Art always finds its ways – Carles Gomila, the man behind the “Quarantine” art project

by Madalina Dragos

Carles Gomila is a well-known Spanish painter who explores the world using art as a vehicle, driven by his intuition in search of wisdom and who values ​​at their true quality all the emotions that can shape us in this journey called life!

His lucid dreams influence his visions of art and present to the viewers what the superconscious emphasizes during sleep. Carles’s works of art are like steps taken between conscious and unconscious, dynamism through which the artist discovers uncharted mental pathways that ultimately represents his uniqueness!

Carles shares with us from his experience what he thinks about art:

Q: You are a painter and also an illustrator, how do you see the relationship between traditional art and digital one ?! ( how do you see them in the future of art?)


Even though my initial goal was to become an illustrator, I’ve mainly worked as a painter since my twenties. I occasionally accept illustration gigs out of love for the craft, but my creative process leans more towards traditional art. It’s not out of nostalgia, but a conceptual choice. I appreciate digital painting and stay tech-savvy, though its endless possibilities can sometimes overwhelm me. I stick to traditional methods because each decision I make on a piece is unique and irrevocable.

In painting, every action leaves a mark and there’s no undo button. I’m drawn to choices that have real consequences, where messing up comes with a high cost. To me, art should involve risk and commitment to convey genuine emotions, something that digital painting can sometimes water down.

When it comes to the future, it’d be presumptuous to say I know what’s coming. It’s clear that advances in AI will greatly impact visual industries. What can be automated, probably will be, reducing the need for experienced artists for certain tasks. But I believe traditional painting will weather these changes, and AI could even extend what we can accomplish with it.

However, let’s remember that many of life’s most important things aren’t logical: dreams, art, emotions, feelings, love, hate, hope, honor, distress. None of these aspects can be technified. Yet, we often try to analyze dreams, interpret art, manage emotions, regulate feelings, plan love, censor hate, mock hope, demystify honor, and medicate distress. When did we forget that life isn’t a project? Is there a cure?

Perhaps the remedy lies in resisting the urge to control and optimize in areas where it doesn’t belong, and pushing back against the pressure for productivity and quantifiable profits.

For me, art has irrational, intuitive, irreplaceable, and unique roots, while being universal at the same time. As long as we keep that flame alive, it doesn’t matter what technical advances may turn things upside down. Art will endure.

Beauty will safe the World by Carles Gomila

Q: I know you have a cat, if you could talk/understand animals what would they be and why?


Aha; meet Judy Garland: a senior, defiant, proud, and dramatic cat. We’re pretty much joined at the hip.

I’ve always had a special bond with cats. From my experience, I can confidently say I have a unique connection with them – it’s almost as if I speak their language. They may not use words or arguments, but I can communicate with them through touch and emotion in a non-verbal way.

Living with cats has taught me some valuable lessons. One of them is that emotions aren’t measured by categories, but by intensity. A cat can express intense emotions, be it love or anger, simultaneously and without contradiction. It’s not that they’re inconsistent, but rather, we humans tend to fragment feelings into so many classifications that we lose their essence. A cat can express affection through a bite or a lick. Understanding that emotions should be viewed as pure intensity, instead of categories, gives us a fresh perspective to understand what we consider human contradictions, without clumsily judging them.

Also, cats have taught me how to deal with impostor syndrome. A cat never doubts itself; it always sees itself as the best cat it can be. When I’m working alone in my studio, I try to adopt this feline mindset, even if it’s just for a moment. I believe that I’m the best artist I can be, and it’s in that fleeting state of mind where I can produce my best work.

In essence, I identify strongly as a cat. Now, back to your question about what I’d ask animals if I could openly communicate with them, my question would be, “If instinct is the answer, what’s the question?”

Q: What is your main subject for painting and why?


My art is a transcription of my deepest dreams and concerns – and I’m talking literally about my night dreams, the ones stirred up by reading that scrambles my thoughts. My painting might not be top-notch, but it’s authentic and soaked in my dream world.

I live in a world I don’t fully need to understand; my mission is to explore it through art, sparking more questions than answers. Actually, answers are less intriguing to me. In my view, art thrives on its problems and fades with its solutions.

