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Art-Trotting: Paris-London-Glasgow. Qwaya, Calleja, Vivi Cho, Basquiat-Warhol, Banksy.

June has been a very intense art-trotting month. Sometimes I feel I need to do many things at the same time to manage everything I need to do in one week. Nevertheless, if you know me, you will know that I do everything for art. This is my passion and I love to be surrounded with beautiful colourful artworks, and to attend art events.

In May 31st I went to Paris for the day to meet one of my favourite South Korean artists, Qwaya. During my visit, I was lucky enough to meet Ami, Gallery Afternoon's owner, in Seoul. We had been exchanging e-mails and messages for a long time, but never had the opportunity to coincide. Ami travels around the world representing many contemporary artists. Some of them are among my favourites, such as: Heeso Kim, Qwaya, Ryol and Seugli Kim. I felt very privileged to meet both Qwaya and Ami in Paris. The encounter was endearing.

During my visit, Qwaya drew a boy and a girl eating an ice cream, which represented my husband and I:

Qwaya Ami, Qwaya and Sonia

June started with an important event at Almine Rech Gallery in London. Calleja's expressionist children, painted in bright colours and surrounded by simple backgrounds and stylish wooden frames created an informal ambience, as opposed to the high end galleries in Mayfair, London, which usually gives off a very formal and uptight atmosphere. In my opinion, very few people can achieve this through art. Calleja's children are portrayed as innocent and naive. However, by observing his characters, you can identify the artist's intention. Every child painted has a different appearance, whilst occasionally conveying a simple but effective message. Every artwork is open to your own interpretation, which I love! By walking around the gallery, you get the feeling that you're surrounded by naughty kids. Calleja masters his work because he has managed to keep alive the child that lives inside of him. You can tell by talking to him that his spirit is free. I noticed that his eyes shine when he explains to you the way he created his artworks. His personality is amicable and easygoing, just like his paintings. During the exhibition, I had the feeling that all the team that surrounded Javi Calleja were vibrating and full of life. It's very important that artists surround themselves by a supportive team. This was the case when I chatted with Alicia and Nacho, who are a part of Calleja's team. Something that really stood out to me was the essential role that the team played during the creative process. I was very delighted to see the incredibly positive and uplifting atmosphere that Calleja and his team had. Their attitude demonstrated the importance of having supportive people working alongside you in order to become a successful artist. The pictures below exemplify the good vibes present during the exhibition's opening.

Almine Rech London, "Still On Time", (Exhibition until July 29th 2023)

Me next to a Calleja painting A funny picture with Javi Calleja

Alicia Gutierrez Mármol to the left Wearing Mira Mikati with Mira

But the good vibes didn't finished there!

The following day, London-Based Lebanese designer Mira Mikati presented her second collaboration with Javier Calleja at her Walton street shop in London. Mira Mikati's clothes produce an instant smile not only on the person that wears it, but also in the observers. This blends very well with Calleja's big-eyed characters. Mira's collection includes basketballs, a table tennis table with bat set, a bomber jacket, a trench coat, hoodies, t-shirts and many other elements to pull a smile out of your face. When I wear Mira's clothes, I always get compliments. I love to go to "the happy house" for a treasure hunt. You know? Smiling is an addiction, the more you do it the better you feel, and it's very contagious. So, you should add more colours to your closet. Why don't you give it a try? The results are magical.

Wearing Mira Mikati

The following weekend, Vivi Cho had her solo show at Strouk Gallery in Paris. I have been admiring her artworks since 2020 so I had to return to Paris to meet her in person. On my arrival, I quickly fully immersed myself in the exhibition and I had the feeling I was navigating around with Vivi's characters Woo, Byuli and Sini. They transported me to her innocent and sweet universe. Vivi's messages encourage the viewer to dream and to love, even when facing difficult challenges in life. The reason I love to collect Vivi's artworks is because they reflect a pure spirit that you can only observe through children's eyes. And Vivi's ability to expose her inner-soul is reflected through her character's eyes, they take you to a parallel universe.

(Exhibition until July

Girl's Generation-2, Vivi Cho


The weekend in Paris didn't conclude at 8 Avenue Matignon. We had tickets for the Basquiat x Warhol exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton."Painting four hands” brings together more than three hundred works and documents including eighty canvases jointly signed by Basquiat and Warhol. Totally worth it if you have the opportunity to be in Paris before August 28th 2023.

Fondation Louis Vuitton

June 22nd was also very exciting.

Banksy Cut & Run, exhibition of stencils from 1998-2023.

Come on Banksy!, Seriously? The enigmatic artist always needs to choose unexpected locations for his events. I don't forget Weston Super Mare or the Margate's staycation :) This time was Glasgow. Why? Because Glasgow's Wellington statue got its iconic traffic cone hat 40 years ago and it's Banksy's favourite.

Equestrian statue Duke of Wellington I had to try the cone too!

According to GoMA's curator Martin McSheaffrey-Craig, it's worth the wait. “Even the most die-hard Banksy fan is going to see something they've never seen before in there,” he tells the Herald.

“I’ve kept these stencils hidden away for years, mindful they could be used as evidence in a charge of criminal damage. But that moment seems to have passed, so now I’m exhibiting them in a gallery as works of art. I’m not sure which is the greater crime”

– Banksy

And when you go to the "vandal's world" you get the opportunity to use their Poscas, so I did it! Tagged!!

(GoMA Glasgow, until August 28th 2023)

I hope you enjoyed my Art-Trotting blog!

The End

by Soniabblondon

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