Maria Pratts: In The Heart of Barcelona's Underground Art Scene


Maria Pratts. It kind of sounds like the perfectly memorable kind of name that any artist could do with in a moment of initial success. And that is where we can find Maria now, building her career only upwards in the last few years, in the heart of Barcelona, Spain. 

Maria has been part of the ever-growing underground art scene in the Spanish city for a while now. First moving in the fascinating Gran Via apartment, shared with a few other artists, which saw her publishing her first work and shaping what her art would become today. Then later, moving in her own studio, an old factory in the suburbs of Hospitalet de Llobregat, where she currently spends her days working. 

One of her latest exhibitions, Sad City, at the L&B Contemporary Art Gallery, showed the variety of mediums with which she manages to communicate an even wider range of topics. From 3-D graffiti letters to ceramic sculptures to videos animated from drawings made with crayons, Maria has shown she can work with a fluidity that not many can show off to have. 

The characters in Pratts’ work – policemen, skaters, homeless people – are inspired by the urban surroundings of downtown Barcelona, where the artist’s gallery and studio are situated. “I love to observe people in the street, and I love to paint them”, she explains. “For me, that’s a huge part of living life as an artist – constantly observing one’s surroundings
— King Kong Magazine

Maria's peaceful view of today's social and political issues translate so well into her fascinating works: she admits to be constantly attracted to the study of insanity, of the weird, the outsider but that she remains in a way, detached from all of it. Her interior peacefulness allows her to take those observations and communicate them without claiming a state of tortured artist or art.

[...] projects like this are a reoccurring motif in Pratts’ work, mirroring Barcelona’s artistic scene, which is characterised by communal artworks and exhibitions held in charmingly dilapidated shared studios. Within these surroundings, Pratts creates work that gives a childlike but, nevertheless, critical view of a present that is becoming increasingly incomprehensible.
— King Kong Magazine

Find Maria's work here.

Photography thanks to Apartamento and King Kong.