The work of Maty Chevriere has always been significant to us. In fact, since last year she has been present among the editorial pictures we have for the upcoming SS21 Picnic collection. She produced a series of brilliant photographs in a short but very intense day in Ibiza. The reason for bringing her work and persona to focus here is not only her work itself but the interventions between people she creates. Maty is known to collect and connect people. If she told you to undress , the result was most likely going to end up naked and comfortable in front of a camera (I´ve been there). I had heard of Maty over the years around Poble Nou. She has been part of so many cool editorials, underground parties and creative projects. Her professional success cemented her status in Barcelona but not only, she has recently moved to Tokyo and seems like is only paying a short visit to Spain before flying off again.
Chevriere, has kindly accepted an invitation to an interview - this time to talk about life and the work as an artist. When I finally got her to visit my place (we are neighbours), she was of fairly small stature, sweet and attentive. We had sat down at my kitchen table. There was a coffee and mobile phone to record us. We were close despite our limited time together.
But Maty is a curious figure from women's perspective. A larger than life personality, proudly independent, and unapologetically comfortable with dancing naked to herself every morning - Maty does not embody what most people think of as an ádult´. She is bubbly and always a breath of fresh air, constantly on a look out for new experiences, constantly wanting to know more. I'm delighted to learn she's every bit radical as I heard of. Her values are: pro-work and sexual freedom. Through her work we see that everybody is a sexual human being because she promotes sexuality as something that can only empower us.
Besides being stunning to look at, many of Maty´s photographs are just precious pieces of erotic art, and so encountering them in a proper gallery setting can be a unique endovour. She's eager to share her many philosophies on style, attraction, kindness and desire, and our one- hour session seems to be very rushed. I´m left with a sense of an endless set of possibilities about her.
When did you realise you want to become an artist? How did you accept yourself as an artist?
I began to paint when I was little. I never really made a conscious decision about becoming an artist but I was always drawn into painting itself.
When growing up, I remember watching and playing Tekken lots.
And at night when my parents were asleep, I liked to discover some TV channels. So, I think watching naked girls from an early age on, really inspired me to do what I'm doing today.
I also found some erotic photos of my parents. I think that all this came together and made me want to study Fine Arts to become a professional painter. But at that point, I'm getting frustrated on how long it takes to create a painting, you need to work a lot on your inspiration ect. So when discovering photography I got fascinated by the instantency of the medium and therefore photography has become a form of creating a quick painting.
So it was never an idea of, I wanna be an artist, it was always more of an idea of I just want to paint. At the end of my degree, I wanted to get a camera. I had some experience. At high school I was experimenting with analogue photography already, when I was just taking pictures of my friends.
I used to have a blog with one of my best friends called : LICK THE BURGER and there we used to play. We used to put some photos of each other. She would take photos of me and me of her. We were so funny. We used to go to Ikea and just lie in the bed. We also started to do some erotic photos of ourselves, wearing an underwear. And then I felt like I needed to do more. And it wasn't enough for me to just pose. I needed to create what I have in my head, because there were so many ideas that I wanted to tell her to do but it wasn't possible, if I didn't do it myself. I felt like I needed to be behind a camera myself. And that's how I decided that I want to do photography and she was one of my first models.
What is your day to day structure?
I wake up and from the bed and connect with a speaker. I´m naked, because I always sleep naked and I start dancing for about half an hour and bring my good energy in. On my day off, I sit naked on the sofa, I open my book and drink tea. I read for some time books that are good for me, mainly the ones that are teaching me something. For me, it is really necessary to dance a little bit in the morning. It's the time just for me. I put on a 70s tune and got a bit crazy.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
Actually I wanted to go to London but as an only child my parents don't want me to go that far away. Even now when. I moved to Japan last year and they were always telling me to come back.
So, Barcelona was a cool place and I came initially to study Fashion Design. I took a course with Felicidad Duce and I fell in love with Barcelona because as an island girl, having the beach that closed and having always this amazing weather and the people made me want to be nowhere else.
I never had a chance to meet so many people from all around the world. That really caught me so I stayed and then of course I fell in love with a boy and there was no way of leaving the city.
