Spanish artist Eva Armisen is well-loved for her vibrant and whimsical artworks that celebrate the themes of love and family.
As Jazz Chong, founder of Ode to Art gallery and an art collector, says of these pieces, “They encourage us to cherish the small yet meaningful moments in life… they become even more important during the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking at heartwarming and cheerful art as hers brings me joy and reminds me how lucky I am to be surrounded by my family.”
Chong would know. She’s worked with Armisen for many years, during which they have collaborated on exhibitions, painting sessions, a limited-edition notebook and the inaugural launch of OLA executive condominium.
In April, Ode to Art organised a charity auction to raise funds for Methodist Welfare Services. Proceeds from the 22 artworks sold totalled $60,600 and went towards more than 1,000 low-income families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in Singapore.
Two artworks by Armisen were part of this auction. One of them, A Day in the Countryside, was especially poignant to the Barcelona-based artist. “It is about an outdoor family picnic, which I know a lot of people are missing right now,” she says. “So I see it both as a reflection of the great memories of family outings, and maybe as a hopeful promise to the future, that we can spend this sort of quality time together again soon.”
You are collaborating with Ode to Art on a colouring competition for Mother’s Day. What do you hope participants take away from this experience?
My paintings are always based on memories or emotions, so when I paint a family, I always have my own family at heart. It is a universal theme everyone can relate to; others can see their own family through mine. By sharing some patterns of my art, I hope that kids and adults alike can feel this amazing joy of celebrating your family while creating something that will make those around you happy. To me, these are two of the best feelings in the world!
Many of your artworks revolve around family bonding. What was your childhood like?
I’m lucky to have had a very happy childhood. As a kid, I spent time with my mother in the kitchen, cooking tortilla de patatas (a Spanish omelette with potatoes). The smell and taste of this dish always brings me home.
I also spent so much time with my sister, playing, drawing, inventing stories. We did not need much. We did not know what hurrying was and we enjoyed the sensation of having unlimited time. I don’t think I can feel that anymore, but I hope to be able to convey a bit of that through my art. I have painted many portraits of my sister and I as kids to honour these memories.
Your artworks have this child-like quality. Where did this child-like quality come from?
At art school, I painted in many different styles before I found my way. To me, it’s about joy, innocence, and re-connecting with the incredible sense of wonder that children feel every day discovering life. As adults, we forget to marvel at our lives. Even if life is not picture-perfect, creativity enables you to create a world where anything is possible: it’s a superpower! My hope is that I can spread a creative spirit and bring viewers to look at the world through innocent eyes.
You also designed a wine label, proceeds of which go to help the intellectually disabled. Why is giving back important to you?
I cannot stand abuse of power of any kind. I feel we should all do what we can to help those who cannot or do not have the means to stand up for themselves, like children or intellectually disabled. I am lucky to have a small platform and to be able to rally others around my art, so I am happy to do what I can to advance such causes. It’s a small thing, but if we all come together, we can change the world!
What makes you smile?
Everything! I’m an optimist, so even in harder times, I always focus on the positive things, no matter how small. A butterfly in the garden or a shared meal with my family will bring me joy. And painting, of course! That is my favourite thing to do!