Salvador Dali, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Mick Jagger are just a few of the incredible people Martin Frias had the pleasure of working with during his career. Martin Frias is a legendary photographer and artist who resides in Barcelona, where he has his studio.
In the 70's, Frias founded the Spanish rock magazine, Popular 1. Most of his photography is centered in the world of rock music. His work spans the 70’s to present day with photos of rock icons like Freddy Mercury, Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Ozzy Osborne, David Bowie, among others.
Martin Frias is a commanding presence in the Barcelona art and culture scene, where he became an insider taking amazingly crafted photos of his famous friends. In the early years, he established a friendship and professional collaboration with Salvador Dali.
As a close friend of Dali, Frias captured the artist in unique and whimsical settings. For eight years from 1994 to 2002, Martin served in the Royal Artistic Circle of Barcelona as Art Director and member of the Governing Board. Frias exhibits regularly throughout Europe with current and is a force in the European art world. He is also a masterful painter with rich, colorful oil paintings. His vibrant works encompass dance, performance and life in Spain, Cuba, Russia.
Martin Frias loves Charlotte and has visited our gallery twice from Barcelona! This week I talked to Martin Frias about his artwork, career and daily life. Check out our interview below to get to know Martin!
1. When did you first discover your love for art? What was your first painting?
I painted my first oil artwork at 12 years old. Before that, I drew everywhere, including my school and house.
2. How has your art changed throughout your life?
For my entire life, I've had an amazing tendency to plastic images. But I also study a lot of new disciplines like engineering and architecture. I love Techologym and work hard to understand other ways of communication. I am also doing programming and electronic matter combined with painture, sculpture and photographs. At 17 years old, I received my first commission for a large antic Venus. I did it in escayole and it was around 2 meters.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up around 7am and work on two or three artworks in my studio after drinking coffee. After lunch and a small siesta, I go back to my studio. In the afternoons, I enjoy going out to walk and bicycle.
4. What is your biggest inspiration for your pieces?
I work with bodies, particularly studying movement and portraits. I also like abstraction because I use it in the backgrounds of realistic artworks.
5. What should people know about you before buying one of your pieces?
This is also a mystery for me. I paint for me and never for the market. I exhibit in Europe, Russia & USA and the buyers are so different. In the USA buyers like more realism, and in Europe they like more abstractions.
6. I bet you have some great stories about Salvador Dali. What are your favorite memories with him?
Salvador Dali takes a long time to explain. He was a really genius and I collaborated with him for four years. He appreciated my photography and commissioned me for additional artworks, specifically The Christ series. I had permission to enter in his house-studio, even if he wasn’t inside. A real privilege. He introduced me to some great great rock stars friends, like Freddie Mercury, David Bowie Lou Reed... he really liked rock. On one occasion, he introduced an Alice Cooper album.
7. Tell us the story of creating Popular 1. What are your favorite memories with the magazine?
Popular 1 is 47 years old and is the second oldest musical magazine in the world.
I released the magazine the same year of introducing Dali.
I was taking pictures of the most important music stars in Spain and the world. I used my exclusive contacts with the stars during the first 20 years. After that, I was only doing paintures and photos for my collection.
9. What are your favorite books or movies about the art world?
My favorite writers are John Irving, Paul Auster, Sandor Marai & Irene Némirovsky. The films I recommend are Heart Beat & The Sheltering Sky, The Godfather’s films, Bergman and Fellini’s films, Luchino Visconti...
10. What is next for you and your art?
I plan to continue following my art innovation works, out of commercial movements and tendencies.