Spanish Illustrators: The Color of Optimism

  • Visual arts
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Thu, April 21 —
    Sun, June 26, 2016
Spanish Illustrators: The Color of Optimism

An exhibition on a young generation of Spanish illustrators who represent a global reference for their creativity.

Drawing on a strong tradition, the art of Illustration is currently thriving in Spain. In the early 2000’s, a group of groundbreaking illustrators emerged and began a major international expansion. Originality, professionalism, and diversity of styles are some of the words that define this generation.

Spanish Illustrators: The Color of Optimism will show outstanding works of contemporary illustrators in Spain that are creating new trends. Curated by journalist Mario Suárez, the exhibition features a generation of talented creators who frequently contribute to national and international publications, galleries, museums, and popular brands.

Suárez has selected 28 wonderful artists in great demand internationally such as Paula Bonet, Paco Roca, Gabriel Moreno, Silvia Prada, Carla Fuentes, and Ricardo Cavolo, who are behind Spain’s boom in Illustration, a hybrid and versatile genre well adapted to our current times.

This collective exhibition, that has successfully toured cities like Rome, Frankfurt, and Berlin, confirms the growing interest in both Spanish culture and the art of illustration.

Special events

A series of special events will be organized in conjunction with Spanish Illustrators: The Color of Optimism.

Closing Night Spanish Illustrators

  • On Tuesday, June 21 at 7 pm.
  • At the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. Free, RSVP required. First-come, first-served.

Enjoy the exhibtion Spanish Illustrators: The Color of Optimism in a very special and unique way. Join us for the closing night party with the awarded film Chico & Rita and the charming music of Pavel Urkiza.

Chico & Rita. Directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando, Spain, 2010, 94 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Cuba, 1948. Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment. From Havana to New York, Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas, two passionate individuals battle impossible odds to unite in music and love.

Pavel Urkiza is a Cuban/Spaniard musician, composer, producer, and arranger of great sensitivity and connection to world musical cultures. Recognized as a master musician for his contributions to contemporary Afro-cuban music he is considered one of Cuba’s most skilled and innovative composers and performers. His music is intimately rooted in traditional Cuban rhythms and melodies yet is distinguished by his own personal rhythmic style flavored by the Afro-Cuban, folk, jazz, flamenco, as well as Brazilian, Afro-beat, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Oriental and Indian rhythms.

Live Mural Painting by Carla Fuentes

  • From Thursday, June 2 through Sunday, June 5, during gallery opening hours, from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • At the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. Free admission. Space is limited.

Internationally admired illustrator Carla Fuentes will be performing a live mural painting. Freelance illustrator and drawer since 2007, Carla’s style is full of personality and representation of human loneliness. She defines it as “linear, clean, with light touches of color and far from representing reality.” Carla has worked for international magazines and Spanish indie music groups such as Russian Red, La Habitación Roja, and Polock.

Live Mural Painting by Ricardo Cavolo

  • On Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23, during gallery opening hours, from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • At the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. Free admission. Space is limited.

Renowned illustrator Ricardo Cavolo, whose work is featured in the exhibition, will be performing a live mural painting. Cavolo’s career path changed when Cirque du Soleil chose him to reinterpret the poster of one of their shows. Since then, Cavolo has become one of the most acclaimed illustrators in Europe’s underground culture. He uses color, stories, and a unique style to mix tribal tattoos and magical realism.

Inaugural Lecture

  • On Saturday, April 23 at 12 pm.
  • At the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. Free admission. Space is limited, RSVP required.

Mario Suárez, journalist and curator of the exhibition, and José Villarrubia, illustrator, comic colorist, and chair of the illustration department at Maryland Institute College of Art, will discuss the state of Spanish Illustration today: its internationalization, celebrated creators, trends, and publishing industry.


Venue map

Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain, 2801 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009


Free. Visiting hours: Thursday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm; Monday–Wednesday by appointment only. Public opening night on Thursday, April 21, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm; RSVP required.


Presented by SPAIN arts & culture, with the support of the Embassy of Spain and the Spain-USA Foundation. Organized by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). Technological Partner: Navteca. Image: Vlad, by Ricardo Cavolo.



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