Barcelona: I first met Maria Pratts in an elevator. I had come to visit one of her gazillion flatmates, the photographer Rafa Castells, in the now legendary Gran Via apartment that was shared by many of the artists shaping today’s underground scene in Barcelona. We took the elevator down together, and by the time we’d reached the ground floor, I was totally under her spell. So much so that a month later we began collaborating on what became her first artist book, Atalaia, which I was lucky enough to supervise and publish. We worked on it for a year and a half, a good chunk of time to get to know Maria and her creative process from a privileged position.
I have since followed her career closely, with the proud smile of a mother goose watching her offspring’s first flight. I’ve seen her rise from self-run shows in a grimy basement to the slick white walls of Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art, her work growing bigger in size, depth, and ambition, travelling the world from Los Angeles to Budapest.
After trying so many formats, from neon paintings to gigantic foam sculptures, Maria has made quite a noise in the city by joining forces with local enfant terrible Guillermo Santomà to turn her own studio, an old factory space in suburban Hospitalet de Llobregat, into an architectural extravaganza. I met her on a hot summer day to talk about the flow of life, the many places she’s lived in, the odds and ends of artistic practice, and everything in between.