LOST IN THE CITY
Interview by Javier Melian www.chrom-art.org co-founder for www.thepalettepages.com
Roman Lokati studied applied Arts in Cadiz, Spain, and continued in UK at the London College of Communication where he studied surface design, textiles, and ceramics. He joined a ceramics studio and started doing figurative work. The ‘Travellers’ series started when he moved to London and begun going backwards and forwards between UK and Spain. “It’s also an internal journey of self discovery” he confesses. Travellers started in 2009 after completing a print course. He explored different techniques like linocut or dry point. From two dimension he moved to a tridimensional space, making iron sculptures. This is how he found his own narrative, his own language to communicate with a global public that can only understand too well where he is coming from.
His artistic journey started in 89 when he was selected by his province, Cadiz, to take part in an important local art festival. The organisers bought all his
works that are now part of the Province of Cadiz contemporary art collection. In 93 he was reselected for the same exhibition. In the London jungle he found the energy he thrives
on as Roman is such a hyperactive person. Ever since he has not stopped:
2011 – A residency at the prominent Pantocrator Gallery in Berlin, that also has branches in Barcelona and Shanghai.
2012 – Royal Academy selected him for the Summer exhibition. He showed a selection of prints and sold the complete 8 piece series.
2013 – A solo exhibition at ‘Saint Martins-in-the-Field’, Trafalgar Square. It was called ‘Lost in the City’ of vagabonds, solitary people and passers by.
2014, March – Showed at the Mall Gallery in an exhibition organised by the Royal Society of British Artists. He presented a well received selection of four sculptures.
His series of people searching in rubbish bins came as a sort of protest to the situation in Spain, where the Sevilla City Hall now imposes 750 euro fines for people rummaging through rubbish which for him it’s the ultimate contradiction; “These are the sad signs of civilisation and post modernism”.
Now In Rota his hometown, a set of seventeen 6 feet tall iron figures are being prepared to be installed in a prominent roundabout as welcome and tribute to visitors and travellers. “My sculptures show people from the back, absent, everyone is minding their own business. The kind of people who you find in big cities like New York, London or Berlin. Big crowds where everyone is alone. All of us carry baggage in a metaphoric way. The metropolis erases you, transforms you through a process of imitation to others and role playing. I can play artist, then tourist, then local all in one day”
The contour sculptures of Roman Lokati have captured my imagination. The contrast of bright colours and dim spirits. They evoke traffic signs and safety instructions, but instead of commanding action they prompt reflection. I hope one day we all find ourselves, in the city, or wherever the road takes us.
Self-taught or art school?
I went to Art School in Cadiz, and later I continued my studies at the London College of Communication.
How would you describe your style?
My work shows an attempt to link communication, body language and expression in order to explore the relationships between people who are in apparent isolation throughout their daily
lives.Drawing represents a very important part of my work, although I make use of varied media –drawing, watercolours, oil, and acrylic. I use drypoint and linocut printmaking techniques to
create original artwork, as these two media develop very quickly and produce an excellent result, as well as adding a very expressive line to my creative work.
What are your favourite places to view art?
Tate Britain, White Cube Gallery and Serpentine Gallery.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
Hopper, Hockney and Keith Haring, from Hopper I like his images of solitude. From Hockney I like his pop images, but
he also reflects loneliness very much in his series of portraits in the pools. From Haring I like his freshness and his commitment to
What or who inspires your art?
In the last six years I’ve been really interested by the characters of the street, subway and train stations. I am interested in the people coming in and out of this city, I wonder where do they go.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
My studio is in the crypt of a church near Waterloo station. I started volunteering there and then I stayed as part of the teaching team working in a small school of mosaics. This a magical and very special space.
Do you have any studio rituals?
I like to work alone with classical music, I need to mellow my energy when I work.
What are you working on currently?
Now I’m working on a series of sculptures inspired by people who live and sleep on the streets, looking for garbage.
Where can we buy your art?
You can buy it on my Facebook page.
What are your ambitions?
To be a better person and to live form my work.