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The Colors of the mediterranean

The colors of Mediterranean… I was born there. This footprint and all these images from a childhood will be the canvas for the brush strokes of the future.

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The colors of the Mediterranean. Barcelona, Italy, Greece… in their miscellaneous essence. Art sheltering whole centuries of motley imprints.

I was born there.  Embedded in scents of the sea. Shortly after that, the color blue, the shades of green and the concrete made room for the white satiny land of rosemary and holm oaks. Surrounded by the simple existence in a village covered in white cast, I wrote the first pages of my life in stone.  

The figure of the small village teacher, the image of the dry river boulevard crowned by a natural spring of bitter water, the timeless collegiate church with its restored bell tower; these are all images from a childhood no new experience will ever be able to erase.

This footprint, sculptured in hot iron on my soul, will be the canvas for the brush strokes of the future.

That monotonous life, with almost nothing to do, triggered my imagination. The tile tradition of my village served as an inspiration for me.

tile tradition
Even though I was born in that pre-Olympic Barcelona that still had hardly any access to the sea, my childhood took place in Albelda (Huesca), place of origin of my paternal lineage.

This village, located in the Catalan strip of Aragon owes its name to the Arabic place name Al-Baida (white village). Its whitish and sandy landscape, so often colored by almond trees, olive trees and holm oaks would coexist with fertile irrigated fields, right next to a water canal that would sometimes carry crystalline, sometimes murky waters which descended straight from the Pyrenean mountains.

Many images from those times have remained in my memory. I still remember my Grandmother (I was 12 years old), sitting by the entrance stairs of the house that three very different, and at the same time very colorful generations shared. Hours would go by, and she would talk nonstop with her friends and neighbors well past midnight. Meanwhile, I would walk the village streets with my friends, gossiping nonstop. This is how life would go by, surrounded by simple country people, isolated from the outside world that we barely knew.

That monotonous life, with almost nothing to do, triggered my imagination. I would play new roles on a daily basis, and I would even put on costumes to entertain people around me. By the way, I was very happy.

The tile tradition of my village served as an inspiration for me. Ever since I was a little girl, I would play with the flexible red clay mud, applying my own glazing.

Later on, I started traveling and opening myself up to the world. I was seduced by different cultures and the many diverse landscapes. Ever since my trips have always been a quest for landscapes and shapes that inspire me. Volcanoes, glaciers, rain forests…

volcanoes
Later on, finding inspiration in my father, I started traveling and opening myself up to the world. I was seduced by different cultures and the many diverse landscapes. Thanks to this, I was able to collect new experiences, as well as create new, enriching relationships.

My first big trip was Chile. There, I started to define myself artistically by watching the Atacama desert geysers. I would wake up early in the morning, in order to see the beautiful dawn, which was greeted by excited geysers that would effusively burst. That frame of natural beauty remained imprinted in my eyes forever. There, I decided that I would major in landscape architecture. Also, I decided my creations would be guided by freedom of shapes, inspired by the interpretation of nature.

Ever since my trips have always been a quest for landscapes and shapes that inspire me. Volcanoes, glaciers, rain forests… With each new place, and in each of my treasured moments of loneliness, even dancing till the break of dawn in Cuba, my identity grew stronger: it was an act of very personal love.

All decisions in my life have been guided by love, thus far away from any rationality. It has always been my deep conviction that love is the only timeless item in life, in the true sense of this word.  This, pushed me to the biggest decision of my life: going to America.

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All decisions in my life have been guided by love, thus far away from any rationality. It has always been my deep conviction that love is the only timeless item in life, in the true sense of this word. This, as well as the fact that by the time I finished university (Architecture, naturally) a major economic crisis reigned over the whole world, pushed me to the biggest decision of my life: going to America. In all honesty, black and white Hollywood movies also somewhat played a role: Fred Astaire swinging and moving like a prince, Ava Gardner´s soul-stirring look, Bogart´s rictus of extreme solemnity, amongst others, were calling me. So, at last, I made it to the California coastline.

In America, I have found a way in line with my dreams. I have been able to discover and live in New York, as well as bring back my artistic facet, which had been silenced for a long time. Dance, architecture, theatre, photography, all paved the creative way for tile. In tile, I attempt to transport all my creative dreams. Whenever I set off on a journey to see beautiful scenery, I always try to portray this beauty through design. In all my creations, my yearnings and sensations are implied.

