There’s no missing Joan Aguiló’s street art on Mallorca. His murals of everyday life stretch skyward on more than 100 buildings across the island. In his large-scale tableaus, children frolic on the beach, blow out birthday candles and hold hands in dance class. Elders exchange gossip and stroll along the same street in Old Town Palma that they frequented for years.
A classically trained painter who first worked at an atelier, Aguiló was initially timid about taking his art to the streets. “I spent three hours agonizing over whether to put my real name or a pseudonym on my first work,” he says. “I was afraid of the police. But in the end, I put my real name because I thought it was more honest.”
Honesty was the best policy; his paintings were widely praised, and he was soon sought out for commissions by hotels and other businesses. He often scouts out locations for his next canvas during strolls around the capital. “It’s such a beautiful area,” he says. “And at night, Palma is a magical place. Our old buildings make you feel like you are on a stage. I like to think my art adds to the experience of that place.”
What drew you to street art? I could work in the community, outside of the studio, and connect directly with the people.
Who are your models? I’ve painted a lot of my family: my brother, mom, cousins. But my paintings reflect how a lot of people live on Mallorca.
Why is the summer season—particularly swimming and the beach—a recurring theme in your works? In Mallorca, people love the summertime. It’s when they have time to themselves. The colors I use—blues, greens, light brown—are the palette we have here in Mallorca.
Joan Aguiló’s A-List for Mallorca
Lluis Perez Pastisser (Palma): Lluis is a young pastry chef who has turned traditional desserts into art.
Es Celler (Petra): Aubergine rellenes (stuffed eggplant) is one of my favorite dishes at this celler, which is what a traditional restaurant is called on Mallorca.
Ca Na Toneta (Caimari): This restaurant in the heart of Mallorca follows the rhythm of the seasons in its dishes.
Ca los Camps (Artà): This small beach is very quiet and pretty, with natural shadows and crystal-clear waters.