My creative process is steered by fear. If I’m scared to paint something, that’s exactly what I decide to paint; fear is a powerful compass that points my way.

As for my themes, the female figure has been a recurring focus in my work over recent years. I’m not entirely sure why, but women command and headline the events in my dreams in a way I can’t ignore. The women in my paintings are strong, free, and carry a creative and destructive energy as powerful as a beautiful storm. It seems the feminine channels my emotions in a way the masculine can’t – perhaps because I’m a man.

I am the Compass by Carles Gomila

Q: What is your favourite colour and why?


Choosing a favourite colour isn’t straightforward for me. I see the power and authority of colours in their context, not in isolation. However, if I think about human emotions, blood red holds an overwhelming, untamable strength. The vibrant hue of blood is the colour that impresses and attracts me most with its intensity, persistence, and captivating influence. Yes, the colour of fresh blood is the wavelength that hits me the hardest.

Q: Which artist (at any time on the art axis) is your idol and why?


Interestingly, most of my idols don’t come from the world of painting. The list is extensive and includes notable figures like Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Jorge Luis Borges, Seneca, H.P. Lovecraft, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Ernesto Sábato, and N.N. Taleb, among others. Their works have left a deep imprint on me.

When it comes to painting, I can’t help but admire Velázquez. Although my style isn’t directly influenced by him – he was an optical painter and I never work from life – his painting is overwhelming. Every time I visit the Prado Museum, his Christ moves me to tears. It seems to have been painted with living flesh, not oil, and that greatly impresses me. His painting doesn’t represent reality, it’s a metaphor for reality.

I wish I could paint with that intensity and conviction.

Q: What inspires you in your creative process?


My creative process takes root in dreams. From there, I seek out complementary emotions from diverse sources – be it movies, comics, literature, or photography. When I find an emotion that resonates with my dream, I link it to a specific form. I gather all these scattered references, print them out, and start painting with minimal planning, keeping them all in mind without prioritising any one in particular.

Reading is my main source of inspiration. A good book always offers fresh and unexpected perspectives that I’m eager to explore. I tend to read at night, and what I read often seeps into my dreams, permeating both my conscious and subconscious.

In my work, I strive to incorporate chaos and randomness in a constructive way. One example of how I do this is a technique that has changed my life and thinking. I recommend it to everyone, although I know no one will… You see, throughout the year, I jot down six things that I dislike, disagree with, find uncomfortable, or simply consider ridiculous. At the end of the year, I roll a dice and force myself to learn all I can about the topic corresponding to the rolled number. This technique has allowed me to discover new perspectives, broaden my mind and spirit in surprising ways, and shatter my biases.

Another technique I use is bibliomancy. Using dice, I randomly select a book from my library, then a page, and finally a line. No matter how trivial that line of text may seem, I force myself to reflect on it for at least an hour. I assure you, even the most mundane line of text can be a fantastic excuse to explore uncharted mental pathways.

The Antiquarian’s Daughter by Carles Gomila

Q: Do you remember your first drawing?


While I don’t recall my very first drawing, I do remember the themes I used to sketch. Monsters, dragons, and colossal beasts utterly fascinated me. Tiny men locked in battles

with gigantic, mythical creatures dominated my early creations.

Q: How would you describe your painting style?


I’ve always struggled to pin down my style. To me, style isn’t something you own; it’s more like a reflection of your ever-changing mindset.

Basically, my painting is just… me.

So, to sum it up: my art is nocturnal.

Q: What do you think about mathematics? (Do you like it?)


Mathematics can be seen as the blueprint of the universe, but personally, I don’t experience them that way. Regrettably, I struggle to grasp them; it’s as though I have a sort of mathematical impairment. It’s not an exaggeration; I simply feel incapable. I view numbers through a synesthetic lens, associating them with specific colors, smells, tastes, and palpable, vivid textures, rather than as abstract concepts. While my synesthesia has proven incredibly useful in most aspects of my life, it seems not to benefit me in the realm of math.

