Abi Fantastic is an ambitious painter, curator, and event organizer originally from the UK, and currently based in Barcelona. Her captivating paintings use bold colors, whimsical movement and a mixture of textures to reveal a unique, creative expression on the canvas.
Abi is also a world traveler—pretty much always on the move, so we took advantage of the global lockdown to check in and ask about her ongoing projects.
Hi Abi! Let’s start with your name—when and how did you receive the wonderful name of Abi Fantastic?
Hahaha this is a very common question! It actually came from my great friend Jutt (Justin Morris), who I studied art at college with. He was also one of the 3 people, including myself and the lovely Helen Hiatt, who started the concept of Collaboration Station in Bournemouth many moons ago. (CS is the music & art event that I have been running in Barcelona over the last 4/5 years.) Our art tutor was also called 'Abby' and so he started making it easier in class by calling me Abi Fantastic....and it has stuck for all of these years. Obviously having to try and live up to the name!
You have a very well established style of painting from a young age, when and how did you start making art?
I have been painting and creating things for as long as I remember. I was obsessed with a children’s art show called 'Art Attack' when I was very young which my mother encouraged by buying all of the materials so I could follow along with the little projects on the programs. I Loved it...and still do actually! Ha!
All through school I would try and stay in the art room during brake times, which followed onto art at college and then eventually my art degree at Kingston University.
Throughout college I would set up little exhibitions in our Town Hall in Ferndown, UK and I had my first proper show in China Town, London, my first year of Uni. It has progressed further and further ever since.
How do your travels inspire your artwork?
I feel very, very blessed to have travelled a lot with my art, having exhibited and done commissions in places such as, France, Barcelona, California, Nevada, Philadelphia, Panama, New York, Japan (having not been there yet, but I hope to one day!) as well as a few different places in the UK of course. And these places have indeed influenced and inspired me in different ways. Definitely from the surroundings, cultures, colours, what materials are available... this can be pretty tricky sometimes! I am very excited at where else around the world my work may take me!
And how does being a world-traveler make being an artist more difficult?
I suppose the only ways I can see it being more difficult is the cost of travel. Most artists are pretty poor! And the accessibility to materials. Sometimes it can be near impossible getting the things you want and need for a specific project. Other than that, the more travel the better, I say!
How did you decide to settle in Barcelona?
I came to Barcelona on an art college trip when I was 16/17 and fell in love with it from the start. It really is an amazing city! A few years later I came back for the Spanish Burning Man Regional event 'Nowhere' with a one-way ticket, knowing I wanted to spend some time in the city afterwards and create some art..... that was 6 years ago! The place sucked me in and has treated me very well.
And how do you find the art market and creative scene here?
Well, I definitely want to start by saying the creative scene is amazing! There are lots of great things going on all the time—never a dull moment if you're out and about looking for it! This is why it was great for me to launch my music & art events there. Starting with the great pop-up event of 'The Fantastically Lush Art Project' with the great Laura Lush,and later bringing Collaboration Station to Barcelona. It was never hard finding enough artists, musicians, performers and such for these events.... the hard part..... selling the work!
Unfortunately I have found, and heard from many other creatives in the city, that it’s pretty tough to sell and even try to make a living from your work here. It’s a great shame and I'm still not really sure why. I hope this can change as it does push artists out a little bit.
You've mentioned the artistic event called Collaboration Station, can you tell us a bit more?
Collaboration Station an art & music event started back in the UK and something I have continued to run in various galleries and event spaces in Barcelona over the last few years. This thing all started with the idea to help artists to exhibit and sell their work. Creating an exciting platform for various creatives to get together and support each other in creating some really fun and amazing shows.
This has brought together all sorts of aArtists, photographers, musicians, magicians, various performers, live music acts, live tattooists, DJs, jewellery makers, food stalls and many more. It has basically become a mini one-day arts festival of sorts from 2pm-2am helping to support the arts. I'm very grateful for the love and support it has received in Barcelona. And so grateful to Jutt and Helen for helping create these great ideas from day one!
This is definitely something I am planning on expanding and making bigger and better at various other places around the globe... So 'watch this space' as they say!
So you do a lot of collaborating—I recently saw your paintings are moving from canvas to apparel. Tell us more!
Ohhhh yess this is a new, very exciting idea I have been meaning to get off the ground for a while now. This actually all started with a friend giving me a funky bag for my birthday. After initially liking the design, it took me a while to realise it was from one of my paintings! So I’m now starting to run with this idea and I think it will make for some great, bold, original clothing, perfect for festival gear and much more! Males and Ladies, I wish to add!! This will all be launched properly very soon, I hope!
And are there any other big projects in the works that we should know about?
These seem to be crazy times for all right now, so things have slowed down a little bit! Of course, I'm still trying to keep painting and creating, but I am very much looking forward to a project I will still hopefully do for The Global Eclipse event in Argentina this December—creating an art Installation. I have been wanting to execute this for some time, but there will be more info on that over the next few months. Exciting stuff!!
Where can people reach you and find your art?
It would be great if people would like to see more of my work and projects through my website-
Facebook: Abi Fantastic Art
Instagram: Abi Fantastic
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today Abi!
Massive thanks to you guys.... I love what you’re doing with FRIKIFISH...It’s a wonderful platform to again, support the arts and very happy to be a part of it! Much Love! x