The art world prides itself on promoting the idea that inspiration is all around us if only we can open our eyes and see it and one man that is definitely not blind to the creativity that the world can inspire is a globally-renowned artist, Alexander Mijares.
Alexander Mijares and his travels
Miami-born Alexander Mijares is a cultural phenomenon both in the art and social media spheres, thanks to his embracing of vibrant hues and eye-catching motifs. When you witness his vivacious creations, there is an undeniable sense of energy and positivity, not to mention a natural nod to the Cuban/Spanish heritage that he comes from, but there’s something else as well: an appreciation of global culture,
“A lot of my inspiration comes from my travels.”
Of course! Every piece that he creates invokes images of treasured travel memories and offers up a multi-sensory appreciation of new experience. The smells, sights and sounds of different countries come flooding through every one of his brushstrokes, and that’s exactly what he’s going for,
“I like to see the colours other cultures use and how they use them…the shape of their architecture…the lines of the street art and the way the light hits the stained glass in churches. When you travel, you grow as a person, so as you grow, your mind begins to run wild and mix all that up and for me, new styles are born. Even just a conversation with someone from another country or place can trigger an idea and that could lead to a whole new series or style. You just never know.”
With this enthusiastic appreciation for all things new and exciting, it stands to reason that Alexander would seek to travel regularly, in a bid to unlock new levels of creativity and focus but in reality, it is merely a welcome side effect of a much-loved pastime,
“I don’t travel to increase my artistic focus. I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), so I travel to enjoy myself and, in turn, comes the inspiration. For me to stay focused it requires a lot of effort. Art is supposed to be fun and a fluid notion and for me, inspiration just hits me at random times and I embrace all of it!”
As a creative person, travelling is an intrinsic part of Alexander’s life and while it does help to open up new channels of creativity, he has never attributed any level of necessity to it that would seek to diminish the impact, over time,
“I have always said that I work to travel, but now, I paint to travel. Travelling the world is definitely something that we are meant to do…or at the very least, what I was born to do. It brings me so much joy! It really does. I like to travel, if I can, at least once a month or more and I always take one long trip each year. I think of these longer excursions as my own adventure trips. I’d rather travel than party at a nightclub. The price of a bottle is a plane ticket and the memories from a trip far exceed that of a night on the town.”
Don’t for a second think that this means a solitary or internalised experience for Alexander. Yes, it’s true that he has an incredible grasp on how to make every moment in life count and he might think of nightclub expeditions as money wasted, but he always takes the time to really enjoy his time in other countries,
“No matter where I go I always find or make the time to really immerse myself in the local scene and enjoy it. I might have a very specific reason for going where I do, but I always make sure to include two to four days of personal exploration.”
Given his credentials as a seasoned traveller, not to mention a savant as to all things culturally stimulating, we wanted to know which attractions Alexander recommends trying to see during any trip. His approach to getting the most from his ventures is nothing short of inspiring,
“I try to see absolutely everything, so I usually Google things to see ahead of time. Once I’m at my destination, I’ll buy or rent a bike, cruise around all the sights I’ve planned to visit and then I dive into the cuisine and local bars. I don’t ever really hit the clubs when I travel because I lose so much of the next day sleeping. I’d much rather wake up super early and enjoy the day by doing as much as humanly possible until I can’t move and then rent a movie and pass out.”
With such a voracious appetite for travel, we wanted to ask about Alexander’s roots. With Cuban and Spanish lineage, he must find it hard to stay away from these cultural hotspots, surely?
“Yes! I have been to Cuba once and am going back soon, but Spain I have been to at least 20 times! I love it there. I really feel a sense of home when I’m in Spain, for some reason. There’s just a natural warmth that I don’t experience in a lot of places. I love the culture, the food and the way of life. I try to never double up on spots but sometimes I do. If I had to name a specific repeat destination, I have been to Barcelona a lot”
We got the feeling that Spain is really close to Alexander’s heart and given how Mediterranean in spirit a lot of his pieces are, we wondered if there has been a particularly significant travel experience connected to Spain. If you take a look at his portfolio, we think you’ll get the Spanish vibes in some of his key pieces too and, as expected, Spain has left a very special imprint,
“My trip to the Camino de Santiago was very special. I walked from France to the other end of Spain, during a 2- day adventure. I can honestly say that it was the best experience of my life.”
As the interview began to trail off to a natural end, we wanted one final dose of inspiration from our newfound travel and art guru, so asked Alexander what he considers to be his travel must-haves,
“A camera, phone charger, good walking or running shoes, t-shirt and jeans. With this simple kit, I can travel the world (well, I may add a jacket too, just in case!). The really crucial thing is to always travel with some kind of camera. Personally, I like to capture everything and when I get home later, I analyse all my pictures and begin my brainstorming process to paint!”
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