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December 13, 2023


Photography by Seigar
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Meet Seigar, a multifaceted artist based in Tenerife, Spain, who has a passion for exploring the world through his camera lens. With a background in philology and teaching, Seigar brings a unique perspective to his art, infusing it with his fascination for reflections, saturated colors, and icons. But it's not just the visuals that draw him in; Seigar is also deeply interested in pop culture and conceptual art, using his camera to tell stories and capture moments in a new and thought-provoking way.

Seigar's journey as an artist began with travel and street photography, but it has evolved into something much more. He sees himself as a pop visual artist, constantly inspired by his travels and the people he meets along the way. He strives to go beyond simple postcards and instead create a continuous narrative that reflects his experiences and encounters. His camera has become his tool for documenting the world and exploring his obsessions and curiosities.

While Seigar is primarily self-taught, he has also pursued formal education in advanced photography, cinema, and television. He has dabbled in various forms of art, including collage, video, and writing, always pushing himself to learn and experiment. He has exhibited his work in both national and international settings, and his art has been featured in publications around the world. Seigar's work has also caught the attention of publications like Dodho Magazine, and VICE Spain, where he has contributed his passion for supporting art and artists through text.

Recently, Seigar has been exploring the world of video art, using his unique perspective to shed light on important societal issues, from individual freedoms to diversity and equality. His latest passion is documenting social issues related to identity, constantly searching for what makes people who they are. But amidst all of this, Seigar never forgets to embrace the present and seize the day, a message he shares through his captivating travel photo narrative series.

In 2005, Seigar began a long-term project documenting the United Kingdom, a place that holds a special place in his heart both personally and professionally. Through his pop-inspired lens, he aims to capture the essence of British identity and share his connection to the culture. During his recent visit to the UK, Seigar revisited familiar urban locations, capturing his signature fetishes like shop windows, plastic people, food, and abandoned objects. But he was also drawn to the vibrant street art that adorns the city walls, using reflections, repetition, and saturated colors to capture its energy and essence. The result is a collection of photos that radiate a bright and shining light, reflecting Seigar's joy and love for life.

Join us as we delve into Seigar's unique world of pop visual art, exploring his latest series. Through his direct and thought-provoking images, Seigar invites us to see the world through his eyes and experience the beauty and complexity of everyday life.

“‘Tales of a City’ started as a way to portray the British identity, and then, it has become an invitation to live our lives fully and free. It is also a reflection of my ideas and views about the world. I want people to see these photos as my reading of British culture, a heritage that I feel linked emotionally and personally for a million reasons, and as a way to state the world is a beautiful place we should enjoy. This series is a part of my long-term travel and street photographic narrative about the UK, primarily captured in London, a project I initiated in 2005.”

MEET SEIGAR: The Curious Visual Artist Exploring Pop Culture Through His Camera

THE PICTORIAL LIST: Hello Seigar, thank you for the opportunity to discover more insight into your process of creating your visual stories. Welcome to the Pictorial List! Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, and where are you based now? What were some significant choices you made along the way to land on your home base?

Seigar: I feel my hometown is La Palma Island, in the Canary Islands, which is called La Isla Bonita. La Palma is a peaceful, probably the most beautiful island I have ever been to, and the one I have felt more at ease. However, I decided to live in Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz, probably because it’s quite similar to living in La Palma. In Tenerife, we can enjoy the sun the whole year around, good temperatures, the sea, the mountains, villages, traditions, local cuisine, and museums, it offers everything you expect from a paradise. That is how I see Tenerife, a paradise. Though I have visited 53 countries, and I love traveling, I wouldn’t change my residence. I think I can enjoy a quality life that can’t be beaten.

