A post-punk symphony of irony and lamentation.
Amidst dangling fabrics and vintage vinyls, Barcelona-based artist Juaki Pesudo gaslights the conventional realm, in an ironic ode to homies, ghosts and memes. Having transitioned from a degree in Industrial Design Engineering, Pesudo’s trans-media works reveal “bad vibe presences”, those of crawling ghosts and fleshy visitors that permeate his subconscious. Rendered in a gore palette of reds, blues and whites, his compositions conglomerate torn figures, limbs and thorns that, despite not being evident on a first glance, once deciphered become impossible to unsee. When awake, Pesudo explains how these presences arise from nightmares, and expresses his increasing interest in astral projection, lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis. Exploring self-portraiture through facial distortion in both photographs and sketches, his renditions vary depending on his personal state, reflecting an eerie mimesis. Sometimes even ripping canvases apart from paint accumulation, he clarifies: “painting for me is like when u eat 2 much spaghetti nd then u regretti, its rly hard to know when to stop.”. This chaotic fluidity results in his occasional struggle to know when a piece is complete. Also a musician, Pesudo has recently released his first solo singles “Human’s Lament” and “Robot’s Lament”, a set of post-punk tunes that express hopelessness for a technology-dominated era, revolting beings who flounder unable to escape themselves. As the lyrics start, imaginary figures emerge falling into an oblique tension that shivers through his entire practice as an ironic reminder on the finitude of human existence.
Despite having graduated from an Industrial Design Engineering degree in Barcelona, you are now focused on drawing and painting. In what ways does your former work differ from the current one, and what prompted this shift?
*speaks with fake italoruman accent*
truth be told, karen, I have never practiced my former tekmology work, but I met many biutiful pplin uni with whom I shared alot and still do. Back in school, with my brogans (mofeti, yuitre, quimoccio, pepe) we would spend all classes drawing, except for gym, artclass and when we watched tv show “ROMA” in Latin.
*students coordinatley scream and bang desks with fists *
– “roma!roma!roma!roma!roma!roooma!” –
We sat 2gether in the back of the room and made collaborative bizare drawings under the name of “fundrawings”. When the teacher breaks your drawing and she makes u speak it felt so easy to become the rat. Years went ahead, joaquinito became juaskin, juanskin forced by the authorities attended university. Furthermore nevertheless whatsoever; yuitre, yisus and friends became “antitroop”; we would make kind of antigraffitis and rekolected trash from the streets to paint on it. When I finished the degree (gr8 success), mofeti and I contiuned with “fundrawings” tryna make a livin this time xdd, so we started taking comission works. Then there was slow natural transitioninto fully focusing on more presonal stuff .-*pours tea* Allthough it is something that has been boiling for as far as i can remember. As fetus, I painted a fresco in maters placenta, you should haveseen the look on dr. doktors face.
And that was the best/worst day of my life.
Besides Barcelona, you have lived for long periods in countries such as China and Finland. What drove you to move abroad, and how have these travels nourished your development?
Pater had to move to China for work, so all the family went along 4 the ride. Shanghai was rly eyeopening I have many good memories from back then. I could hardly ollie bro but the city had the worlds biggest skatepark and we would go there often with the geng. Finland es relindo, I was sourrounded by biutiful ppl and landscapes, even aurora boreal bro. I was in a vry small town called Seinajoki, there was a great music scene, sme vry powerful punk. I was living alone for the first time, it felt so good to be alone, I drew/drank a lot and I started writing songs.
In addition to your pictorial exercises, you are also a musician. Have you composed, played and written lyrics from an early age? How has this evolved with time?
