Few architectural elements have as many negative connotations as the wall. A wall is an obstacle, a barrier. It prevents access and prevents exit. It doesn't let you see further either. And Dénia, like any community, is full of walls. But, luckily, some people do not stay with their harmful aspects, but rather see them as an opportunity to release what they have inside. A canvas to capture your ideas. Then the wall, paradoxically, becomes a way to achieve freedom.
Tardor Roselló He was just a kid from La Xara when he began to be interested in painting and drawing. He filled entire notebooks with premature works that he never thought could escape from paper. At the same time that he found a passion in drawing, he became interested in all culture. Hip Hop, especially for rap music. She grew up, you could say, drawing with rap in the background. It was to be expected that she would soon begin to focus on the artistic discipline par excellence of Hip Hop: graffiti.
In Dénia and its surroundings, at that time, there were already some graffiti artists, but most of the walls were still blank. They were those who came from the big cities, especially Madrid, where the spray culture had already been established, those who showed the generation of Tardor that a wall could be the best canvas.
Soon Tardor's notebooks began to fill with graffiti sketches. During the classes that interested him the least, he confesses, was when he learned the most, but about that art. He practiced a thousand signatures while the teacher wasn't looking, until he had the opportunity to move the final one to a wall.
They almost always met in abandoned houses on the outskirts of the urban area, such as in La Marquesa. There, along with others who had discovered a new hobby, they began to use their first paint sprays. Among them they did not compete, but they collaborated to nourish themselves and perfect their techniques.
The abandoned property, as one senses, did not belong to any of them, which forces us to address the elephant in the room: artists or hooligans? Spray has always had a bad reputation and has been sold as a tool of destruction rather than construction.. But Tardor does not hesitate to admit the illegal nature of graffiti. As he himself explains, he became popular in New York, where artists jumped onto the subway to leave their elaborate signatures and be able to proudly boast that they had been there and that their work would also be seen in all the neighborhoods through which their car passed. The subway becomes, therefore, a traveling museum. In his case, however, he avoided risking it so much and preferred to focus on practicing in places where they would not be bothered or disturbed. «I never tried to annoy anyone. "It wasn't my intention," she tells us.
From the signatures he moved on to the most elaborate drawings. He started including some figures among the letters and he liked it. So much so that soon the letters disappeared and focused on those drawings. It could be said that he specialized, since in the joint works of his group he was entrusted with the task of providing images far from the signatures.
The vocation had already awakened in him, so his studies also led him in the same direction. He studied the artistic branch of high school and after this he continued learning in various modules and courses increasingly focused on art on walls and facades. The graffiti is left behind and began his time as an urban artist creating murals closer to his current work.
From the beginning he had commissions from individuals to decorate houses or businesses. It was something that limited him when it came to expressing himself, since he had to closely follow the client's demands, but it helped him trust that He could dedicate himself exclusively to what he liked. While most of his graffiti colleagues were abandoning sprays or relegating it to a casual hobby, Tardor made a living from painting.
He became professional. Among his tools, brushes, a roller, a compressor with guns made their way, but he has never abandoned the spray, which he continues to use in his projects. He polished the height and assumed larger and larger walls. «At first it is very complicated. Making a large-format mural not only involves knowledge and tools, but also courage if you are afraid of heights. First he climbed a ladder to paint where he couldn't reach, then a scaffolding and finally he had to learn to operate the cranes (lifting platforms) that today he uses not to make walls, but to make entire facades.
Although he claims not to compete against other artists, "there is more camaraderie or admiration than competition," he does constantly challenge himself to make an increasingly larger mural. In the region, a work carried out a couple of years ago in Ondara on the Alberca River stands out in size.. Although not in height, the woman she created in him had a size of 50 meters. «Sometimes people do not understand how murals are made, they think that they are printed or that they are made by a group of 20 painters. And not. "It's just me, under the sun, who's painting it."
