When you see the bright works of Antonyo Marest, whether it be walls, interiors or objects, you're instantly rushed back to the 1980s. It's hard not to imagine palm trees and neon signs, bright suits and sunglasses, cocktails and synthesizers.
Marest considers his work as abstract expressionism. It is abstract and is expressionistic, yet it defies many of the conventions of the movement, namely that the gestural brushstrokes that defined Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning are absent. Instead, it's more structured, whilst still maintaining an air of chaotic reflection.
The 80s pop-art movement is where he could really find himself at home. The colours are brash, vivid and confrontational whilst emitting an aura of sun-bleached dreaminess. The hazy psychedelic guitars of surf-pop might suitably soundtrack his music if we were able to plug our headphones into his pieces.
Born on Spain's Mediterranean coast, the sun, sea and sky seem to exist in everything he creates. Wavy forms interact with more structural aspects, like a breaking tide interfering with the horizon. Whatever you want to call his work, or however you interpret it, it is undoubtedly 'cool'. It's something people will see and think 'wow'. It's transportational quality grabs us from our everyday lives and places us in a sun-lounger by a swimming pool with a Long Island ice-tea in hand. It is exactly where we want to be.
His optimistic palette and willingness to experiment with shapes, forms and textures creates an optimistic visual language whose poetry comes from the feeling it gives you. The Art Deco movement is something that personally inspires Marest, and had led him on extensive travels around the world as a means of exploring the artistic identities and integration of colours and styles into various landscapes and environments.
His willingness to absorb the world has paid off in the innovative approach he takes to morphing his vision to the particular environment he is working in. This versatility stems from the clear joy he feels in trying new things in new places. When he talks about his work, the words leap out as if he can barely contain them. His art reflects his state-of-mind in this sense - the exuberant murals are very precise in their execution, yet seem organic and almost freestyled by his own intuition, rather than a result of too much forethought.
His current exhibition at Underdogs Art Store in Lisbon is titled Never Ending Summer. The collection of small pieces are based on the colourful neighbourhood of Olaias and named after some of Portugal's beaches. This cultural mix-mash of beach-life and architectural urban detail has come to define a lot of what he does.
The sea is one of the most prominent motifs in Marest's works and to him its more than just a cool place to swim and play with friends, more than even a vastly symbolic resource of artistic inspiration. The way he sees it is actually quite literal, yet steeped in his loving attitude - it's the thing that connects all places, all people and essentially - all things.
Like large arms cradling the earth's beings, the water and by extension his exploration of it in his work, is a symbol of union and togetherness. The Spanish artist has an infectious attitude towards art, seeing it as something that should give joy to the artist and to the audience alike. For as long as there are countries that Marest hasn't visited, there are ideas that he hasn't explored. There's joy he's yet to discover. Forms, colours and shapes, especially in such an iconoclastic style, always have a shelf-life - yet somehow he's managed to reinvent possibilities to create a new spin.
It will be interesting to see where this goes in the future. There are still so many swimming-pools, facades, t-shirts, ceilings and floors yet to be emblazoned with his bold art. We're constantly keeping an eye on his Instagram to keep up-to-date with his ever-evolving oeuvre.
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