trippy photographs of the american west by spanish artists
We joined artists Maria, Regina and Pol on a journey through the beautiful landscapes of the American West Coast.
Random Trip is a project created by photographer and art director Pol Agusti that sends a small group of artists off on a journey, to see what and how they create work, and to document their activities. It's Pol's attempt to create new projects, relationships and personal experiences through a photo diary of all they see and do.
Random Trip: Magic Landscape is the first edition of these diaries. Alongside the Spanish artists Maria Pratts and Regina San Martino, Pol embarked on an odyssey through the washed out landscapes of the American West, from Native American reservations, to deserts and snow capped mountains. We caught up with Pol, Regina, and Maria to talk about their random trip through a magic landscape.
How did you come up with the idea for Random Trip?
Pol: Random Trip is a project that brings together my two greatest passions: travel and photography. It is the perfect excuse to meet the people who I want to share my time and ideas with. I've always thought the best conversations happen inside cars, people spend so much time trapped in there that they end up revealing everything about their lives. It's like lying down on the psychoanalyst's chair. So my intention is to travel with different artists, making short trips to places with spectacular landscapes while the artists produce work. My job is to take the photographs that reveal the process and the finished result. I find it very beautiful to see the way in which an artist confronts the journey and adapts themselves to it.
Why did you pick LA and that route for the first trip?
Regina: Maria told me that she would be in LA for a month and a half right at the same time that Pol told me he was planning a visit to Mexico City, so I convinced Pol to go see her knowing that it would be magical. The rest fell into place.
What were you expecting from the trip?
Maria: Well I had never even been to the US before! And now I can say I've taken hallucinogenic drugs with Hopi Native Americans. Many of the Hopi's towns were basically deserted and post apocalyptic--people were using empty oil barrels to make fires. It was such a contrast to LA where people are obsessed with organic food, fruits and vegetables. But I also discovered American pop music. Fuck it, I love Drake!
Who is more crazy, Pol or Maria?
What did you get to know about Maria that you didn't know before the trip?
Pol: Maria is really wise. She can express true knowledge in only a few words, which is really surprising for someone so young. She has the heart of someone who has never been in the presence of evil or ugliness.
Maria, what did you learn about Regina and Pol that you didn't know before?
Maria: They always talk about sex… no, I'm kidding! Before the trip we didn't know each other that well, but it became quite intense, we were all sleeping in the same bed by the end. I like looking at life through different perspectives. I came to discover Regina's new project, which I find very interesting. She is from Argentina and loves the fact that in Catalunya, where I'm from, we have a figure called the Caganer, who is a little figurine of a guy that shits hidden under a bush, usually wearing a red cap and smoking a pipe, and he's in our nativity scenes. So she has started a series of videos and photographs where she shits outdoors.
What was your favorite moment of the trip?
Maria: Probably when I opened the door of our motel room in Las Vegas to find Regina standing beside the bed, stark naked, watching TV and scratching the inside of her ear with a Kleenex.
What was the funniest thing to happen?
Regina: We thought we were going to the dessert: heat, little clothing, nudity… and we found ourselves in the snow, quite a few degrees below zero, in the forest. We had to put on layers and exchange clothes so we wouldn't freeze.
Regina: We were on the Arizona highway and passed through an amazing lunar looking landscape so we suddenly decided to park the car and get out to take some pictures. The ground was completely covered in quick sand, we didn't realize, and somehow we ended up completely buried, in the middle of nowhere, with mud up to our eyebrows, and no reception on phones to call for help. Luckily a guy in a bright yellow van decided to stop and rescue us. Thanks Mitch!
Which of Maria's pieces is your favorite?
Regina: I love it when she paints clothes. I want to wear the Grand Canyon jersey all the time.
Which of the pieces you produced during Random Trip is your favorite?
Maria: It was in Mishnognovi Village, in Arizona, it was so magical and spooky. We woke up at 5am to see the sunrise, so we arrived very early to the town. Everyone was asleep except for a man who was starting a fire between bricks to cook some pudding. The town's houses seemed to be built from random materials: walls made from wood, bits of glass, pieces of bricks, everything was full of rubbish. I thought I could use some of this rubbish to make sculptures or that I could paint some graffiti. They didn't like us, I think they didn't understand what I was asking for, to use dirt to create something pretty. In the end I got hold of some pieces of wood, rubbish bags and trash in general and made a beautiful altar to celebrate the elements: rain, pleasure, fortune, and luck. And I called on all of the elements to stay there and bless the town.
Has this trip inspired you to do more things together?
Pol: During this trip we came up with more projects. Regina is working on her performance Cat Life, and also drew watercolors of all the important characters that we met on the trip, many of them were Native Americans who did not allow us to photograph them. In the car we all had to remember their features so she could make the portraits.
If you could pick any artist to travel with, who would it be?
Pol: I would probably pick an artist who's already dead, but my next travel partner will be Théo Mercier.
Text Monse Castera
Photography Pol Agusti