The Power is Within Edgar Plans

The Power is Within Edgar Plans

I n the last couple of years, Madrid-based Edgar Plans has racked up multiple accolades. His “Animal Heroes”— wearing colourful capes, masks, and expressive big eyes – communicates the artist’s observations of criticism and socio-political issues as well as stories from his imagination.

Plans creates multidisciplinary works that recall the styles of a range of influences, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and even Takashi Murakami. Plans has exhibited widely across Europe and Asia, including spaces such as Almine Rech Shanghai, WAREHOUSE Gallery in Hong Kong and Art Basel Miami; he made his auction debut in 2020. In his most recent undertaking “Lil’ Heroes”, Plans is translating his signature characters from canvases into digital tokens, which are reportedly attracting great interest in the NFT community.

In his own words, Plans describes his work playfully: “The truth is, if there is one thing I can be sure of in my career, is that I was born in 1977 in Madrid. If I am asked when I started to paint or indeed why, well that’s something I can’t define so easily. I can say how and where, using pencils and crayons on every wall within reach, outside the house in Majadahonda, on the nursery walls and the pavements.”

Plans recalls that art was always present in his home, and creativity was encouraged. His father, the science fiction and fantasy author Juan Jose Plans, appointed his office with a low table and chairs so that Edgar and his brothers could sit. There the boys were free to draw and paint, with the sounds of their father’s typing in the background.

Edgar Plans would never want to draw other people’s ideas of what constituted art – i.e., still-life works or figurative sketches. He preferred to draw comic strips and expressing narratives.

“More than choosing [to paint], the painting has chosen me,” said Plans in an interview. At the age of fifteen, he discovered the desire to express his truths through painting and drawing, and set out to explore different disciplines and techniques. That brought him to the studio of painter José María Ramos, but after two years Plans decided that he needed to find his own path. He rented a room in an art studio – previously an apartment belonging to Asturian artist Nicanor Piñole – and continued his academic training. After receiving his degree in History of Art from the University of Oviedo, he would consistently paint and develop his cache of paintings.

“A Canvas is never white in the eyes of an artist, it’s the mirror of their ideas.”
Edgar Plans 

For Plans, the medium is as important as the use of colours. Untitled (2015-2017), one of the artist's earlier works, depicts a cityscape in acrylic and charcoal on corrugated cardboard. The painting represents the integration of wordplay and image. In a layering of line, form and colour, Animal Heroes play mischievously across the surface of the work as they splash paints and draw figures and squiggles of lines, animals and other creatures.

In Soul Flavors (2017), the work on paper captures the expressions of the animal-like character placed in the foreground, holding a ladle. The drawing is adorned with scribbles and doodles of animal figures and tridents; his spontaneous placements of smudges of colours and bold strokes vary subtly in intensity and depth. The careful positioning of slogans such as, “Soul Flavors” and “Tester” evoke notions of a vibrant and playful aesthetics that describes his complete oeuvre. In this sense Soul Flavors echoes the intensity of urban art, with its freewheeling spirit.

The Hero Artist (Pink), a sculpture made from fiberglass and metal, reveals mouse-eared cartoon figure wears a blue mask and black cape. The phrase “Power is in you” is scribbled across its yellow sweater while a skull and crossbones symbol decorates the black cape. The expression of the masked hero is childlike and endearing as he accidentally squeezes out the pink paint from the tube, underestimating his own strength.

Olivia & Juanin presents the Hero Artists as a set of five metal paper weights. Each figure is dressed in the signature masks and capes, while sitting down and reading a book, perhaps in a tribute to the artist's novelist father. The characters suggest the heroic possibilities that comes of a steady diet of imagination and narratives. The original boxes that each of them comes with draws the attention of viewers as the phrase says: “The Power of the Letters”.

Contemporary Art

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