Laia and Mireia
LOCAL INSIDERS: LAIA AND MIREIA
It is hard to separate basketball from culture. Unlike many other sports, basketball has a distinct ability to be able to mix the on-court with the off-court, whether it be through art, music, or fashion. We celebrate those who are in the middle of this crossover, and what follows are two of Europe’s best when it comes to their efforts to Raise the Game.
We have two of Barcelona’s best creatives going head-to-head, as they will paint six custom NBA balls, inspired by franchise cities. Laia and Mireia have both been ingrained in basketball culture in Barcelona, and now in this city showdown will get the chance to combine their love of both art and hoops with a unique canvas neither gets to use too often. Ahead of the showdown, we caught up with Laia and Mireia one-on-one.
From the age of 14 years old, Laia has created her art and now, 22 years later, she still doesn’t feel any closer to stopping.
Inspired by her hometown Barcelona, a city that never sleeps and is always on the go, where you must adapt to survive, Laia’s vibrant, colourful, graffiti helps people take a momentary pause in their busy lives. “I like to think that people smile when they see my things,” she enthuses.
Sunday trips to the basketball courts with her father as a youngster and countless hours working on her game at school have made it clear to her the links between art and the game. “I think there are many connections,” she said. “Hard work, learning, being part of teams, playing fair or playing dirty, competitiveness, having your team, making friends.”
With her favourite city being New York due to the diversity and eclectic nature of the shops and architecture, the ‘mecca’ of graffiti has helped spark her creativity and push the boundaries to raise the game of her artwork.
Without the backing of her family to pursue fine arts, Mireia made the switch to graphic design thanks to an encouraging teacher and hasn’t looked back since. A visual and plastic artist, by her own admission she is ‘obsessed’ with colour and geometry in particular, and the city of Barcelona helps influence her state of mind that is reflected in her work.
Paint is her preferred medium, but anything can serve as her canvas. “I create from paint, on any surface,” she reflected. “From a canvas, the most common, but also on objects such as vases, chairs, balls or any surface where paint is applicable.”
Mireia believes art and basketball draw parallels from one another, especially when it comes to connecting with an audience. “Basketball on a court and art in the streets or in an exhibition, communities feel the passion of the athlete and the artist,” she said. “The way of expressing themselves is different, one uses sports and the other uses paint, but both seek to evoke feelings from the spectator”. And we have no doubt Mireia’s ball design will do exactly that.