At home I always had access to (good) musik, gr8 vinyls suxas isaotomita or yesshows… I used to improvise alot with friends, antirapbattles and also with sitar. Laughin at each other wasour favorite hobbyt. One pretty day mans_o told me about this cultural association that him and some others had just opened up; El Pumarejo. That place became like a temple 4 me and many others. It was truly magikal, buitiful ppl/cats, golrious concerts… There were some rehersal rooms and we used to go there and play punk with jandrag and ramidapunk; and make maria, jimpak and juancarlos deaf. We also played our first homofeta shows there. The place is still runing and it is still best spot in town, rly I promise. Golria!
Self representation is explored in your digital creations in the form of photographs of your face that are distorted, similarly to those that appear in your drawings. How is your vision of identity imprinted in these portraitures?
Im truly iutiful and that is how rly look, 4 real… Im not sure but I think da face varies depending on the mood or state im in rly. Its totally (not?) funny. Some mimesis thing also goes on, thats why I sometimes look like the painting im standing next to. Be4 I used to paint according to how I wanted to look, then time went by and I dont rly care anymore its fun to look in the mirrorless. Its hard for my friends to recognize me sometimes thats why I always wear the same fancy outfit. Carefully designed by Lycaon of course.
Human body parts such as hair, hands and mouths appear in the background of the artwork scans in the fanzine of ‘spinas lindas’, giving the impression of haunting the drawn figure in the foreground. How does this layering blend into your overall narrative? Are the back and the front equivalent beings, essentially representing one’s own ghosts?
I’ve had sleep paralysis since an early age and it is rly disturbing but I somehow find it amusing, *smokes cigar* -very stimulating indeed. There is definetly some of that in the paintings. It feels like real life, there are so many badvibe presences and toxic imputs everywere and you are completely impotent, paralizetis, nothing can be done. Xe-Peng, my taewkondo teacher used to say “observe, dodge”.
Music and painting often converge in your projects. Not only do you compose, but you have also been associated with artists such as Arca in the creation of diverse graphic identities. How did this collaboration come about? In what ways did it require you to adapt your style to hers?
I met Alejandra in my first painting show, we rly connnected and became friends. She is brilliant, truly inspiring… Creating with with her is so much fun. It all comes about very naturally, accompained by videogames, thefly and exkisite cookin.
Recurrent motifs visually added include embracing arms, spiky thorns and twisted faces. When did you start to feature these characters, and where do they come from?
I dont know, maybe it all derives from the drawings back in school I told you before about. My friend quimoccio was really into drawing deformed characters and we all laughed very hard, helaughed the hardest though. Thorns are biutiful yet so kriminal, like life? jajxd
You have curated several site-responsive exhibitions in your studio, integrating installations that involved painting directly on the walls. Is this dissolution of boundaries between space and work away of questioning the disposition of the white cube gallery? Where would you ideally want to be exhibited?
Paintings in the studio are alive, once they leave their natural habibitat they might die. They might survive but only in a vegetative state like in that movie “milliondollarbebito”? The gallery/museum or a fancy living room is their doomed destiny but not their mission. I like to make immersive instalations, painting walls and making soundtracks helps when it comes to creating lovly atmospheres. I would like to be exhibited idealy in Cosmocaixa, inside that cringy terrarium zone where theres depressed animals that want to be put to sleep asap.
Having used an abandoned pharmaceutical lab as a previous work and show place, your ability to adapt unusual locations accompanies the incessant transformation of your surroundings. How did this space become pimaxito Gallery?
When I worked at the pharmaceutical lab it rly affected the how and the what I painted, it was truly pretty. I felt like some kind of sloth (the one from the goonies not the rly kute animal). Painting for pleasure never for treasure. It rly felt like the paintings had to be shown at the lab, so the og. idea was to hold “biutiful show”at the lab, but the place is semi_falling apart and the infrastructure is not secure -*walkitalki speaks*- “pshtt over”. My good friend from childhood xiscu ribera had access to a biutiful big empty apartment in the centre of barcelona, so we turned that place into “biutiful show” . It was months of hard work to putit toghether but we finally made it. We rly made it. The hardest part was to move the paintings from the lab to the new venue, those sluggish bastards never want to leave home so I had to play a sneaky trick on them. I told them we were going for a little fieldtrip, drink sangria on the park, a movie too and then home but no one ever returned, shame on me. Some even got sold, like fromage. Things get real nasty in the artworld, if u know what I mean, u wanna be a painter? you gotta be ready to betray your family.