And finally, the time has arrived, yet again amidst a severe crisis: Coronavirus. During this lethal time, my first catalog is born. I hope I will be able to feel and transmit sensations that have been with me during all these years. On a personal level, I have found in art a means of communication: I hope I will succeed. 
the brooklyn pations paula purroy

The Brooklyn Patios

The first time I set foot on the endearing and characteristic Brooklyn sidewalks, it felt like a dreamlike awakening.That hundred-year-old stone and iron bridge was a revelation to me.

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The first time I set foot on the endearing and characteristic Brooklyn sidewalks, it felt like a dreamlike awakening. It was my second US trip, back in 2009, a pivotal time in my life: I was about to finish college, and yet full of doubts. That hundred-year-old stone and iron bridge was a revelation to me. More than two thousand steps between two shores, and two different worlds.

Brooklyn and its nostalgic essence, its courtyards, the footprint from so many cultures, they all stood in stark contrast to the Manhattan we all carry embroidered in black and white on the back of our eyes.
The striking contrast between Times Square, quintessential epicenter of capitalism, and the sinister film-noir atmosphere deeply disappointed me, pushing me to flee the North, for the South. I was rescued in Miami, raising the hope for better times ahead.

I met David, who took me into his very unique Orthodox world. I started feeling more and more attracted towards that great world within another great world. We would celebrate Shabbat in Nico’s backyard. In and around that backyard, most of our Brooklyn lives would take place. It was our own, small universe.

orthodox
After a certain time, however, I came to feel my escape needed to be temporary. Life circumstances seemed to be calling me back to the Big Apple. I met David, who took me into his very unique Orthodox world. It was thanks to David that I was able to enter a world of cultural and religious celebrations. I started feeling more and more attracted towards that great world within another great world.

Down by the Hudson River, an unforgettable sight offered itself to the naked eye: Happy-Hour themed bars shared a physical space with men wearing black hats, rushing to their respective synagogues, right before the sun would paint crimson the city skyscrapers, right before the start of Shabbat. We would celebrate Shabbat in Nico’s backyard, in Williamsburg: a reunion of friends, full of conversations and dancing. In and around that backyard, most of our Brooklyn lives would take place. It was our own, small universe, the universe of a community of artists where everyone played a role, even if they didn´t feel like an artist, or even without really being an artist. That thing that had started, back in the day, with David, lived on in those beautiful Brooklyn backyards. An inner world converged with the outside world, giving both my personal and artistic life a sense of purpose.

I wasn´t aware of the cultural depth New York had to offer till after a whole year living there. Just like my friends and myself had created our own community around a Brooklyn backyard, many other people were creating also their own communities, also rich and colorful.

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My life in New York went on like that, amongst neighborhoods and cultures. Sometimes in Queens, where I would use the opportunity to eat and enjoy excellent fish dishes at very affordable prices in Greek restaurants. Other times in Brighton Beach and its Russian underworld right by the ocean, where credit cards didn´t work, just cash. It was a trip back in time to Soviet times, where you could almost picture Russian mafias seizing control of the streets. Last but not least, there was Williamsburg, fortress of the Jewish Orthodox world, where I could feel I was getting back in touch with my artistic soul. Each corner had something to tell, the result of multiple and dramatic historic backgrounds that left an intense imprint in the colorful melting pot that is this neighborhood.

I wasn´t aware of the cultural depth New York had to offer till after a whole year living there. Just like my friends and myself had created our own community around a Brooklyn backyard, many other people were creating also their own communities, also rich and colorful.

I look at the Hudson River from my window. I can barely go out on the street, because of the eternal Covid lockdown. All I can do is dream of a normal life in freedom. These hard moments are the beginning of the long-desired path.

empire state
I look at the Hudson River from my window. I can barely go out on the street, because of the eternal Covid lockdown. All I can do is dream of a normal life in freedom. These hard moments are the beginning of the long-desired path.

My creations are inspired by all these life-changing moments, as well as all the secret spots Brooklyn has. I imagine my bathtub, flanked by Nico’s pink flamingo and the green leaves of the leafy palm tree, and with them a midsummer night’s dream.
“The inner world of Brooklyn’s backyards, with effervescent stories, always full of life… We are the stories we live through, and these stories create magical moments that inspire ideas. Art is the most beautiful way of sealing in time all those memories we hold on to, once those experiences are gone”

"We are the stories we live through, and these stories create magical moments that inspire ideas. Art is the most beautiful way of sealing in time all those memories we hold on to, once those experiences are gone."

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Paula Purroy
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