Artist, Educator, Environmentalist

Álvaro Soler-Arpa

Girona, Spain

"In today's technologically advanced society, the modern-day hero is one who transcends ego and acknowledges their interconnectedness with the environment."

Alvaro Soler-Arpa is an international exponent of environmental art. He has focused his attention on an uncomfortable and sad reality: the detachment of our society from the natural environment from which it originates. CONSUMPTION-METASTASIS, his lastest work, invites the viewer to reflect on the current state of the relationship between man and Nature. The artist points out that in the hyper-consumerist society we inhabit, nature has been relegated to the background, mistreated and considered by humans as an object of design for their enjoyment. He will be exhibiting his "CONSUMPTION-METASTASIS" exhibition at Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid.

Could you please share more about yourself and the work you’re engaged in?

My primary medium of expression is drawing, which allows me to delve into the intricacies of anatomy and understand the essence of nature. I find profound joy in capturing the essence of anatomy through art, and my perception of reality is deeply intertwined with the magical occurrences that art unveils. I believe that nurturing one’s spirituality is essential to experience this magic, yet, unfortunately, many individuals today suffer from a disconnect with their spiritual selves. While I am deeply passionate about art, I identify as an artist rather than an activist.

What sparked your awareness of the issue of plastic pollution?

My mother has been a significant influence on my environmental consciousness. Her lifelong dedication to tree planting and advocating for nature’s respect has sensitized me to the grave issue of plastic pollution. To me, plastic pollution symbolizes and embodies larger societal problems such as consumerism, fast-paced lifestyles, environmental degradation, and a disconnection from spirituality. Addressing plastic pollution serves as a pivotal starting point for reevaluating our relationship with nature and fostering sustainable living practices.

In what ways do you believe art can play a role in raising awareness about significant environmental issues?

While I personally find it challenging to attribute transformative power to art, I can attest to the profound personal benefits and insights that creativity and art-making afford me. As an artist, I primarily perceive art through its aesthetic and artistic merits. Nevertheless, I fervently wish for art to inspire positive change and elevate societal consciousness towards environmental issues.

Could you provide insights into the creation and significance of sculptures like Fauno and Animal marino?

Working with bones and plastic in tandem felt like a direct confrontation with the issue at hand. It was a ceremonial process, breathing life into the remains of deceased animals to articulate my concerns about the environment. This artistic endeavor prompted deep reflections on themes of life, death, and nature, evoking profound emotional responses.

Can you give us a glimpse into your upcoming exhibition?

This exhibition marks a significant milestone as it grants environmental art a prominent platform within Spain’s esteemed Circulo de Bellas Artes. I am honored to be a part of this historic moment. We aim to host informative sessions with esteemed individuals, shedding light on the pressing environmental challenges we face today.

What aspirations do you have for the future?

While artists often grapple with the inherent egoism associated with their craft, my personal aspiration is to navigate my career while diminishing the ego within me, fostering a deeper connection with my surroundings and the issues that affect us all.

What do you believe are the essential qualities of a modern-day hero?

In today’s technologically advanced society, the modern-day hero is one who transcends ego and acknowledges their interconnectedness with the environment. They embody a spirit of responsibility and actively engage in repairing rather than replacing, fostering sustainable habits, and inspiring positive change.

Where do you typically seek information and updates regarding plastic pollution?

I maintain close ties with the Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) in the United States. Founded in 2009, PPC has been at the forefront of the fight against plastic pollution, advocating for change and raising awareness globally.

Are there any books, podcasts, or movies you would recommend to broaden our perspectives on this issue?

While there is an abundance of resources available, I believe in starting with small changes in daily habits and gradually progressing towards a more sustainable lifestyle. As Dianna Cohen, CCO of PPC, aptly suggests, “start a change in YOUR daily habits, little by little, do not stress but be persistent and take your time… and others will follow.

Pictures © Álvaro Soler-Arpa

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