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WILDING! Joya Air Artists residency in Almeria, Spain

spanish landscape black and white
  • Written byPost-Grad Community
  • Published date 21 February 2022
spanish landscape black and white
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

A diary Report on a personal project: WILDING!


Written by Visual Artist Glen Paul Mendes – UAL Alumni 2017 (MA Painting illustration and visual media, Camberwell College of Arts) in response to his Joya Air Artists residency in Almeria Southern Spain (January 2022).

“I am a trained shamanic artist and an alumni of UAL one who is inspired by land art and the expressionist art movement, My project WILDING is a synthesis of walking photography and channelled drawing developing a new language of art.

— Glen Paul Mendes

I graduated from UAL in 2017 from the MA Painting illustration and visual media course at Camberwell College of Arts aiming to become fully self-supporting by forging a career as a visual artist.

Wilding! My current art practice project involves channel walking as an action research field trip, this is a researched and taught technique that has become an invaluable primitive tool as a part of my art practice itinerary.

A state of mindfulness where one were walks in the belief that creatures objects places and phenomena all possess a distinct spiritual essence that one can observe and record and by a process of.

By a simple process of exploring, mapping, planning a walk, I managed to connect to the mountains around La Joya air where I could photograph and document observations resulting from phenomena that I found in nature and from that channel drawings into artworks, esp. informative after heavy rainfall.

spanish landcape
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Project Wildling

These walks in the wilderness I term WILDING is about charting a path forwards in our relationship with nature that has been changed by the presence of mankind... This means trying to work with nature in a more dynamic, open-ended way, rather than dictating what a particular space and its wildlife 'should' look like.

Wilding is how I chart a path forwards by re-connecting my art practice within nature.

  1. Animism is a belief in the attribution of a living soul to plants inanimate objects and natural phenomena i.e. vibrant matter.
  2. The belief in a mystic power that animates the material universe, phenomena based power that ancient Neolithic shamans could channel. I have worked with Shamanic artists and they all channel symbols into their work they seem able to be leaders into a group of artists now developing whom one day may fully take Animism as a formal part of art practice development, and from that create a new art movement.

I am interested in producing artwork that is ecologically inspired by land art as it is also towards street art.

Calling for Rain

I applied to stay at la Joya ecological 21:01:22 for one week's study to take my work forward concluding previous field trip research that involved natural observations and channelled drawings developed into a land art language.

I had been to Mexico, Ecuador and now Andalusia

Secondly, I wanted to call for rain.

Shamanic rain callers are a rare breed and can call upon the forces of nature to bring about great permanent changes to unsettled weather conditions. In the mountains, we call for the power to make our world work better.

spanish landscape
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni


WILDING is my art practice development term and Since 2014  has been concerned with creating a thematic body of work by implementing channelled drawings into my artworks. Influenced by Robert Smithson's abstract mapping and Richard Long walking a line. This is metaphysical in its implementation and physical in its inception i.e. meditative walking that can become action research. I create sacred space within landscape walks. Reconnecting my art practice to the natural landscape is WILDING.

Artist Residency project WILDING!

Based in the Sierra Maria-Los Velez Natural Park. Artist residency at La Joya Air Ecologica

Here is my Diary report!

spanish landcape with sketch book
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Day 1.

21.01.22 weather report 9’C Sunny

Accepted into my first full residency at la Joya Air on January 22 after researching the ecological prevailing conditions of the surrounding land, which in southern Spain is hot and dry with flooding that comes from the mountains in the north during the spring.  This made me consider that the extremes were perhaps caused by a lack of Oak trees?

spanish landscape black and white
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Day 2

22.01.22  weather report 8’ C Cloudy

Sierra Maria -Los Velez Natural Park  LATITUDE  37:76 N LONGITUDE 2.0469 W 22.01.22

I arrived at la Joya after 10am there were 4 other artists in residence they were all on a writing sabbatical.

The settlement buildings are situated on a hill with a mountain range and it’s all off-grid, deep ravines circumvent it and the land can be unyielding.  Walking any long distance on the stones is challenging and comfortable boots are needed.

I inspected my studio space, which had a chair outside, and blue-grey aluminium

Door inside. It was like a cavern with a wood burner and a very long working space with lots of sculptural equipment installed.

Later that evening after supper, we spent time playing scrabble and drinking wine, the first day went very fast.

drawing marks
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Day 3

23.01.22 - Weather report 10’C Cloudy

Set off at 10.00 am into the mountain hills

I took with me my smartphone mini cam and sketchbook, along with a packed lunch.  Feeling confident that I am going to have a great and productive day. The plan is to take only photographs, a couple of videos documenting a sacred space to call rain and conduct some channelled symbolic sketching.

The cloud cover is low and misty, the air is thin and progress is slow as I continue to take photos along the path to the summit.

The walk back was reflective as I wondered how best to edit all the information I had collected visually as well as the implications on my human actions for calling rain onto an arid landscape.

It rained that night ….all nightlong!

drawing marks
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Day 4

24:01:22 - Weather report 11’C Showers

River gorge South East of the residency building.

The long rain that fell throughout the night gave the morning a fresh and misty start and I wanted to explore the previously dry riverbed that ran close to la Joya. Apart from making a circle of stones, a faster way to connect to a living landscape is a river and this is where hunter-gathering instincts really kick in.

Taking photographs of previous flooding phenomena.

image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Day 5

25:01:22  weather report 10’C Showers

I have a creative cloud account that supports all the editing needed today whilst the walking conditions are not suitable for explorations.  I spent a lot of time indoors selectively being objective with photographs I am developing.  A mix of photographs and illustrations collected and created with the idea of producing something new that captures my art practice methods and channelling technique.

image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Day 6

26:01:22 weather 13’C report Showers

In such a short time, I managed to achieve my objective, which was to connect to an unfamiliar place that encouraged the use of traditional non-invasive techniques to produce contemporary artworks within an ecological perspective.

drawing marks
image credit: Glen Paul Mendes - Camberwell MA Illustration Alumni

Milestone objectives

Since May 2020 I am have established myself as an artist, sole trader, self-employed and working from home.  I am currently networking with a group of artists in a multidisciplinary way, sharing methodologies and visiting art galleries, which is where I would like to hang my walking hat on a regular basis, ARTSY come on down.

I am developing my website too, so I can use it as a project portfolio and with e-commerce for selling original and limited editions.

Want to come walking with me? Get in touch and emai me

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