Bárbara & Sergio

Bárbara Santa-Cruz and Sergio de Arrola

At their homes and studio in Madrid, Spain.

Bárbara and Sergio share two idyllic spaces in Madrid. The first is Sergio's apartment, which is surrounded by charming village-like houses in the north of the city. The basement functions as a studio. Most of the space in the room is taken up with Sergio's large format printer. He used it to create vast canvases on paper to decorate abandoned doorways and billboard spaces in downtown neighborhoods, such as Malasaña and Chueca. The studio also hosts a tiny photo lab where he develops analog black and white photographs, his favorite format.

Sergio is one of those unique artists who somehow manages to capture depth in a portrait, while truly engaging with his subject. Over the past few years, he has chronicled his journeys on his bike, the first of which took him from Brooklyn, NY, to Venice Beach, CA, and resulted in a raw approach to his American encounters. He is now immersed in developing camera rolls containing thousands of images from his most recent journey: cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. The details of this trip will also be documented in a book. 

Bárbara's apartment, by contrast, is situated right in the center of old Madrid. It is filled with religious paraphernalia sandwiched between her collection of antique books and family pictures. A couple of intriguing paintings from her parents' home take their rightful place alongside some of Sergio's black and white photos. 

When we meet, Barbara is sitting poring over a film script. She likes the writer and hopes to get snagged for the role. We briefly discuss the uncertainty of the film industry, but her approach is so intelligently focused that she actually seems to enjoy the inevitable ups and downs of the acting business. She knows a thing or two about the requirements of emotional control for a working actress, and has performed in diverse projects, from film to theater to improvisation.

To see the two of them interact is captivating, because they are both clearly so passionate and engaged in their collective vision of following their dreams. They travel, they work, and they hustle. Their next step will be to move in together; one gets the feeling it will happen at precisely the right moment.


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