I deeply admire mathematics and have tried to see the world through Luca Pacioli’s eyes. I studied Greek art and thought to grasp irrational numbers from their roots and even started a doctoral thesis on the golden section, but I dropped it to devote myself solely to painting. Nevertheless, I appreciate certain mathematical ideas, considering them beautiful and true insofar as they express beauty. For me, beauty acts like a compass always pointing toward truth.

I wish I could master mathematics, play with it, and enjoy its charm. However, up to now, I’ve found that it’s beyond my reach.

Q: It seems that some of us, I mean artists, struggle more or less to live only from art, what do you think is more difficult nowadays than before to be/exist as an artist?


I don’t think making a living from painting is harder today than before. Actually, I believe it has never been as easy as it is now. There have never been so many resources, channels, supplies, artists and art collectors in history.

But let’s swallow a tough pill: only a few manage to live off their art. This is the same in literature, music, film, even in the business world. Success, in any discipline or field, is asymmetric by nature. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t call it success, but a right. Instead of aspiring to success, people would claim it as something they deserve by birthright.

Sphinx by Carles Gomila

Q: Can you give us any advice on being successful in the art market?


I may not be the best guide for success in the art world. I’ve never been a top seller, and I’ve had my share of tough times in the industry. My advice, however, is simple and straightforward: hone your talent and strive for excellence. With that mindset, the market usually tilts in your favor.

I could give you a list of do’s and don’ts, but honestly, I’m not sure it’d be worthwhile. I’ve witnessed average-talented artists following all the “rules,” doing everything by the book, yet failing to stand out. In contrast, I’ve seen supremely gifted artists breaking all the established norms, yet they’re in higher demand than they can handle.

What’s crucial, in my view, is developing a unique and compelling talent. If you’ve got that, you can achieve financial stability, even if you lack professionalism. Your blunders, a disastrous website, or lack of social skills… all these can be forgiven if you’re really good at what you do. That’s what truly counts. Only the mediocre rigidly follow the rules of the art market.

I wouldn’t advise trying to live off art unless you’re genuinely obsessed with painting. So obsessed that, even without making money, you’d still create with the same energy and passion because it’s a vital need, not an economic one. If you have that unyielding, incorruptible spirit, then yes, you’re ready to make a living from your art. Even if you’re a mess and make mistakes now and then, you’ll always survive because the world craves true artists.

Q: What do you mean with average-talented artists/supremely gifted artists ?!


Mastering drawing and painting techniques is mostly about discipline, dedication, having good teachers, and commitment. While some people may naturally lean towards these skills, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whether you learned it easily or through toil and sweat.

However, it’s crucial to understand that talent doesn’t boil down to only technical skill or virtuosity. Real talent lies in the ability to convey emotions, irrespective of whether you have superior technical mastery or not. Ultimately, talent dwells in the artist’s intangible human essence, not in the perfection of the medium they’ve chosen to express their worth.

For me, equating talent with technical ability is like confusing time with clocks. We may not fully understand what time is, or even if it exists, but we know how to build clocks.

Truly gifted artists are not necessarily those who excel technically, although often these two go hand in hand. We should also question what it means to be “good” technically, as it’s often conflated with adherence to a normative system that doesn’t necessarily contribute to conveying emotions. This system hails from 19th-century French academies, but now we’re in the 21st century. Maybe this normative system is no longer the most suitable criterion to determine who’s a good artist today. Instead, perhaps the criteria are more narrative and emotional.

Q: What does that mean to you, the same as average and supremely talented artists?!


I don’t believe there are two kinds of artists, like real or fake. All artists carry within them this duality, waging a daily battle in their studios. A genuine artist is not one who necessarily seeks applause or validation from a grading system, but rather channels their emotions in a way that’s unique and yet universal, managing to connect their singularity with the collective imagination of many people.

On the other hand, all artists can fall into the trap of falsehood, attempting to mimic the successes of others in hopes of replicating their accomplishments. This can be driven by the desire for external validation, money, fame, among other things.

So, instead of thinking about this dichotomy of “real” versus “fake” artists, I view these terms more as ways to understand two powerful forces that affect us: genuine passion and end-goal pragmatism. It’s important to remember that, as artists, we must accept that the world is not simply divided into black and white, but is composed of infinite shades of grey.

