Falla de Ayuntamiento
Interview with Manolo García, Artista Fallero for this year’s Falla de Ayuntamiento. Manolo García’s artistic carpentry dazzled audiences with his DaVinci for Na Jordana in 2012 and again with the Trojan Horse last year. García’s workshop is known in the profession for his use of wood, a traditional falla element that he puts to creative and innovative new ends, and for his grandiose and classical subjects. This year he’s working on both the Nou Campanar and Ayuntamiento’s fallas. I sat down with him to find out more about his work and the technique behind the grand art monuments that he builds, the centerpieces of Fallas. How did you get into the profession of making fallas? I got started at the age of 12 as an apprentice painting in the workshop of José Molla. I've always been a fallero, and as a kid who lived near the Ciutat Artista I had always been curious about their work. I became an artistic carpenter, joining the Artists’ Guild in 1977 at the age of 18, working for decades in a variety of artistic carpentry workshops in the Ciutat. I collaborated on Molla’s “David de Miguel Ángel” for the Ayuntamiento in the 1990s and on the “Gitana” for the 1992 Sevilla Expo, among other notable works.
What is the process, from the initial concept to its final execution and cremà, for making a falla? How has this process changed in the years you’ve been working in the business? It starts with a concept sketch (“boceto”). Once a casal accepts the concept, my team of 10 carpenters will spend months building the wooden structure, and I sometimes hire up to 20 or 30 workers depending on the size of the project. (Some fallas are so large, they have to be cut just to get them out of the workshop for la plantà.) According to Manolo, the biggest change is that now with polystyrene (what they refer to as “corcho”), the detailed facades of a falla (the face of DaVinci or Moses, for example, grafted onto the structure) can be designed in CAD in the computer, printed out by 3D robot printers, and then painted by specialist painters, cutting out much of the work done before by the sculptor. Manolo’s workshop contributes the wood carpentry for the structure, and the wood sculptures.
Above: Manolo García workshop, with the 2014 Nou Campanar ‘Las meninas’ Falla Right: Manolo García and coworker pictured with the 2014 Nou Campanar ‘Las meninas’ Falla