The only thing better than putting your feet up, is putting your feet up in the luxury of Ignasi Monreal. The Spanish-born artist has become a darling du jour of the fashion scene in recent years thanks to his work for Gucci, Vogue, the Four Seasons (which incorporated the Ritz), and others – giving us #arty commercial work that recalls the level of excellence from Slim Aarons’ summers of the retro rich to Salvador Dali’s amazing surrealist ads. Because Monreal gives us landscapes of luxury on the grandest scale, as well as in some of its smaller moments: a feast of lobster licked clean, or a cigarette left smoking beside a Wedgewood vase. The irony being, of course, that none of these moments are small. Luxury is luxury is luxury, down to the quietest indulgence, and Monreal’s brushtrokes invite us into its surreal nature of that decadence with refreshing tongue in cheek – so let’s take a brain break with our artist du jour on the best holiday we never had…
Sometimes, you do have to pay close attention to clock the oddities of Monreal’s paintings, which are usually painted via iPad. You could be in a perfectly normal bubble bath one minute, only to find a piano playing raccoon in your room the next.
Then there’s the subtler surrealism in, say, a figure fishing from the 3rd floor balcony at the Four Seasons Surf Clubi in Miami, Florida. “Founded in 1930, it became an exclusive hang-out for glamorous figures,” says Monreal on his Instagram, “like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill, who spent his holidays here painting the view.” Rather than paint the sheer glamour of the place, he painted the appeal of ample space – a luxury now, more than ever. It’s one of the things we love most about his works that centre around on water.
We’re also loving his Magritte-inspired work for Gucci, and his animated digital paintings for various luxury brands….
Effortless product placement is hard. It’s even harder in a medium or style that is itself out of place in a glossy magazine, like Monreal’s paintings. Take it from the bygone, 1990s creative team at Coca Cola’s failed dystopian soda: it ain’t easy being #meta. Monreal is somehow able to pull it off with his digital paintbrush, hanging bags like necklaces from the jet black necks of Miyazacki-esque birds with ease.
His street murals also deserve a shout out because we’re 1. very into trompe l’oeil 2. he’s turning advertising billboards into art…
There’s always been something wonderfully indulgent and escapist about fashion, but even more so – much more so – luxury hotel life. Room service. Jacuzzis. Strangers sipping ‘margs poolside, and stranger pets (re: the raccoon). And although Monreal gives us a slightly surreal vision of the hospitality industry, that vision is very much in its best party dress: a vision that keeps up with the times, while waxing nostalgic. Lifestyles of the rich and Instafamous, and Slim Aarons with an iPhone X. The consumption of a life that you won’t live forever, or is lived by a select few. Which is why it becomes so finger-licking good for our inner voyeur.
And with that, we’ll leave you to lock eyes with some tortilla chips:
Learn more about Ignasio Monreal on his website.