Numbers and words occupy a subtle but significant position in your practice. Do your caption underscores (which include ‘tru_biuty’, ‘pretty_plants’ or ‘username_’ as well as your sketchbooks of numerical invoice records) call attention to the early stages of the internet which was packed with hackers?
I’ve had some bad experiences with hackers, I once met a rly good one godofredo was hes name, -what could possibly go wrong, right?- he managed to hack my system- apparently it was not secure enough- total drama, he got hold of my grandmothers hospital pictures and sold them to the tabaco gov. marketing ppl so now some of them appear in tabaco packs. It reads “smoking causes lung cancer” next to her picture, and all she had was a broken ancle.
You have released singles both under the name of your band Hoder Mofeti, and most recently, under your own name, Juaki Pesudo. Does this change respond to a shift towards more personal musical content?
Hoder Mofeti is two of us making music, mofeti, marley and me xd. Mofeti used to fart alot in class, so when some aroma raised to surface everyone was like ; -“ hoder(joder) mofeti…” We recorded our first and atm only album in 2018, at that time we were also working 2gether ilustrating and it was all vey related – the crazy drawings, the music, the farts… The music im making now feels like an extension of what I was doing before which also felt very personal at that time. Mofeti and I have taken kind of different paths in life, same with the music I guess, allthough the band is still alive, semialive. Theres a new album coming up and its made ft. maxfep; FCBarcheloneta supporter, great pro- cuder, better friend. Currently I live with “la circolaxa” -lvly ppl- one of them, aixa is a rly amazin violinist and she also adding her unique sound to the music. amendiscos 2.
When visiting your studio, I was able to see some of your pieces in progress, including a series of large oil and wax paintings. I was surprised to hear that you operate intuitively, even reaching the point of breaking the canvases that have accumulated too much paint. Is there a performative element to this process? Are you a part of your own artwork?
Painting for me is like when u eat 2 much spaghetti nd then u regretti, its rly hard to know when to stop- I usually dont plan.- Look at the mess u made.
*canvas speaks*: “come at me as you are bro” *shrek speaks*: “onions have layers, ogres have layers, ogres are like onions”. Paintings too are ognions, sometimes.
How does scale affect your way of interacting with each medium?
When I paint its hard for me not to think of large format, the painting must be strong in presence, immersive… Its not the same to watch a film in the cinema than in ur fancy smarter_than_u_phone or maybe yes only god knows rly
*slaps cover of sketchbuk*
-however when I draw I rly enjoy sketchbuks, this bad boy here can fit many fancy drawings and memories.
The titles of your two latest songs “Human’s Lament” and “Robot’s Lament” don’t transmit a particularly hopeful overtone. Are these mournings related to a tragedy affecting the human condition in our technology-dominated society? What other lamentations can we expect from you as mechanization progresses?
Always invent never lament sometimes pretend. These two songs are written from the p.o.v of human and robot. Robot is sad cause she canot feel although if she’s sad then she can probably feel o klk. She dreams with ending humanity, wishes to burn us all, but she rly cant, she cant even take her own life. The human is a sick bastard, he laments in front of the mirror, he’s aware of his condition but he will never change.
Never say yes, but yes, i would like to dig deeper into sculpture but in the future maybi. Although many other things interest me more; antitheater, food, memes, homies…
You mentioned you would like to continue travelling, possibly participating in a residency outside of Spain. Do you have any places in mind? If so, what attracts you to them?
Plz take me down where I belong, plz not west Virginia though, i will go anywhere I promise but dont take me down where I belong. Plz dont, Im cereal.
Words by Maite de Orbe