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Arts & Culture

El Pez, the smiling fish artist

Written by Aléxia Costa

Every artist has its own history – the how, the why, and the when. Those little questions are what defines the artist, its style, attitude and motivation to produce with feeling and expression. Here is the story of El Pez, the artist that brought to life the smiling fish that is already a success around the world.

Why choose street art

Photo by: duncan via /CC BY-NC

Photo by duncan via Visualhunt

Since the beginning, his goal has been to communicate with the public, to interact with the common citizen that walks the streets of his hometown every day. At first, when he started painting the street walls, he would only draw a tag of his name, but soon a fish was born and from then on, the fish became bigger and greater. The artist has found his how to his why in his art.

The goal was to find a universal language that would, at the same time, become his personal signature. The smile was a natural choice, the artist’s way of bringing good vibes to Barcelona citizens.

El Pez’s art is moved by his humble way of living, meaning that his fish doesn’t participate in any sociologic or political expression. The message is simple: he paints for enjoyment and pleasure while observing the world that he chooses to see around him.

Related article: Exploring Barcelona’s street art

More than just a fish

Photo by: Ferdinand 'Ferre' Feys via CC BY-NC-SA

Photo by: Ferdinand ‘Ferre’ Feys via VisualHunt

“There are plenty of fish in the sea”, as they say, but this particular one is easy to spot. Its cartoon-inspired body has a comic feeling to it  and a sweet but strong look that is reinforced by its best feature: the smile! It’s a big and bright smile that occupies the majority of the drawing, leaving space only for a big blue eye.

But it’s not just the smile: it’s the whole attitude of the blue fish. It’s the way it poses to the crowd. The fish smiles and waves with its flippers with a nice and kind presence.

Related article: Barcelona’s Street Art Royalty

What started as just a way to brighten the day to Barcelona citizens has now become a world phenomenon. El Pez’s art easily spread through Barcelona and Europe and the artists started to get invited to go all over the world. Nowadays, he shows his work in the streets of Tokyo, Miami, Bogota, and London, among many others. But the smiling fish doesn’t travel alone anymore; it adopted a smiling family with demons, giraffes, Martians and angels.

In order to expand his brand, in 2011, El Pez created his own line of street art kits with all of the materials necessary to be a street artist.

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About the author

Aléxia Costa

Aléxia Costa is a ghostwriter for both fiction and non-fiction.

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