I was born in Malaga, a city on the Costa del Sol.
Playing in the street was necessary, feeling the salt of the sea almost obligatory, and Picasso was a God in the city (may Antonio Banderas forgive me).
The house where he was born.
Schools with his name.
Streets with his works.
A new museum just for him.
Even if you come by plane to Malaga, the airport welcomes you with his name.
It is clear that at school Picasso was a source of pride, the most international Malagueño.
The Malagueño who changed the history of art.
A Malagueño, who referred to his roots, even though he no longer lived there.
And I was a child, and children aspire to be like their idols, in my school children wanted to be Ronaldo, the footballer, who was not called Cristiano.
I didn’t want to be Ronaldo, nor Pablo Picasso, I wanted to be Joaquín Cortes.
Perhaps, unconsciously, that was my first contact with art.
Because Joaquín Cortes is a dancer.
And I used to tap my feet in the kitchen of my house, while my mother applauded me and in a little archaic way I danced flamenco.
Life goes on, and I did not grow up in a circle around painting.
But I was sensitive to art.
Everything provokes in me the same thing that Cortes provoked in me.
The feeling of being alive and wanting to investigate more.
I began to make small doodles, very far from the reality I saw.
I didn’t know how to paint and I just wanted to record on small sheets of paper the things I saw.
Evidently my grades in drawing or plastic arts were not the best.
You can’t choose art, it has to choose you.
And life is about choices.
And doing things you thought you couldn’t do.
I moved to Stuttgart in 2012.
I felt the curiosity of the new.
The first time I saw snow.
The first time I rode the subway to work.
Germany was a box of feelings and new anecdotes for me and that motivated me to keep making little doodles of everything that surprised me.
Schlossgarten and its trees.
The black forest.
And suddenly, as if the weather (and the cold) of a 2016 winter will lead me that way.
I needed a canvas.
I remember being nervous.
I wanted to buy a canvas.
I walked into the art store, where I felt out of place, as I thought it was a place reserved for artists.
I asked for a canvas.
My heart was pounding, I didn’t know anything. But I was completely happy to do it.
I bought my first canvas.
I started painting silhouettes, lines that blended, in a very rudimentary way, with each other.
People who loved each other, and who, contrary to the world we live in, remain together forever.
Black lines on a white canvas.
And the time came when lines were not enough.
Lines tie you down and take away your freedom.
I needed more color, I needed to remove the lines.
I needed freedom.
And that’s how I started doing portraits of people.
Each one with its own story.
Stories of happiness and sadness.
Stories of love and heartbreak.
Secret stories and secrets that I want to be known.
Explaining feelings through painting, through colors and their shapes.
Everything is allowed, nothing is fixed.
And it is at that moment, when I put my finger on the canvas, where I find what I always long for and need.
My being Joaquín Cortés in the kitchen with my mother.