I’ve always been interested in the visual arts since I was a child you could find me having a look at magazines and encyclopedias at home, attracted by the paintings of Dalí, and Frida Kahlo, but also quite fascinated by the lives and looks of celebrities and especially musicians, such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince. I would also be sketching women’s clothing designs in my notebooks and writing stories. This creativity has led me to what I am today. I consider myself, a teacher because I love my job, but also a visual artist, because I have found ways to express myself through different forms. Writing is essential for me because it helps me to complete the concept. Conceptual art is the prism I use to create. I usually join visual art with text, the statement lets me complement the art product.

TPL: Tell us about your background in philology and teaching. How has it contributed to the way you see through the lens? What first drew you to photography, explain the importance of photography in helping develop your narrative in your visual stories.

Seigar: I am very satisfied with the training I received at the University of La Laguna. I debated between linguistics and literature until I ended up dazzled by the methodology and everything it offered me. Being a pragmatic person, I decided that this was the most functional path to specialize in. When I finished my degree in Philology, I dedicated a school year to combining the Doctorate and the Pedagogical Qualification Course. I put into practice what I learned in private classes for children and adolescents. I also worked in academies until I obtained the Diploma of Advanced Studies. I passed the first exams I could take to become a Secondary School teacher. And since then, I have been teaching in secondary schools. I think that the University of La Laguna places us very well academically in the labor market; then, making your way depends on many external factors. My transition from student to worker was quite natural. I work as a high school teacher. I combine this profession with creating visual arts, writing, and collaborating with multiple magazines. Working as a teacher allows me to use the knowledge acquired in methodology and continue learning new strategies daily. There is an essential human factor in everything I do, and especially in a common point that education, arts, and writing unite: communication. I feel that all the tasks I dedicate my time to have that same element. I am interested in the ability to express and understand messages through interaction. I am pro clear and direct expressive speech, and I believe the main reason for communication is to transmit messages. In the classroom, I teach my students to interact with each other through language and other codes. In photography, I try to make the focus of my images clear and make sure people understand what I want them to see. I even wait for their responses in a dialogue, like I did in my series entitled Visual Interaction. When I write, I become personal. I like to research the topic without forgetting my reading.

Concerning my infatuation with photography, I have always been a very visual person. Since I was a child, I remember drawing female dresses; I still draw them or buy music and film magazines, and I still collect them. I keep a lot of that creative side from my childhood. Traveling opened the doors to the world of photography for me. I remember that every time I came back from each trip, I would show the photos to my friends, and they were the ones who saw “something”. Far from bringing stereotypical images or postcards of the places I visited, I always captured repeated details from every trip. My fetishes in photography were defined automatically, intuitively, and without much planning: stolen portraits, shop windows, food, messages, garbage, and abandoned objects.

TPL: We all face challenges and obstacles we could not have foreseen, what are some of yours, and how did you overcome them? What advice would you share?

Seigar: In my life, I have struggled to achieve some of my objectives in the past, and now I can comprehend that I probably failed in getting obsessed with obtaining what I wanted. These days, I see it from a different view, it’s important to be passionate about your goals, but we have to be careful about the lines between passion and obsession. I would advise people to wish for what they want, but not to overthink or make an extra effort that could harm them. You need to wish, and then work for it with balance. And I would also recommend to choose carefully what they want to get. It’s important to be sure that our goal is our real goal, and that is going to bring good things in life. Careful with the things you are wishing for, ask yourself, is it going to be good for you? When I look back, I think I have chosen good goals in my life, and I’m proud of that, however, I think I sometimes failed in the process because I worked too hard to get them. I would do it with more balance if I could go back. That is something I would change. I can understand now that we can achieve our goals with equilibrium. And what is more important, I advise people to understand that our main goal is to take care of ourselves, eat, move, and rest the best we know, and also to keep on educating ourselves, our main work is self-care. I have realized that is our main job. The real job we all have is to take responsibility for ourselves.