Q: What can you tell us about vanity galleries?


Vanity Galleries: What’s the Real Deal?

Art galleries typically sell artworks and earn commissions from those sales. But then, there’s a twist in the tale with Vanity Galleries. They kind of capitalize on the hopes of newbie artists, charging them to showcase their art, especially when these artists get the cold shoulder from more legit galleries.

Now, here’s the thing: these galleries aren’t really into selling art. Their main gig? Charging artists to put up their work. It’s easy to get hooked by the promise, especially when you’re craving a break. And before you know it, you’re shelling out thousands just for some wall space. Sounds a bit off, right?

Truth bomb: these places thrive by tapping into artists hungry for recognition. And let’s get real – no serious collector’s going to buy art from a place where artists pay to hang it. 

A couple of straight-up tips for artists out there:

1. Don’t pay to play. Put your money into learning and growth.

2. Trust your gut. If a gallery’s all over you from the get-go, chances are they might be more into your wallet than your art.

Q: I know that Menorca has been declared a world biosphere reserve by Unesco and I can say that it is an incredibly beautiful island with extraordinary colors- How do you see it?


I was born and raised in Menorca, a place I call home and hold dear. Here, in the historic center of Ciutadella, I’m surrounded by family and friends. Despite being a small island with its limitations, the quality of life here is undeniable. That’s what I believe to be its greatest strength.

Certainly, Menorca is known for its beauty, but like any tourist destination, it also faces challenges. Even though it’s better preserved than many Mediterranean places I’ve visited, there’s still much to do in terms of balancing the conservation of our natural environment with economic development. Also, we’re beginning to feel the effects of gentrification.

My view of Menorca might differ from the image sold to the world. For instance, I avoid the beaches during summer and prefer visiting them in the evenings or during winter, when they’re more serene. To me, that’s the true essence of Menorca, not the commercialized image.

However, I am observing an interesting shift in Menorca we didn’t expect: it’s emerging as a cultural destination, beyond its fame for sun and beach. This development is genuine progress that I believe we can encourage, and I feel comfortable contributing to it. This approach allows me to add value to my community in a way that I find rewarding.

Q: How did you come up with the idea of ​​Quarantine on the island of Lazaretto?


In 2016, I discovered the magical Lazaretto Island, an unpolished diamond not yet open to the public. It was then when I founded Menorca Pulsar, a respected art retreat where we organized painting workshops. However, I noticed that many participants aimed to replicate the style of other artists rather than unleash their own creativity. True creativity is not about imitation, but about generating and materializing your own ideas. This observation led me to develop more innovative programs that diverged from conventional art tourism.

Drawing inspiration from my experiences with lucid dreaming, I conceived the Quarantine project, a sort of refuge for artists on Lazaretto. The purpose of this project was to challenge the traditional creative process and cultivate a space of camaraderie and self-discovery, distant from art consumerism.

Although I initially faced resistance and skepticism, I persisted. I planned to launch Quarantine in April 2020, but, in a cruel irony, the global pandemic postponed its inception until 2023. The Quarantine project was cancelled by a real quarantine.

Against all odds, Quarantine turned out to be a success. One hundred artists from all over the world, guided by six mentors, on a remote island: what could go wrong? But the outcome was a resounding triumph. We demonstrated that, like a work-in-progress painting, art always finds its way.

Now, Quarantine is not just my dream, but that of a hundred artists who have shared this incredible experience with me. Though it might seem like a lucid dream, it’s a reality I long to return to.

Q: If you think back to those days, what would be the top three things you liked/didn’t like about Quarantine?


On the island, I was deeply moved by the potent emotional connection among all of us. Also, I was greatly impressed by the masters’ authentic and unprecedented commitment; they far surpassed the conventional expectations of “doing their job”. It was fascinating and slightly unsettling to see how many of the island’s events precisely mirrored dreams I had years ago.

However, there were also aspects I disliked. I regretted not being able to fully participate in the program as one of the attendees, and I would have liked to have more time to interact with everyone. Moreover, I had to deal with logistical issues that were quite challenging.

Q: Why are phones banned in Quarantine?


