"I took this situation as a moment to stop for a while and take some days off," Javier Calleja tells us from his home in Malaga, Spain when we checked with him about a week ago for Art in Uncertain Times. "In the last 4 years I couldn’t make enough time for the holidays or to relax." While  his studio is literally locked up,  the artist is spending days and nights in the company of his wife, Alicia Gutierrez Marmol, and their 3 cats, Günter Gambita, Pegatina, and Manolito Blanquito Cantimploro. "Javi has been working at home on all kinds of things that he has been postponing and couldn't get around to normally," Gutierrez Marmol tells us about the projects her husband has rediscovered. "He also contributed to a couple of charity projects, such as a book for a children's hospital in Montreal and released a limited edition figure that raised the money for the local hospital."


javier calleja06 Last painting finished before the lockdown
Surrounded by an impressive art collection that includes works by David Shrigley, Sorayama, KAWS, Marion Peck, Mark Ryden, Parra, and Yoshitomo Nara, the artist's days are filled with enjoying quiet time at home and slowly developing upcoming projects. “I have resumed a few projects that I couldn’t dedicate all the time that I wanted and now can think more about," he tells us about adapting to the new situation. "Also, now I have some projects with different brands for the next two years and now I can work more thoroughly on them.” Although life around them is frighteningly quiet and slow, especially for a Mediterranean country known for its lively and energetic culture, the artist has been able to find a silver lining in the situation. “I feel lucky we have health and work," he acknowledges, “and now I can cook, watch series, sleep a bit longer, and spend more time at home with my cats and Alicia.”

javier calleja13 Alicias home office

A few weeks ago, the artist talked with his gallerist at Nanzuka Underground in Tokyo, and they decided to release the next colorway of Do Not Touch figure earlier to help raise funds for a local hospital. “Alicia and I realized that the situation in Spain is being very complicated and thought we had to help in some way. Every year we collaborate with 2 or 3 charities, and this time the help had to be bigger." Part of the proceeds from the sale was directed straight to purchase 200,000 face masks for Malaga. "The situation in Spain is still very weird and it is our responsibility to help."

When asked what hopes to resume from the "old life", Calleja answers without hesitation, "I miss walks by the beach, drinking beers with friends, and spending time at my studio. But I am pretty sure we will be able to resume our normal life sooner than we expect!”