They soon became interested in him from different parts of Europe. Something that he still does not accept, because it is difficult for him to believe that, at only 26 years old, his art has come so far. Tardor tells the most recent case, because a few days ago he was in Denmark doing several jobs after a gallery there contacted him through Instagram. «At first I said "yes, now, a gallery in Denmark is going to contact me." Well in the end it turned out that it was true and that the project was real », she laughs when remembering it. He says that social networks are vital to make yourself known in this world. Not only their own, but those that people make when they come across a work. And that circulates until it reaches unimaginable people, like a gallery in Denmark in this case.
Although many muralists opt for cartoonish figures, which they call "quecos", or for images that are practically photographs, Tardor found his own style far from those currents. «I'm not looking for hyperrealism. I like to work hard, but I like more that it plays with the environment itself, that you can see the texture of the paint, the strokes and brushes, the texture of the wall... If not, that's what you already have the photo for.
Among his works in recent years, three elements stand out that are repeated in almost every work: the cracks, the birds and the women. Her murals almost always feature female faces that emerge from her imagination by combining features from different references. He claims to feel comfortable turning to women, from whom he claims to emanate an expressiveness and freedom that would otherwise be difficult for him to capture. On this last question, freedom, he also discusses the use of birds. Furthermore, he assures that they are very versatile since there is a huge variety of types and he always finds one, by shape, size or color, that fits what he wants to convey.
Lastly, perhaps not so noticeable to the naked eye, are the cracks. Their figures are almost always cracked, especially in the skin of their arms or faces. A resource that arose by chance while a few years ago he gave up trying to hide a real crack in a wall he was painting on. He welcomed this "imperfection" in his work and it was soon a recurring resource in each of his works.
The walls of Dénia
One of his first works here can be found in La Xara, in the cinema square. A mural with more than five years behind him and still very far from his later creations. However, it was the beginning of a career in the area with which you can see his professional growth.
The different editions of UrbaJove They filled different walls of Dénia with their art. Between La Via Street and Patricio Ferrándiz are your Angela Davis, your Gata Cattana and your Amy Winehouse, or the critical polar bear sunk in a glass of water. In Torrecremada there is a mural that has brought him great joy, considered one of the ten best in the world in 2021 thanks to a popular vote: the lying and cracked woman with the crown of plants.
The event also allowed him to decorate the façade of the Joventut de Dénia building with various works that neighbors see daily. One of them, in fact, is the image of the artist himself, as Tardor confesses to us. It is not common and causes him a certain modesty, but on that occasion he resorted to a photograph of himself hooded to create the mural of the man crouching with his face illuminated while he looks at a reduced version of himself.
If you walk through Jesús Pobre or La Xara it is also easy to end up coming across a work by the artist. In his hometown, in fact, he was in charge of decorating the façade of the new school with one of his most impressive murals. And it is not the only educational center that has a work signed by him, since lately he has been requested from a large number of them, from María Ibars to Paidos.
Among his latest works is the hooded man from whom birds sprout at the exit of the tunnel, in the Joventut building, and the one that was commissioned for the sports center on the occasion of the departure of La Vuelta.
And far from the walls he also finds his moments of disconnection painting pictures. "I like it because of the contrast it gives, after a month of non-stop, locking yourself up to be calmly with a painting." have been carried out various exhibitions where this side of him could be seen. In fact, since last Friday you can visit the last one in the Turia Workshop by Els Magazinos, whose presentation attracted dozens of followers who wanted to learn about its news from the author.
He likes to paint on any surface, he admits. She started with a notebook and now displays his paintings. However, Tardor is clear: there is nothing like physical work, in the street, with the neighbors and for them. «I have always made paintings, but I have always focused more on muralism because I liked the large format, going out into the street and interacting with people. Being on the crane painting, having to move, living a few weeks away to do projects... All the adventures that painting on the street gives you offer you experiences that the painting does not. Each time in a different municipality or country, but he will always continue resorting to spray to confront his blank walls.