Conrad Roset is a watercolor and ink artist based out of his studio in Barcelona, Spain. Roset, who was profoundly influenced at a young age by the enigmatic Expressionist, Egon Scheile, explores the sensuality and fragility of the feminine form. Roset’s new paintings are a continuation of his “Muses” project, in which the artist searches for beauty in the effects of the watercolor and black India ink washes. Roset considers each of these works as explorations in the contrast between the black ink and the white paper; with the addition of soft watercolor accents. These new works, titled “Pale” make up Roset’s first solo exhibit in the United States. See Conrad Roset’s new works and meet the artist at the exhibition’s opening on August 29th at Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco, CA.
HF: Thanks for taking some time out of your schedule before your solo show opens. Where is your studio and where are you from?
CR: I’m Conrad Roset, I was born in 1984 and I spent the first part of my life in a small city close to Barcelona (Spain). Drawing has always been a constant in my life, since I was a child. I received my training first at the Joso School and then at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Barcelona. Now I’m based in Barcelona and I combine my work as an illustrator with the development of some different artistic and personal projects.
Since 7 years ago, when I launched myself as a freelance illustrator, I have worked for different international brands, advertising agencies and publishing agencies. For the publishing industry, I have published two illustration books for children and I have also done some book covers and punctual illustrations for important publishing houses like Penguin Random House.
During the last five years I have exhibited my work in galleries and museums, such as the MoMA in Virginia, Spoke Art in San Francisco, London Miles and Show Studio in London, Steven Kasher Gallery in New York, TiposInfames in Madrid and Miscelanea in Barcelona.
HF: Tell us a little about your artistic background, what were your first influences to be creative?
CR: I think that the works of Egon Schiele have been one of the biggest influences on my work. Since I was young, I have always admired his work.
HF: Your images appear to straddle a line of experimentation and intentional strokes – where did these ideas begin?
CR: I started drawing the female form at the University of Fine Arts for an academic Project. Since then I have never stopped working around this subject because I felt so attracted to it. During the last 7 years I have experimented around this main subject using a lot of different mediums and bases and trying to find different styles and ways of expression.
HF: Do you find that each piece is a full creative study, or do these works we’re viewing belong to some larger series of similar concepts or works?
CR: Normally, when I want to do a research about a specific subject I do a lot of series and works trying to find exactly what I want, for me the process is very important and what appears during the creative process can be really very interesting.
HF: What is your studio time like? Do you have set hours where you are creating or is it a more inspired timeframe?
CR: I use to do my commissioned projects in my studio and with specific timetables, but for the personal projects I don’t have timetables because sometimes I need to draw or I have an idea that I want to develop and this can happen at any time and anywhere.
HF: Do you think in terms of scale, the size of the work, when you start a new piece? How do you feel that the dimensions as well as choice of materials affect the idea itself?
CR: Not always, but when I’m working on a collection of works, when I’m working on a project with a main subject, I use to think about the size of the works before I start. Obviously, that has a consequence on the development of the idea, but I try not to limit myself because of this, you can always go back and restart the project changing the sizes and the materials, making mistakes is also part of the creative process.
HF: You have a show up currently at Spoke Art called “Pale”. Tell us a little about that; how did you come up with that name? Will you be at the opening?
CR: “Pale” is a continuation of my main project that is called ‘Muses’ which is an exploration about the feminine body. But I always try to explore a specific thematic or technique in each project. For this case, with ‘Pale’ I’m trying to simplify the shapes of the feminine silhouette by transforming them into black Indian ink stains. It’s also an exploration about the contrast between black and white. That’s why I’m using ‘pale’ colors and why this concept became the name of the exhibition. And the most important research for me in this project is about the drawing composition, about how I show the dresses and the body positions through the black shapes. I will be in San Francisco for the opening, because it’s my first solo exhibition in the United States and it’s an honor for me to have the opportunity to exhibit my works in a gallery like Spoke Art.