Not just a graffitist, Tom14’s concern lies with the rights of the street, and the public voice. His motive is to reclaim streets from investors of tactless, profit-generating urban planning projects which haven’t improved the living situation for local people. He questions the way authorities seem to put tourists’ needs first in the city, making it feel as though street-life is not for locals anymore.
Street artists have a rough time, often considered vandals and being forced to face legal problems. This doesn’t stop Tom14 from wanting to get his message across, it only enforces his desire to find justice, and claim what belongs to the public, ‘the lust for life’. He poses the question: who should own public space? How can the street be ‘sold’ for advertisements, when it belongs to everyone?
'Poble-Nou vs Speculation'
Intertwined 'hugging' fish: collaboration with Pez in Botego
He responds to the fact that a lot of local neighbourhoods in Barcelona are being cleared to create modern, cold boulevards and ‘cleaner public spaces’. This can destroy the identity of old areas, by tearing down history to build something ‘better’ just in the favour of property speculation, with no sensitivity to the areas’ original characters. Tom14 steps in here, at the call of residents, and reinforces the local voice. He sees it as his duty to transmit these voices through the power of language, be it vocally, visually or musically.
He criticises how some street ‘art’ is a selfish act of spilling out your own message on the street and leaving it there, which is what could be considered meaningless vandalism, as opposed to his own intended approach to create murals for the residents of the areas he works in. He loves inciting reactions from people and feeling connected with them.
Love in Marrakesh
He has also been involved with some interior art projects, including work on visual and theatrical shows and interior design (Les Petits Pleisirs Cafe and Glamour Hairdressers, above, both in Barcelona).
Amor Exhibition, Buenos Aires
His drawings and paintings have been exhibited in galleries around the world, sometimes as part of collaborative collections with artists he’s previously worked with.
Concrete Secrets exhibition, Berlin
One of the ARTBOXES of the Etika ARTBOX contest will be designed and decorated by Tom14, at the Barcelona Contemporary Art Fair this May.
Tom14 maintains an optimistic approach while transmitting his message. His art celebrates urban life with vibrant colours and an iconography that reveals his Latin American origins.