Friday, May 20, 2011

ArtTraveler´s Spanish 2011 election collage: "The Socialist Goodie Bag: Variations on a Theme"

"Socialist Goodie Bag 1," collage/image by Stefan van Drake (2011)
Sunday (22 May) Spain votes nationwide in municipal and provincial elections.

It´s the warm-up and litmus test for the national presidential contest of 2012, a bitter battle between the PP—conservatives--and PSOE, socialists.

Other parties battle for power in a typical multi-party coalition free-for-all.
To put it in perspective (I watch only Spanish TV.), it´s a gentleman´s joust compared to the take-no-prisoners recent United States Congressional war.

Today, Felix, the local PSOE  mayoral candidate for Canillas de Albaida, and his wife, Ana, knocked on my door, thinking registered expat voters Patrick and Jane whoever lived here. (Legal residents can register and vote in municipal elections in Spain.)

"Socialist Goodie Bag 2," collage/image by Stefan van Drake (2011)

Felix and Ana were hustling votes door to door in our white-washed, Moorish Andalusian mountain village of about 1,000 people.

I opened the door and much to their surprise—I know them both quite well. They never expected seeing me.

Felix eye-balled his voting list, and then innocuously asked me if these two missing expat voters lived with me. I told him, “Of course not, you know I live alone with 10 cats, mas o menus.”

"Socialist Goodie Bag 3," collage/image by Stefan van Drake (2011)
In our awkward moment, he offered me a handful of goodies, one by one, as if rationing out food or unwrapped presents, each containing its own luster and wonder. 

In the States we call these, once properly packaged in more wasted petroleum products, "goodie bags."

Everyone likes them. They are gifts.

My socialist goodie bag contained:

One red and white, PSOE monogrammed ballpoint pen;

One brochure in English making a series of outrageously wonderful promises, like our own arts center;

One letter to his “neighbours” touting the socialist cause and what I know to be his genuine concern about the future of our little mountain fortress;

"Socialist Goodie Bag 4," collage/image by Stefan van Drake (2011)
Two super-fragile, red plastic key chains, the blunt end of each  a replica of a 50 centime Euro coin you put into a supermarket trolley to release it instead of the real item (completely redundant but smart, wasteful and cute), again emblazoned with the red PSOE logo;

And finally, as though I looked like a kid, a yellow sucker hermetically sealed, one side featuring a red and white PSOE label alerting you to its source.

Regardless of my political leanings, what a damn waste. (I need to try the pen, however, before I come to such a harsh conclusion.)

It´s all part of the game, I´m sure. The PP probably hands out the same stuff only in powder blue.
Bewildered at this array of bits of evolving political history, I suddenly experienced a creative rush to become an avant-garde Scantallationist or Scancollagist. (My new inventions.)

The impact of these items struck me immediately.

Free stuff = found art = installation = contemporary art fame and fortune. Look out Richard Prince, here I come.


"Socialist Goodie Bag 5," collage/image by Stefan van Drake (2011)

But for a moment, the thought failed to escape me in a dream not shared by Larry Gagosian.

What followed is my appropriated assemblage or collage of these bits in 3D, which I call: “The Socialist Goodie Bag: Variations on a Theme.”

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler ™

Visit Andalusia for a walking holiday or week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop. See: and

"Spanish life Stilled," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2009)

Check out ArtTraveler´s video, an interview with Scottish illustrator and painter, Gordon Wilson, about his new "I Love Fish" exhibition, inspired by a commissioned mural he did 12 years ago for a West Glasgow gangster, who loved supporting writers and artists as well as organized crime.

You may reach me at or by calling (34) 915 067 703 or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349

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