In between two restaurants on Calle Fabrica, in Santa Catalina, there is an open door, welcoming visitors to come inside. A light and airy triplex opens up, with large, colourful paintings on every wall.
With a big smile, artist Vivian Borsani welcomes us into her gallery – The Art Studio 13.
Flowers, fishes, butterflies and trees…but most of all colours and more colours. Bright, happy and playful, often with a strike of gold hidden between the layers.
– I really like to use gold in my paintings, it makes it more alive. The look of the painting changes depending on the light and where you see it from, she says and points towards one of the shimmering parts in a big blue, green and turquoise painting.
Vivian has been renting her studio and gallery since 2013, but in May, 2017, she finally bought it and made it her own. She comes here every day.
– Even those days when I do not feel inspired at all, I come here to rearrange the paintings or organize my brushes, just to stay in touch, she says.
There is a large canvas on the floor – a work in progress.
– I like to paint on the floor, Vivian says. That way I can move the painting around and really work with the colours.
It is too early to tell what she will make of it, and she is not even sure herself.
– I never know how it is going to turn out when I start to paint. Sometimes I get very inspired by a song for example, then I play it over and over while I am painting. It can be anything from Pink, to The Police or Coldplay, she says with a smile.
Even though Vivian does not seem to lack inspiration, as she finds it in everything around her, she can also get stuck in work sometimes.
– It happens that I just feel that something is missing in a painting. I do not know what, but it is just not there. If I would compare it to a song for example, it would be like it did not really have a melody. Do you know what I mean?, she says and tilts her head as she looks at one of her pieces.
But sometimes, all it needs is time.
– Even if the painting is not ready, I hang it on the wall. That way I see it every day, I process it, and suddenly I can see what is missing and continue working on it.
After spending a couple of hours in the studio every day, the work continues at her home in Portals Nous. It is, in many ways, an extension of her gallery.
Being born in Brazil, raised in Germany and later on moved to France and Italy to study art, Vivian has lived in more places than most people, but Mallorca always had a special place in her heart. She and the island go way back.
– In the 1970’s my grandmother bought a holiday home in Mallorca. Every summer I used to come here and visit her. I loved being here, the feeling and the atmosphere were so different from the big cities I had been living in. It was magic.
Back then the island was very different, not as international as today, and Vivian got to know the authentic, Mallorquin culture.
– I remember that I thought people were so friendly and so open. I got to know people who are still my friends today, she says.
And when her parents also bought a home in Mallorca a few years later, Vivians connection to the island became even stronger and it started to feel more and more like a home to her.
And many years later, it would come to be just that.
When she was studying in Paris, Vivian met her husband, Luca, and a couple of years later they had two beautiful daughters. And even if an artist is not on a maternity leave per se, Vivian decided to take some time off and spend a couple of weeks in Mallorca.
– It was amazing to come back here. I felt so inspired. I got help from my mother who looked after my daughters, while I spent hours painting. And it was so great to see my own kids experiencing the same thing I did when I was young. They were outdoors playing, spent entire days by the sea. They were so happy and relaxed. Suddenly everything felt so right, it was like it just clicked. I felt so strong that this was where I wanted to be. This was what I wanted for my family.
And like if that was not enough, Vivian also got in contact with people who wanted to exhibit her paintings.
– I did not know how to do business at all, but I went to different restaurants and asked if I could exhibit my paintings. Back then I was painting Mallorquin landscapes, so they fit really well into the decor.
Everything seemed to fall into place.
– Slowly people started to know my name and my paintings were suddenly all over the island.
They bought the house in 1999 and turned it into their dream home.
– I actually wanted a little house in the countryside, but fell in love with this area. So instead I tried to give it that “countryside feeling”, she says.
They tore down a wall to open up for a big, spacious kitchen and replaced the old floor with warm coloured, terracotta tiles.
– I really had a vision of how I wanted it, and I love it. It feels so much like home, Vivian says.
Both of Vivian’s daughters have been, like their mother, traveling a lot, but recently moved back to the island.
– When you grow up on a small island like this, I think you really need to get out and see the world, Vivian says. But on the other hand, after seeing what is out there, you will also realize how great life is here. You have so much here, and it is easy to take it for granted when you grow up here. You can go hiking, spend the day at the beach, do water sports. The outdoor life and what it is offering truly is amazing.
And Vivian is really enjoying the Mallorquin nature. Both in her professional life, and her personal.
– I get so inspired by the island. The nature, the light, the sea…. I love it. This really is my home. It is not where I come from, but it is where I belong.
Text: Maria Strömqvist
Photo: Ida Carlsson