As I told you yesterday, today I have a new installment in the BCN Handmade series for you, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did preparing it! Ready? Here goes, BCN Handmade – Marc Sparfel.
I first encountered Marc Sparfel‘s sculptures at Openhouse, and was delighted by the fact that they had been created with discarded and very mundane, every-day wooden objects. Not long ago, I happened to meet him in person, and that’s where the idea to include him in the handmade project came up.
Last Tuesday I went to his workshop in the Barri Gòtic to take the photos you see here (and which, I’m afraid do not do his work sufficient justice). It turned out into a delightful morning, in which we swapped stories about our love of Barcelona, and Marc explained how thanks to a course in etching, his work has evolved into a new, unexpected and very different way.
Generous with his time and passionately sharing what he does, and how he does it, I was permitted to see Marc in action on his latest piece. Thus I observed how he works on the floor of his workshop, guided by strings which he uses as guide lines, piecing together various pieces of reclaimed wood (including off cuts – nothing goes to waste here) to create what could be described as a 3D version of one of his etches.
Here are some impressions of this, and of his workshop, and after the slideshow, in Marc‘s own words, a bit more about his trajectory, background and dreams…
Where are you from?
I’m from Bretagne, from a village on the coast of Finistère Nord, where everything is still very wild, thanks to the bad weather and the coastal laws that protect the natural environment.
What does Barcelona mean to you?
It means a place in the world where I feel good: lots of light, the sea, freedom to move around (you can cycle pretty much everywhere), where you can live with little money; it’s very cosmopolitan.
Negative aspects: tourism on a massive scale and a provincial mentality which can be rather exasperating at times.
Mercat de las Flors: they have an incredible programme, with the best of contemporary dance, and at a very affordable price. I definitely think this is the most creative, thrilling and exciting proposal in the general art scene these days.
The Canigó, on Carrer Floridablanca. It’s not really a restaurant, it’s more a bar that offers meals, but I love it. The food is really good, the portions generous, the atmosphere is very relaxed, and the waiters are very friendly and attend you quickly, a veritable miracle in Barcelona.
Studies: nothing very useful. Work: workshops in set design for advertising, the best training…
How did you get here?
On the road of life… I always knew what I didn’t want to do. That’s how I went about life rejecting options… I never thought about being a sculptor, until one day I realised that what I was doing was exactly that, sculpture. Since then I try to put all my energy into it.
What inspires you?
Absolutely everything, in a conscious or unconscious manner. From the environment in which I grew up, nature, food, my partner, conversations with friends, to reading, travel, the work of other artists, etc…
When / how does inspiration strike?
I believe very much in this phrase by Picasso (I suppose he copied it from someone, as he used to do with everything…) “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Inspiration is everything but a sacred flash of lightning!
Which part of your process do you find the most satisfying?
Most of it, luckily! But the most exciting is when my work surprises me. Little by little an artist creates a personal universe, which with the passing of time can become a trap. So when I get to work on an unexpected piece, it’s marvellous.
Well, to be able to live off my work as a sculptor! I’d also love to collaborate on a dance project.
Thank you Marc Sparfel for your generosity and warm welcome into your workshop!
You can check out Marc’s work on his website here, and in case you are in Barcelona, buy some of his pieces at Openhouse (Carrer Notariat 6, 08001 Barcelona). If you are a collector and interested in acquiring any of Marc’s pieces, please contact his agents Galerie T or Galerie Friedmann-Hahn.