Barcelona-based rug brand Nanimarquina has led the industry in beautiful designs by collaborating with some of the world’s most renowned visual artists and designers such as Milton Glaser, Jaime Hayon, and Ilse Crawford. In this new collection, “Flora”, they teamed up with Catalan artist Santi Moix who has been a prominent figure in the art world with his fragmented and sensual paintings, murals, and sculpture. Recently, he created an original mural for Prada’s Soho store in New York.
In this collaboration with Nanimarquina, his floral paintings have been translated into hand woven low pile rugs for the home. We chatted with him to find out more about this new partnership.
Santi, tell us briefly how you became an artist.
I have been painting since I was a kid. My obsession is to find ways to tell stories, to develop my world, and my fantasies.
You are a fine artist – how did this collaboration with Nanimarquina begin? Had you met Nani before?
We met some years ago because we have some friends in common. They are mainly artists and some, such as Javier Mariscal and Xano Armenter, have collaborated in the past with Nanimarquina. Nani and I saw each other again a couple of summers ago in Empordà, in the countryside outside of Barcelona. I live in New York but I often return to Spain.
This time I showed her one of my recent installations, the interior of St. Victor’s Church in the Catalan village of Saurí. Nani and I began our collaboration by trying to reproduce a porcelain flower from inside the church. But it was when she saw my sketchbook with my paintings that the project really kicked off. She told me that she had been wanting to do a floral rug for years but couldn’t find the right flowers, apparently, my paintings were just what she was looking for.
What inspired you to use flowers as the subject of this collaboration?
The flower theme came to me, I didn’t look for it. That kind of thing happens often – most of the pieces that I do are coincidences. In this case, John Watanabe and the Pace Gallery in New York proposed that I work on a project with a floral theme.
Flowers are part of our day-to-day yet I had always put this theme aside. When this project proposal came up, I thought, “Why not?” It was the right moment for it, since flowers had a special meaning to me, especially at the time. For example, I was taken by the concept of creating art that unites people, something that is inclusive that will speak to everyone. Flowers have that side to them – they are very democratic, and they live and die as we all do. A flower is like a 3D representation of life and death that we can all understand. I also like that flowers can surprise us all and make us smile, regardless of being rich or poor, old or young.
You’ve worked with sculpture, murals, canvases…Is this your first time designing something for the home?
Yes, and it’s my first time designing a rug. Though, I have designed a few other objects like handkerchiefs and jewelry.
How does creating artwork for a rug differ from creating a mural or a painting?
The composition is very different: when I create murals I am influenced by Japanese and Renaissance art, as well as Miró’s composition. But in the case of rugs, it is quite different.
Thankfully, there was an expert design team at Nanimarquina that read my designs and were able to transform it into a product. It’s like seeing something that looks a lot like you – i.e. my work – but isn’t. It’s has a ripple effect, and is the outcome of that collaboration.
Were there some limitations to what you could do with something woven?
There were some limitations to what the expert craftsmen could do. What I like the most about this project is that it is the conjunction of the craftsman, the artist, and the designer.
Tell us about some of the visual details of this collection?
Each one of the rugs reflects an explosion of light that relates to the human experience. As I mentioned before, flowers have a beginning and an end like fireworks, that they are formed and then they die. This collection is related to another one of my projects called Hanabi (which in Japanese means flower fireworks).
Each flower is shown at a different stage. I sometimes prefer when they are at the beginning or in a fragile stage rather than at their most explosive moment.
In terms of color, I don’t use it to improve or make what I’m painting more appealing, I use it to reflect what I see by using a chiaroscuro technique. For example, when there’s red, I imagine a morning in Rajasthan instead of a plain red to help present the many nuances of color.