As an artist, there are some obstacles I can see these days, these are globalization, censorship, and the cancellation culture. I think globalization has brought blurred lines to the world of the arts. It seems the saturation of images and the use of social networks tend to unify visions or spread the sense of what is on and what is not. The main challenge is being faithful and loyal to yourself as a creator, trying not to depend on trends or accept the limits imposed by what you are supposed to be doing. I like the concept of the local and individual self; I like the idea of being me and keeping my identity as a creator. I think that is the most challenging task for creators nowadays. If you start doing what everybody is doing to be bigger, you may need to stop, think, reflect on that, and make a different decision. The world needs what you can give as an individual; the world does not need every person to show the same content with the same way of presenting it. When I see these videos about how you should be sharing your art, how to get new followers, and all that, I think that is not the right way. I think keeping your way is the key. I do not want to be a copy or a version of any other artist. Who wants 100 artists telling the same story, and in the same way? No one. And concerning censorship and all that, I think artists need to be brave, fight, and do it! Think about artists like Madonna, who has fought against so many taboos and is still there fighting against the rules and conventions. Artists need to stand up, be brave, and just go for it. If we all do it, the system won’t be able to keep up with this nonsense. I believe individual freedoms must be kept, and they are in our hands. For instance, if any social network censors a type of image or a type of expression and this one doesn’t damage anyone, it’s a matter of us all united to stop it; we are the ones who should decide. I think it’s a matter of time for people to realize that we are the ones who decide. No one authorizes me to create; I authorize myself to do whatever I want. It’s not out; it’s just me. My authority to be free and independent is inside of me; I don’t need to wait for anyone or anything for approval or permission to do what I want to do. I feel I am powerful, and I believe we are all powerful beings that just have to act and do. Throughout art history, many voices have rebelled against the rules, and they changed the path by doing that. I think it is time for contemporary artists to do things and break the rules. Actions are more important than words. There is no point in sharing a message asking for freedom; just be free. Let me tell you this with a metaphor. The metaphor is clear; it’s like a bird inside a cage with the doors completely open. That is how I feel about censorship. I also feel the same about many other situations society is facing these days: the same pattern, a bird that can fly and doesn’t. Why? I think common sense must be above any rule in the system. We can't obey a system when it goes against common sense or individual freedoms, and we cannot wait for its authorization to take care of us and do the best we can for ourselves. You just have to follow your instincts instead of blindly following “what you are supposed to do." Let’s be free and stop begging for our freedom.

TPL: In your long-term project, ‘Tales of a City’ What do you want the viewer to experience from your work, what is their takeaway from their visual experience?

Seigar: ‘Tales of a City’ started as a way to portray the British identity, and then, it has become an invitation to live our lives fully and free. It is also a reflection of my ideas and views about the world. I want people to see these photos as my reading of British culture, a heritage that I feel linked emotionally and personally for a million reasons, and as a way to state the world is a beautiful place we should enjoy. This series is a part of my long-term travel and street photographic narrative about the UK, primarily captured in London, a project I initiated in 2005. During the process, I have intended to capture moments of charm as a friendly reminder that we should view the world through our prism. Life and magic are omnipresent; we only need to open our eyes. In recent years, I've consciously distanced my ego from my heart, focusing on immersing myself in the creative process. My priorities have shifted to living, self-care, and relishing life. These new tales reflect this sweet phase in my life, and I am committed to making it last for a long, long time. I will no longer enumerate these series separately; I've realized these tales belong to the same project: Tales of a City. In my quest to identify British identity, I found my voice.

TPL: You love to travel. You also live in one of the most picturesque locations in the world. Do you find your inspiration to create on or within the streets of Tenerife? Outside of home and London where has been your most favorite or interesting ‘tale’? And what city is next on your Wishlist to add to your series?