I decided to ban mobile phones for several significant reasons. In my previous Menorca Pulsar art retreats, I noticed many participants were constantly trying to record every moment with their phones, which hindered them from directly experiencing and learning from the situation. They were more focused on capturing good angles than on the task at hand. Quarantine is an evolution of what I valued about Menorca Pulsar, but also a removal of what I did not appreciate, and the distraction of mobile phones definitely fell into the latter category.

Secondly, Quarantine is not a conventional academic program, but one with an emotional framework. To really get participants to rethink their ways of seeing and doing things, we need an environment that pulls them out of their comfort zone. Restricting mobile phones helps create a necessary sense of isolation for this process and induces an altered state of consciousness resulting from technological abstinence.

Banning mobiles, though it might seem extreme, has a very positive impact. It frees participants from the constant flow of information, allowing them to truly focus on their present. This approach also stimulates the use of our memory as the primary means to record experiences, which sharpens our attention and makes us more receptive.

Paradoxically, disconnecting allows us to connect more deeply and intensely with our experiences and with others.

Q: What did you learn from the “Quarantine” experience?


This question holds significant importance for me. In Quarantine, I learned to appreciate and trust the value of intuition.

From our childhood, we’re taught to use logic and reason as the sole validators of ideas. For a long time, I subscribed to this belief too. However, as I incorporated chance and chaos-based techniques into my creative process, I started discovering new possibilities. It forced me to explore concepts that initially repulsed me. In doing so, I managed to free myself from the rigidity of rational thinking, learning to trust my intuition and appreciate emotions as guides for idea validation, regardless of their apparent plausibility.

The Quarantine project was born from the interpretation of my dreams, guided by my intuition and emotions such as fear, connection, and fascination. From a rational perspective, everything pointed to it being a bad idea, and I encountered many sensible and perfectly rational voices warning me about its risks. However, I decided to place a vote of confidence in my intuition, recognizing it as a tool as powerful as reason. Despite fear and naysayers, I went ahead.

In short, I learned an invaluable lesson: intuition is a powerful force that deserves my trust. This lesson, empirically confirmed through my experiences, is undoubtedly one of my most significant learnings.

Q: What was the feedback received from the masters you had in spring Quarantine?


The objective to transform the participants was achieved, but it went beyond that, impacting even the masters and the organizers. We didn’t expect this. Something happens on this island, where the silence of its walls, the intensity of the work, technological abstinence, and immersion in a community of artists free from academic expectations creates an altered state of consciousness.

An unknown fact is that three of the masters offered to participate in Quarantine without expecting any compensation. Although we paid them, their willingness to participate beyond financial retribution was surprising.

Therefore, the best possible feedback we got from the masters is that they were as excited to come to Lazaretto as their students. This unexpected outcome is genuinely wonderful.

Q: What would you write to a young (old) person if you had to write a short message?


Regarding what I would advise someone, whether young or old, I must admit I’m not the best at giving advice. My opinions and perspectives frequently change, which makes the consistency of my speech challenging. However, at this moment, I would encourage everyone, regardless of their age, to make decisions based on the observation of their emotions.

It’s not about blindly following our emotions without any criteria or reflection, but observing them like one watches a passing cloud and making decisions based on that observation.

Q: What is your biggest dream? ( or should I say pleasant)


As a true stoic, my expectations are often moderate to avoid disappointments. Like a ship content with the tranquility of its harbor, I don’t yearn for lengthy voyages. I find myself satisfied with my current situation.

However, if I’m allowed to dream a little, my most ambitious dream would be to stumble upon indisputable proof of the existence of miracles. Such a finding would illuminate the world in all its facets and dispel the shadows of nihilism that lurk in our time.

 Carles Gomila had many art individual or group exhibitions like:

2022-Creature-Vidrart Gallery.Ciutadela de Menorca,Spain

2022-Do you fit in?-Travelling exhibition in Menorca,Spain

2015-Affordable Art Fair.Battersea,London,United Kingdom

2023-Guiem Soldevila-Cover of the album “Intimari”, Spain

2018-Donation of original for Joventuts Musicals de Maó-Maó,Spain

More about Carles’s exhibitons and art awards you can find at the next link:

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