The two artists in front of one of Inma's pieces of art. SUR
Pursuing a dream from London to Álora
Art retreat

Pursuing a dream from London to Álora

Arts Infinitum is a new project where students can learn the art of creation during bilingual workshops run by established tutors in Malaga province

Tony Bryant


Friday, 15 December 2023, 16:28


Two London-based artists who set up home in Malaga just six months ago have launched an ambitious project that will offer art students the opportunity to learn from those that master the creative process and have a proven record of guiding and training others in the art of creation.

As artists, Troy Edwards-Finlayson (43) and Inma García Carrasco (50) understand how essential it is to learn from the masters of painting and drawing, so they have opened the Arts Infinitum art retreat in Álora, a project that originated from a passion for art. The couple have created a space where, in a "context of nature, peace and abstraction from the outside world", artists can learn and inspire each other.

The Arts Infinitum retreat in Álora offers natural light and plenty of inspiration for art students.
The Arts Infinitum retreat in Álora offers natural light and plenty of inspiration for art students. SUR

Troy, who was born in south London, met Malaga-born Inma in the UK. Inma had worked in London for 15 years, and the couple met in an art shop in London while they were both having some of their work framed, although they never got together as a couple until five years later.

They decided to relocate to Malaga after Inma was offered an attractive job opportunity, and Troy jumped at the idea of heading to Spain. They arrived in Malaga at the start of this summer, and they soon began working on their project.

"I didn't even hesitate, I just thought, let's go. We decided that we wanted to do something together, and we saw opportunities here that were not available in the UK. We had been thinking about this since we first got together, so once we arrived in Malaga, we decided to pursue our dream and go all the way with it," Troy explained to SUR in English.

The couple, who are based in Malaga city, began to look for suitable premises that could be used as an artists' retreat. They found a "beautiful house" in Álora, which has room for 15 art students.

"We will see how it goes, because it will be trial and error at first, but hopefully we can build on the project and offer several courses a year. We will have the bonus of the weather, which we didn't have in the UK. The villa and the surroundings are absolutely incredible, with panoramic views which offer so much natural light. We have designed two key spaces where artists can work outdoors. It's absolutely incredible," Troy said, excitedly.

The couple have hired a chef from the UK who specialises in vegetarian and vegan food, and they will also offer an airport shuttle service for people who travel from the UK.

Another part of the week-long courses are day trips to different Malaga art galleries and museums. As well, they have secured the services of "the incredible Colombian painter", Nicolás Uribe, who, along with Inma, will be one of the centre's tutors. Inma had participated in a couple of the Colombian artist's classes in the UK and in Italy, and she became very good friends with him, so he was the first person the couple thought of when deciding on a tutor.

"Basically, we just want to have everything covered so that the students don't have to think about anything else other than focusing on their art. The picturesque surroundings of the villa will be very inspiring. It will offer a great learning experience, as we will have some of the best tutors, especially Nicolás Uribe, who is absolutely phenomenal."

Individual exhibitions

The couple are also hoping to hold individual art exhibitions of their own work. Both are currently working on new collections, which they are hoping to show in Malaga next year.

Troy's body of work is heavily inspired by his life, which he claims is spoiled with love and education from so many "strong black women"; and encouraged by the teachings and support of his father, who had spent his entire life fighting in the UK's black freedom struggles.

Inma's work focuses on the inner world of human emotions. Her paintings represent feelings of joy, intimacy, conflict and peace inspired by an experience or a dream, a desire, a moment of curiosity or simply the need to preserve a beautiful image that has caught her attention.

Troy and Inma participated in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year programme in 2018, which Troy described as "an interesting experience, although super intense".

For the meantime, Troy, who says he was "never that sharp academically", will spend much of his time brushing up on his Spanish, which, he says, is his "main goal".

"My process is a little slow, because I have to understand the why of how something works. I guess it's very similar to the way I produce my artwork. I need to understand everything to the finest detail, and I tend to ask a lot more questions than is usual, because I need to understand the mechanics of something to actually process it," he concluded.

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