Seigar: In Tenerife, I have done street photography in the villages and towns during my walks. I love exploring my island, too. I have done some landscape photography, though I have never felt completely reflected in this type of photography. I prefer other types of photography that let me show ideas, such as social or documentary. I have met people and told their lives through photography and text. Collaboration makes art richer and more complex; something simple can become something big with the right connections. I have worked with creative people who have added layers to my photography and video art. They have conveyed the ideas I wanted to express. I have worked several times with a young drag queen called Candy Porcelain, who has elevated my concepts through her art channel. I have also worked on the theme of new masculinities with young men. I have also worked on a project entitled 1, 2, 3 No Hashtags to deal with diversity, equality, body positivity, ageism, and other topics. I have done projects with trans people to talk about them as individuals and to tell their personal stories. I have worked with all different kinds of people to tell them who they are and their identities. Every life has some interest for me. I have shown the living moments of a boxer, a group of voguing dancers, belly dancers, drag queens, beauty pageant contests, theatre plays, ballet and contemporary dancing shows, fashion content creators, music festivals, and a digital and design illustrator. As I said, I like meeting people and showing what they want to say to the world. I have also recreated My Plastic People with a real model. I have done all these works in Tenerife; we have many creative souls on the island.

I have found great inspiration in Europe, and I have been traveling all around doing my tales there. I found excitement in photographing Eastern Europe because of its different rural and urban scenery. However, I have also opened the doors to new narratives. From my recent works, I’m especially fond of my photo narratives from Cuba and Morocco. I think what I found there is so different from Europe that it has made my gallery have some new twists, intricacies, and storylines. These two countries unlocked new possibilities for my work. Last summer, I spent two months in Asia, but I haven’t had time yet to work on that material. I can tell it was an incredible experience that moved me. I can’t wait to see what I did there.

Finally, my next destinations are Finland, Canada, and Liechtenstein. This is going to be at Christmas, in the winter, so this context would add some meaningful layers to my photography.

TPL: Tell us about the many years of contribution to the arts, writing about art, and interviewing artists. What is your takeaway from the work you do? How have you grown as an artist, visually and intellectually?

Seigar: Art and writing allow me to stay awake, grow, innovate, investigate, and learn. I can communicate and interact with other people and creators through these two channels. These are the two ways I have to express everything I have inside—two means of expression that I need to complete my life. I am a social person who enjoys the contact with people.

Teaching has been my vocation since I was a child. I knew I wanted to be a teacher very early. My job keeps me in contact with lots of people and souls daily. And this routine is inspiring and makes me grow.

Arts helps me to share my thoughts and the things I believe in. It’s the code to free my soul.

TPL: Do you have any favorite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance? If you could work alongside someone, who would you like to rub elbows with and learn from?

Seigar: My main art references come from pop music: Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince. They have been the three icons I have admired the most in my life, and they still have a big influence on me, and who I am today. In cinema, I love Pedro Almodóvar, Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Aldrich, Lars von Trier and Tarantino. In painting, I adore Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol. All these people share very personal but radical views about what art is. They all show a unique universe that is glued in my brain and my heart. I’m sure if you scan me, you can find their musical and visual imagery in my soul. They all share a strong and passionate vision of art. That's what I'm looking for with my visual art.

I can say that my favorite photographer is Martin Parr, I think he knows how to perfectly combine the image and the content with a very pop style. I also greatly admire the documentary nature of his work. Regarding the form, I stick with photographers like Man Ray, Diane Arbus, and Cindy Sherman, and paying attention to the content I would name Vivian Maier, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Thomas Tom Wood, and Paul Graham. Almost all of them work in street, social, or documentary photography.

Concerning the latest photography, I feel Lua Ribeira stands out; her sense of photography is fresh and original. I had the chance to write an article about her for The Cultural Magazine and it was fascinating to learn about her work. I’m also into the controversial Greek photographer Kostis Fokas, and the new realists Panos + Mary. Recently, I have had a crush on Greek photographers and the way they document reality, I would say Greek Photography these days has become a new expression of magic realism, and I’m also heading in that direction. I like to think that I’m sharing common views with them.

