your paintings to be more comic or dramatic?

BF: They are much more 😊 than ☹ to me, and the truth is 👁 HATE it!  I don’t want my paintings to be a joke
My paintings R very simple, they’re reduced 2 representations of —almost always solitary— figures, w/ minimal space/scenario. It wasn’t really a choice 2 do it this way… Earlier 👁 used 2 leave the background blank & only intervened w/ the figure. 👁 guess 👁m incorporating simple, non-prominent elements such as,
the #gradient that simulates a space sky
the simple ——line—— of the ground (2 place the figure in space!)
fences 😊
some planets in the background…🌙
But lately, 👁 feel 👍creating paintings w/ more elaborate backgrounds: placing the figures in landscapes and perspectives. Let’s C!

PT: What R U working on @ the moment?

BF: Right now, 👁m working on an exhibition 👁 have in March @ Es Baluard Museum in Palma de Mallorca. Later on, 👁‘ll B showing at NBB Gallery Berlin and Allouche Gallery NY as part of a group show. At the end of the year, 👁 have a solo show scheduled at Piermaq* Contemporary Art Gallery in Sydney. A lot of work 2 do! 🔥🔥🔥

Bel Fullana: SPACE MOTOTIGRE ╱ 2023 ╱oil, acrylic and spray on canvas ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist
Bel Fullana: SPACE MOTOCOBRA ╱ 2023 ╱oil, acrylic and spray on canvas ╱ Photo courtesy of the artist