And now well there is still so much love in the city. And if you leave your comfort zone you discover that there are so many Barcelonas in Barcelona and it can teach you so many things every time you meet different people. It's not fair to say that Barcelona is always the same. Not at all. If you have good energy, if you are positive, you attract the same. So this is how I see Barcelona.
Do you ever think, what your life would be like if you didn’t stick to photography?
There are so many things that catch my attention about our planet that we don´t understand. All this old art made by people like 4000 years ago ,Egyptians… Archeology and anthropology. I would love to travel around the world just to discover...Can you imagine how exciting it must be to discover a tomb ? You´re the person that discovered it. I love to read about history and the old paintings. For example all the paintings for the PRADO museum are just fascinating.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word freedom?
The meaning of freedom is to be fearless . Because when you don't feel fear, you´re completely free. That's what I want to continue with this year. So when I´m in my own world, because I create my own safety world, this is my point, to be fearless is to feel free.
Do you have any obsessions?
Well, Japan (both laughing). It's the biggest obsession right now. Like everywhere I go, I'm able to read some kind of Japanese: kanji, hiragana and katakana. Hiragana is the more useful one, the traditional one. Kanji is more difficult and the katakana is the one that comes from foreign words, like our name. Marta would be Maruta because you need to have a vowel before consonant. So I think it's my obsession, I really have a crazy interest in everything that comes from Japan.
I'm interested in so many things. I´m of the opinion that you should listen to everything, not only to things you know or are interesting to you. Maybe they are talking about a book or theory. Sometimes you need to be there present. You should always try to push yourself to get out of a comfort zone. Just to feed our soul. You need to absorb everything that life is bringing you. Now, when somebody crosses my life, I always wonder if this person is here to teach me something. Even if it is for a second. Don't be like..I'm so busy. Just give it a second, maybe they have got something to teach and it is about giving them a chance.
Quoting Picasso, "La inspiración existe, pero tiene que encontrarte trabajando." Is there any secret that helps you to create things? How to see things that are not there?
Again, the way I get inspired is getting out of my comfort zone. I have amazing moments with people- It's insane the amount of amazing things that happen to me.
Once, I was going to pilates class and I left the house and I forgot my wallet. The coffee place was empty apart from this one woman and man. It was a really little place and one girl serving. And she charged me for the coffee and bocadillo and then I started to put sugar in. And suddenly, I´m really like, I´m not a person that overacts or nothing. I´m really settled, and especially when something bad is happening. I was sitting by the table and putting the sugar in, and I was like , fuck I forgot my wallet. And suddenly, I heard; what, did you forget your wallet ? It was a lady that was sitting near, and I was like, how does she know ?! I didn't answer and she said, no worries I'll pay for your breakfast. She was like, just enjoy. I asked her whats her name, she said it is Anna. I think this is the rhythm of living. So the giving and receiving but from your soul. Not because you have to but because it is coming from you. So this is how I get my inspiration.
Two years ago, when I used to have a lot of free time, I decided to be volunteering in the residency for elderly people. So every Wednesday, I used to take this old man out. And we became such good friends. You cannot imagine, how much we helped each other. He made me understand old people, because I never had a grandpa or grandma. I never had a chance to spend time with elderly folks. They treat them well but you don´t know that when you become this old you become like a kid and everybody has to help you and we don´t understand that. We just put them there, and are like BYE. They are humans. This guy has a family that never comes to see him. However, I'm sure he has a story. Every person has got a story to tell. But I was thinking the universe put us together. And it wasn't because he told me his story, that I´ve learned why his kids were not visiting him, but it was from spending time together. It's been almost a year since we saw each other and then he went to Badalona. And I never see him again. Tony was his name. These are the things that teach me life and give me inspiration. Getting out of my comfort zone and doing things you would never experience otherwise.
Pick a word from the following and describe what it means to you. Comfort, heritage, honesty, nature, freedom, style, independence, originality.
Honesty, with yourself. As soon as you start being honest with yourself, your reality completely changes. When you're honest with yourself, you can be honest with the others.
And finally, any new project in hand that you can tell us about? Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
I have many projects on the go but the one that really excites me is my own swimwear bikini brand, under my own name. I'm really looking forward to doing it because I have the freedom to do it the way I want it and that feels really empowering.
In a couple of years I see myself back in Japan, in Tokyo of course .