Spanish artist Ricardo Cavolo, now situated in Brighton, UK, is currently in Montreal showcasing his latest collection Gol, Carajo! at Station 16 Art Gallery. The collection is inspired by the awesome game of football, or as we uncultured Westerners refer to it, soccer. The collection is bright, imaginative and incredibly vivid, with some clear inspirations rooted in tattoo culture and classic Spanish art styles.
Gol, Carajo! doesn’t quite translate to English, but, according to Cavolo, it’s a Spanish celebratory saying meaning something along the lines of “fucking goal.” Of this collection, Cavolo says, “It is one of my dreams as an artist.” The life-long artist, whose father is also an artist, loves football and describes the universe surrounding the beautiful game as “one of the most passionate.” For Cavolo, being able to combine two of his favourite things in the world, art and football, is truly a unique and amazing experience that usually is just not done. Very rarely is the relationship between art and sport explored at all, but Cavolo certainly does this with Gol, Carajo!.
Cavolo’s art is definitely one-of-a-kind. He mostly does portraits, but with a unique spin on them. The faces in his portraits are often covered in tattoo-like imagery, but upon closer inspection, one can see that these “tattoos” are a narrative of the subjects’ life. “For me, tattoos are like a biography,” says Cavolo. His work offers not only a visually stunning pieces, but complex stories. It takes more than just a few minutes to be able to “read” and grasp his portraits; one really needs to carefully look at all aspects of Cavolo’s artwork in order to completely appreciate it. Gol, Carajo! is no exception to his usual portrait style, though his mediums are different. He usually does watercolour and ink-based work in studio, but in this collection, Cavolo used acrylic paint on mostly found objects, such as windows, doors and even footballs (again, think soccer balls). The results are beautifully non-traditional, especially those using the windows. The windows frame the artwork in an interesting way and the old, tarnished glass of the windows is perfectly imperfect.
Gol, Carajo! was brought to Montreal with the help of Station 16, of course, but also with the help of Burgundy Lion owner Paul Desbaillets, who met Cavolo last time he was in town. Desbaillets is also an avid soccer fan and the two bonded over a “ten-minute conversation about football with lots of alcohol.” Being a traditional English pub, Desbaillets says, “Football is integral to our business.” Desbaillets, like Cavolo, was eager to explore and connect the worlds of art and sport as they are two major parts of culture, especially in a city like Montreal. With this collection, many different aspects of culture are being explored, especially when you consider the fact that Cavolo has even designed limited-edition football scarves, t-shirts and sweaters, which will be available at both Station 16 and Burgundy Lion while quantities last. Gol, Carajo! is therefore mixing not only with worlds of art and sport, but also those of fashion and pubs. “This is really about mixing cultures together. They don’t have to be separate. That is key. Culture always blends together.”
I urge you, whether you are an art fan, a sports fan, a fashion fan or even a pub fan, to check the collection out. It is so rare that these worlds come together to create something so beautiful and unique. This collection truly has something for everyone.
Gol, Carajo! will be showcased at Station 16 (3523 St Laurent) from October 22 to November 5. Whether or not you are a football fan, Cavolo’s art will speak to you on many levels. Pictures were taken by Magali Crevier. You can see all of her work on Montreal Rampage HERE.