Two weeks have already gone by since the closing of Swatch Cities, Madrid and this is a good time to look back and appreciate everything lived and learned —something that is not that simple, as the six days were extremely full of activity—. So, to this end, some of the creative natives, their coaches and other artists who have played an important role in the initiative, have shared a series of brief testimonies about what it has meant for them (professionally and personally) to participate in a project unprecedented to date. And, if there’s one thing they all agree on, it’s that the effort has been very worth it. But no more spoilers, let’s keep on reading…
Ángela Jiménez (Creative native, multidisciplinary artist): “It has been very enriching to meet other creators from scratch. To start a conversation about what the city means to us. Many conversations generating ideas, questions and potential proposals. The atmosphere of camaraderie and help that has been created has been very nice: a very collaborative spirit, not only between the members of a team, but between different teams. Even though we are all very different, enthusiasm has united us.”
Gema Polanco (Creative native, photographer): “Participating in the festival meant leaving my comfort zone, enjoying a lot and meeting wonderful people. I’ve made a lot of friends and felt very inspired. All this has made me recharge my batteries and now I want to undertake many other projects”.
Lydia Garvín (Creative native, multidisciplinary artist): “From the very beginning, my team has felt very comfortable leaving aside our usual practices and concentrating on a common project. We had a very good dynamic and understood the context in which the installation was going to be presented. We’ve also learnt to react to the challenges that arised on the go, to improvise and to move forward, and that’s very important”.
Diego Iglesias and Cristóbal Baños (Creative natives, architects at Hyper Studio): “What we have developed is not so much a closed piece as a system that will allow us to generate many pieces based on it. There have already been different companies that have shown interest in reproducing it, even in a more social environment. It’s interesting, because new collaborations are already taking shape. On the other hand, on a personal level, one of the best things has been to be able to work side by side with coaches, professionals to whom it is not normally easy to have access”.
Laura Corradi (Creative native, product designer): “What I enjoyed the most about my time at the festival was the feeling that I now have a group of friends, with whom I feel very close, and this is going to become a fundamental support to encourage each other when facing future challenges. I would dare to say that a small family has been created, and that is also very important in order to connect with the city where you work”.
Julia García (Creative native, artist and researcher): “The project has been a great challenge. The way we have been working has been very intense. Learning to manage time, materials, resources… and, above all, learning to adapt ourselves to other formats, very different from those I’ve worked with until now. A festival has nothing to do in terms of rhythm and content with an exhibition, which entails learning in many aspects. And, without a doubt, in the end the most enriching resource is the people who surround you throughout the process. Those who help you grow your ideas.”
Arturo Garrido (Creative native, architect): “Working as a team with people you don’t know and who come from other disciplines allows you to achieve unforeseen results that you would never have achieved by yourself. This greatly enriches all your perspectives. Moreover, it’s nice that we’ve managed to build this network of creators with whom to continue coinciding in different initiatives in the future. The idea is to take advantage of this characteristic of a mobile piece of the Art Show we have created – the installation based on the iconography of the Puerta del Sol – so that it keeps being develop in other ways after the festival”.
Leonor Serrano (Creative coach): “I loved working with the creative natives and getting to know them. I was very surprised on how people who had never met before, and who a priori had nothing in common, decided to work together leaving their own ego aside”.
Carlos Maciá (Creative coach): “The best thing about the festival was the talent and potential of the 15 selected creatives. It has been a luck to get to know them and share projects with them”.
Antonyo Marest (Urban artist): “After a long team effort, I’m proud to be able to admire the work we’ve done day after day. Madrid doesn’t offer many opportunities to intervene the space in the town centre, so having a work like that is fantastic. But, above all, it’s great that a brand gets involved like this, giving artists the opportunity to develop their creativity and share their proposals. As we know, Spain is gradually growing in the understanding of art by the public on the streets, so it’s great to have this kind of initiatives”.
Boa Mistura (Urban art collective): “Swatch Cities has been a creative hurricane in the city. Initiatives like this one are necessary to shake up and blow up the young talent of the cities, and Madrid is full of creativity, many times it only needs support to grow. It has allowed us to develop ourselves a little more. To be able to carry out an artistic intervention of great magnitude in our city, something that is not always easy. On the other hand, getting to know the proposals of young creatives, seeing the collective work of other artists and sharing inspiration has been enriching and very motivating. It’s always nice to see how your city is alive and active.”.
Sergio Sancho (Curator, Urvanity): “We at Urvanity are very happy to have been able to be part of this project. We think that more initiatives of this kind are needed to highlight the new agents and artists that are emerging in the city. It is also very enriching to mix different creative disciplines, as it shows that among them there is more harmony than we can think a priori. This project confirms the great moment that urban art is living, and that finally begins to have a recognition in certain circles, where until now dind’t have any impact. We were especially delighted that a brand that stands for creativity such as Swatch has counted on us to curate this area”.
15 creative natives, 5 coaches, 5 Art Shows, more than 50 emerging creators from all over the city presenting their work, 4 acoustic concerts by independent bands, a great concert with 5 bands at the Ochoymedio Club, visits by prestigious established artists, workshops to share knowledge and, above all, many connections. An ambitious approach and a great effort of organization that, in the words of its protagonists, has not only given the expected results when it comes to boosting (and discovering) a new generation of creators, but has also provided them with new tools to continue leaving their mark on the city. Now it is up to you to follow their footsteps. Or to create like them.