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Restaurants lend artists a wall in Denia

BayRadio | October 30, 2020

With nowhere to hang their work, two Irish artists have sparked a symbiotic plan to boost Denia’s COVID-19-restricted economy.

“Everything in here is for sale,” says Marisela, who runs an American smokehouse-cum-antique shop in Denia’s ‘tapas alley’, Carrer de Loreto.

Her California-rooted philosophy mean even elderly Spanish neighbours get a spot to make a few euros off their trinkets and heirlooms.

Marisela calls it a ‘collective economy’ – something that, during these restricted times of COVID-19, could become a lifeline for struggling industries.

Marty and Joe ‘Mullo’ Mulligan are two Irish artists who’ve made their way to the gastronomy-rich ancient city of Denia.

“CreativeRise came from my frustration as an artist, not being able to show my work in galleries shutdown due to COVID-19,” says Mullo.

“There are online galleries, but it’s never the same experience one gets standing in front of an original work of art and talking to the artist.

“We feel the public are also culturally starved at the moment, so we wanted to bring something to the community.”

The concept struck a chord with Marisela and her Black Market BBQ, which she runs with husband Marc Powers (see below).

Marisela’s walls are already full of talking pieces – all for sale – and Mullo’s lockdown-influenced seascapes have slotted right in throughout October.

It is not unusual for cafés to hang artworks on their walls, but what CreativeRise say they bring beyond fine decoration are monthly events to bring some extra footfall to their restaurant partners.

The duo plan to hold up to 12 events a month – Marty’s Halloween event Night of the Living Art at the Black Market BBQ will see audience participation in one of Marty’s stunning portraits.

The team hope to bring more talented artists in and collaborate with a variety of venues, using their creativity to COVID-19-proof a thriving local economy.

And the symbiosis goes further, as Marisela’s husband has Marc clubbed in to offer a mouth-watering menu to pair with the live portrait on Halloween.

“The first dish I made was lamb mince with blackberry to get the dark background of Marty’s portraits, and then a mint and onion marmalade with tomato to get the flecks of colour,” says Marc.

While the Valencian Community remains free of lockdown, you can support these local business fusions in the flesh at the Black Market BBQ and nearby cafe Codigos del Arte.

In the meantime, meet the artists below, and then head over to’s Facebook page to learn more.

Meet the Artists

Marty came to Denia from Dublin three years ago. But it was three years prior to that she moved from painting Viking faces in the eponymous Netflix series, to painting real people on her own canvas. “As a make-up artist, I’m fascinated with faces,” Marty says. To make her work, she turns off the light, using small torches to ‘find what I want in the dark’ with flashes of colour. The effect bends the lines between painting and photograph in a vividly-captured moment.

Marty’s ‘Living Art’ collection will be exhibited at the Black Market BBQ from 31st Oct – 20th Nov.
Open Wed – Sat from 1pm and Sunday lunch. Follow CreativeRise.Co for more info.

“The way I learned, was you get the most exotic ingredient from as away as possible – that was in style. But 25 years on, everything has gone hyper-local,” says Seattle-born Marc Powers, who has served dishes at the Ritz-Carlton in Florida, as well as for former president Clinton. He opened the Black Market BBQ with wife Marisela last year, making ‘food that is home cooked from scratch using local ingredients and original recipes, like our Valencian Orange BBQ sauce or Peach Cobbler from my grandmother’s handwritten cookbook’.
Marc and Maricela’s food can be enjoyed at the Black Market BBQ in Denia alongside Marty’s Living Art exhibition from 31st Oct – 20th Nov.
Open Wed – Sat from 1pm and Sunday lunch.
Follow CreativeRise.Co for more info.

“During lockdown, I went months where I couldn’t get close to the sea, so I started painting it to express my emotions at that time,” says Mullo, a former Animation artist from Ireland whose work can be seen in classics like Pocahantas and Space Jam. Mullo is a man whose artist’s nose is so finely tuned he’s spontaneously invited people in supermarkets to let him draw them. “Everyone takes it as a compliment, most are keen, and 80% always say they’ll be there at my studio,” Mullo says. He moved from London to Denia three years ago, a place he says is well-known for its food, but ‘visually starved’ – save for Spanish master Joaquin Sorolla.

Mullo’s ‘Other People’ exhibition of portraits can be viewed at Codigos del Arte in Denia from 30th Oct – 27th Nov.
Open Tue – Fri from 7 – 10pm.
Follow CreativeRise.Co for more info.

“My passion is to make people enjoy eating food in a healthy way, but not to obligate people to eat vegetarian. However, if they tell me they’ve gone  weeks eating vegetarian after a taste of my cookery, then I’m always amazed how food can change people’s ideas,” says Alena, a Russian chef who came to Denia six years ago. And on the Instagram profile of her Patata Lab catering company, everything is Vegetarian down to the Areca palm leaf plates.”

Alena’s cooking can be enjoyed through her Patata Lab catering business, or accompanying Mullo’s ‘Other People’ exhibition at Codigos del Arte
throughout November.
Follow CreativeRise.Co for more info.

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Written by BayRadio

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