Interview: Coyote Painting Walls
Ivan Fernandez-Gonzalez is a Spanish-born painter, illustrator, and muralist with no regard whatsoever for his own privacy. Under the moniker Coyote Painting Walls, he has dubbed his Fort Point home studio La Factoría del Color and opened it to the general public as a “living gallery.” It’s kind of a live-action reality show/art space where he encourages absolutely anyone interested to stand there and watch him plan out paintings, work on illustrations, or give up, crack a beer and go watch Criminal Minds. His gallery also provides an opportunity for underground artists from Mexico and Europe to have their work seen in Boston.
TOB: What’s up with the name Coyote Painting Walls?
Ivan Fernandez-Gonzalez: I wanted something romantic and at the same time related to the social fight. The coyote is a free animal without limits or borders and I wanted to create an artistic personality that is absolutely free.
In this country it makes us think of Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons, the one that’s always getting anvils dropped on his head and failing in spectacular ways. I’m just saying.
I am like this Coyote, always running after one utopic target. I don't care if I won't reach it. I just want to enjoy the moment and to do things well.
Is it strange to have random people traipsing through your house night and day, watching you at work? Do you provide snacks? Do you ever have to apologize because the place is a mess?
Yes, sometimes my place is a mess but I don't apologize about that. I usually offer good Italian coffee or Japanese green tea. I love to have people in my home studio sharing their time with me. I want to share my experiences with others and I want to learn how people work and approach their own lives. This is my way in art.
What gave you this idea in the first place?
It is a mix between the old art studios in the Renaissance and the modern squatter communities in Europe. In the ‘80s we had a lot of them in Spain, and there are a lot now in other countries like Italy or Germany.
Is your home gallery the only place you show?
No, La Factoría del Color is my work place and the place where I invite the artists I like. Right now I have exhibitions in Boston, New York, Milan and Gijón (Spain).
You say you want to show “not just the work but every part of the creative process.” Does mean that you consider the creative process itself to be art?
I consider the creative process to be the main part of an art work and it is absolutely worthy to know it. The so-called “final piece” doesn't exist. There is no artist that is absolutely happy with the “final” product, or at least I don't know anyone. Art is always changing and your mind is changing too, so we are always in a “work in progress.”
Do you ever find yourself telling people, “It looks like crap now, but just wait until it’s done?”
No, I just say to them, “Do you want a coffee, beer, green tea?”
How does it affect your work to have it exposed on so many different levels, from inception to completion?
This is really good for my work and for my education as an artist. When you are in the opening of the exhibition you are in a kind of strange mood, drunk on adrenaline, but when you have people in your studio having a look at your work you are in the right mood to assimilate new ideas.
Is having a gallery in your house legal? Am I screwing you over by publishing this interview?
I appreciate that you are “screwing me over” because there are a lot of underground artists and spaces like me and La Factoría del Color that are just waiting to be listened to. The art world is changing again. There are a lot of people doing different and incredible things under the radar and this new wave of artists wants and deserves visibility.
How do you hook up with these artists you are promoting from Europe?
I have been living and working in several places in Europe, Mexico and now here in Boston. I know a network of artist working in different parts of the world and I scan the galleries, graffiti walls and alternatives spaces in every city I go to. I am a skater too and you cannot imagine how much creativity is around the skateboarding world.
What’s the latest exhibit at your gallery?
Alberto Frigo. He’s a multimedia Italian artist that has a very special creativity concerning motion. The title of the exhibition is “Nuvole” and it is more of a video installation than a normal exhibition.
La Factoría del Color is located at 15 Channel Center St, Unit 205, Fort Point, Boston (coyotepaintingwalls.com)