07 March 2018

/ Travel Like an Artist: Juan Castro Explores the Blue Landscapes of Spain & Morocco /

Travel is such an important part of many of our artists lives, serving as a time to recuperate & reflect, to push creative boundaries and serve as inspiration for new & existing designs.

Juan Castro took a trip last year back to his homeland, Spain, and explored Morocco whilst there. He shared with us some incredible images that explain why this part of the world is so special to him.

La Mar, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Since I was a child, blue has always been my favourite colour, and I had never wondered why. But the first time I returned home to the islands from the mainland, the colour and smell of the Atlantic Ocean reminded me of where I belong. The deep, intense blue turns into the most beautiful turquoise and then into a vivid white, just for a second, before turning back to the deepest blue. I can spend hours trying to capture the delicate and ephemeral shade of blue.

Cueva de los Verdes, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Inside the belly of this volcano, a series of galleries create an organic maze. The shape of the dried lava, the colours of the minerals and the water filtered through the breathing rocks creates a mirage. A few centimeters of still water reflects the organic dome that is the ceiling of the gallery, transforming it into a perfect symmetrical cliff.

El Palmeral, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
The oriental island of the archipelago is also most similar to the Sahara Desert. The lunar landscape formed by raw lava spilt over the entire island, the black sand that fuses into the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean, and the pure white, minimal architecture make this island a treasure and an inspirational place.

Little Abdul, Chefchaouen, Morocco
Little Abdul runs each morning after his Quran lesson to his grandfather's workshop. He is the youngest generation of a long family line of orfebres (metalsmiths) and jewellers. The craftsmanship, knowledge, traditional techniques and simple tools make me think of how much I still have to learn and achieve, and how lucky I am to be part of a craft that is one of the oldest and richest in knowledge.

Chefchaouen, Morocco
This little town, hidden in the mountains, maintains the centuries-old tradition of painting the city blue - a tradition brought by the Jewish community who escaped from the Al'andalus (the old Muslim south of Spain). Some say that the Berber population kept the blue colour to avoid the mosquito plague - the blue is said to resemble clear water and repel mosquitos. The light blue nestled among the brown and ochre mountains makes you feel as though you just found a gemstone in the middle of the desert.