I think right now, my sensibility is close to the works of contemporary Greek photographers, and also Eastern European countries, so that would be my first option for a collaboration.

When we talk about admiration and influences, I would like to mention two special people who are everything to me in life, my mum who passed away but is still present in my everyday, and my sister who is my life. They are the real ones. Love you.

TPL: Is it impossible for you not to be constantly on the lookout for a moment to be captured?

Seigar: I think the key is discipline and perseverance. I consider myself an organized and planning person. I stay ahead of deadlines, I try to keep my work up to date, and the experience I gain with each project helps me not make the same mistakes. I am very observant and an analyst, I usually reflect on work processes and learn from them to be able to go faster the next time. It is part of my personality to be pragmatic and not waste time. I like to give myself fully to projects and grow. As you said, it is impossible for me not to be constantly on the lookout for a moment to be captured, I think that sentence defines the way I understand art and creation. Thanks for your deep dive into my work and soul. I can tell you love what you are doing too, and that is something wonderful. Thank you.

TPL: Are there any special projects that you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about? What are some of your photography goals?

Seigar: I would like to find time to work on my last trips, as I do not stop moving, and I will never stop moving, it is not that easy to select and work on the materials that I am creating. However, my priority is living, so it will be done whenever I have the right time to do it. I accept it, and I’m fine with that. I would say that my main goal in photography would be to keep on selecting and working on my travel and street photo narratives. Telling my moves through my trips, as a testimonial diary.

I have some ideas for video art too, connecting the tradition of this form with my view to understand it. I see video art as a way to experiment and channel concepts. And I also want to keep on exploring college to deal with current issues, collages help me to express my views on things that concern me.

And finally, I would love one day to start doing installations, it attracts me.

TPL: If you could explore another area of photography or art, what would that be? Why, what is it that you would be inspired to learn?

Seigar: I want to start doing installations. The use of new materials and forms to create interest me. I already have some ideas that include toys, plastic people, or some furniture. I like the experimental aspect of an installation and its connection to the senses. The focus could be the idea of playing with toys, or the ready-made pieces. If I do something, I suppose it will be colorful, pop, and weird. When I visit a museum, I always find the installations quite intriguing and captivating. They commonly move me to feel things and to think, they usually surprise me.

TPL: Your zest for life and your mantra to seize each day, how do you balance work and life?

Seigar: I try to dedicate time for myself, that means taking care of myself and giving myself some love. I feel the more I care for myself, the more I can care for others. The more I help myself, the more I can help others. I try to be balanced and to listen to myself. To care about the words, I talk about me because we become what we say we are. It’s important to care about how we define ourselves. I listen to myself and my body to know and decide what is the best thing for every single moment. If you need to eat, to move, and to rest, that is how I understand my everyday life. And if I want to express myself, I also count on the art expression. I guess the moments I have felt at ease with myself, I have been able to be nicer and more generous with the people around me. The more you love yourself, the more you can give love.

TPL: When you're not creating your visual stories, what do you do for leisure?

Seigar: When I’m not creating, I hike, exercise, and eat out. I listen to music; I spend hours listening to music and reading music reviews. I love reading books about pop culture, and music magazines. I have coffee with my best friends. I meet and travel with my loved sister. And finally, I also go out and travel with my partner, and we enjoy life together.

Thanks for the love.

Seigar is a true testament to the idea of being a multifaceted artist - someone who constantly evolves, learns, and pushes boundaries in their art. From exploring the world through his camera lens to using his unique perspective to shed light on important societal issues, Seigar's passion and talent knows no bounds. His work is a reflection of his own obsessions and curiosities, capturing moments and telling stories in a captivating and thought-provoking way. And with his project, Seigar shows us that even in familiar places, there is always something new and exciting to discover. With his captivating photos and energetic spirit, Seigar reminds us all to embrace the present and seize the day, creating our own narratives and capturing the beauty of life.

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