Passionate about Rome and classical cultures, the pandemic caught him a year ago in the Piazza Navona, in front of Bernini's fountains, when he was preparing an exhibition for the Cervantes Institute. In a matter of hours he was able to return to his native Bilbao and resume his artistic activity, an activity in which he fuses, with naturalness and elegance, fashion, art, architecture, design and painting.
By the beginning of 2021, his giraffes, beautiful ladies, dandies and uniformed men posing in palatial halls or strolling through urban spaces, will be seen again in Rome, while he prepares another exhibition, this time in Lisbon and together with Eduardo Sourrouille, sponsored by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and the Aldama Fabre gallery. Meanwhile, this great travel enthusiast is already working on a major exhibition at the National Library in Madrid, on Spanish travelers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries during the Grand Tour of Italy.
For those who have just arrived or are planning to visit Bilbao, how would you introduce them to the city?
Bilbao is a small city with the soul of a big city. It is the town where I was born. Since I was a child I enjoyed observing the facades of its eclectic architecture created at the beginning of the 20th century, which in those years were hidden under a dark layer of pollution. It has an interesting architectural heritage that reflects the tastes of the industrial bourgeoisie that transformed it.
Apart from the buildings and museums, its inhabitants stand out, generally cheerful and friendly people who enjoy socializing in the street and sharing their customs with those who come to visit.
Any special recommendations?
I recommend taking a good architecture guide and walk the streets to discover its peculiarities.
Para quienes acaban de llegar o tienen previsto visitar Bilbao. ¿Cómo les presentaría la ciudad?
Bilbao es una pequeña ciudad con alma de gran urbe. Es la villa en la que nací. Desde niño disfrutaba observando las fachadas de su arquitectura ecléctica creada a comienzos del siglo XX y que en aquellos años se ocultaban bajo una oscura capa de polución. Tiene un patrimonio arquitectónico interesante que refleja los gustos de la burguesía industrial que la transformó.
Al margen de edificios y museos destacan sus habitantes, en general gente alegre y amable que disfruta socializando en la calle y compartiendo sus costumbres con los que vienen de visita.
¿Alguna recomendación especial?
Recomiendo cogerse una buena guía de arquitectura y recorrer sus calles para descubrir sus peculiaridades.
Para ABC, es uno de los 50 hombres más elegantes de España. ¿Cómo lo lleva?
Ah, es verdad, bueno, se me había olvidado.
Para usted, ¿vestir bien es vestir con prendas caras?
Más que caras o baratas procuro que sean de calidad para que me duren mucho tiempo. Utilizo chaquetas o chalecos que pueden llevar en mi armario unos cuantos años. Intento no tirar nada hasta que ya no tiene arreglo.
¿Por qué cree que atrae tanto el lujo, lo vello, lo exquisito?
Desde la antigüedad se ha perseguido la belleza como un ideal y ese mismo fenómeno se sigue aplicando hoy en día al sector del lujo y de la excelencia. Los ideales muchas veces son difíciles o imposibles de alcanzar para la mayoría de los mortales y en ese sentido se convierte en un motor de consumo. Mucha gente sueña con una casa o un coche de lujo, con un cuerpo bello o con una comida exquisita. El lujo es una aspiración, una distinción, algo exclusivo que se supone que hay que alcanzar para ser más feliz o importante en una sociedad en la que, generalmente, la historia, la escriben los triunfadores.
Is it a cliché that this way you dress well?
I don't know, that's what they used to say years ago. Although I'm not one to judge anyone, I think that globalization is gradually standardizing us. It's up to us to let originality disappear and show our personality through our clothes.
Where could we improve?
We should focus less on how others dress and more on who we want to be.
Can a person be defined by the way they dress?
The image we project says a lot about ourselves, although values, human qualities, generosity, sympathy, kindness, etc. are as important or even more important than clothes.
For ABC, you are one of the 50 most elegant men in Spain. How are you doing?
Ah, that's right, well, I forgot.
For you, does dressing well mean wearing expensive clothes?
More than expensive or cheap, I try to wear quality clothes that will last me a long time. I wear jackets or vests that can be in my closet for a few years. I try not to throw anything away until it is beyond repair.
Why do you think luxury, hair and exquisiteness are so attractive?
Since ancient times, beauty has been pursued as an ideal and that same phenomenon continues to apply today to the luxury and excellence sector. Ideals are often difficult or impossible to achieve for most mortals and in that sense it becomes a driver of consumption. Many people dream of a luxury house or car, a beautiful body or exquisite food. Luxury is an aspiration, a distinction, something exclusive that is supposed to be achieved in order to be happier or more important in a society in which, generally, history is written by the winners.
What is never missing in your travel suitcase?
My small collection of cufflinks
What have you learned while traveling?
Almost everything! Traveling, with your eyes wide open, teaches you to understand how the world works beyond your everyday environment, to understand the history and the characteristics and whys and wherefores of each culture, it helps you to meet people, to be more understanding, more tolerant, it opens your mind, it inspires you to create more personal things. Travel is one of the best schools that we can do at any age and in which we do not stop learning and enriching our mind.
Can you choose some destinations in the world that are emotionally unforgettable for you?
Although in principle I am interested in almost all countries, for proximity, freedoms and affinities I am a lover of European culture. I enjoy understanding their differences and I am interested in their origins, that's why Rome and the Roman ruins are one of my passions. As a lover of art and architecture I try to visit both the great classical constructions and the small buildings of all times as they help me to understand how different societies and cultures have evolved. I talk about all these concerns and many other experiences in my book Ignacio Goitia Paintings, where through my paintings I make a personal journey through western architecture.
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