The artist in his studio, a self portrait by Caminante.
Oil on black canvas, 120 x 90 cm / 47.2 x 35.4 in
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Caminante identity in 2017.

People who live according to their society rules, gladly walk the road which was paved for them, however, individuals who don’t fit into this structure, need to make their own path.
I chose a Spanish phrase as the title of this post, because I don’t like any of its English translations. “Walker, there is no road, you make the road by walking” is neither as poetic nor as strong as: “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.” This Spanish poetic phrase, which is so deeply rooted in my conscious and culture, represents a life philosophy that I embrace as a human being and as an artist. So this is why I named myself Caminante, and as Caminante I was more experimental than most of my previous identities. Influenced by my surroundings and special circumstances, I painted my own path.
I have always loved the song “The woman that is with me“, a very popular song in Hebrew, performed by the gifted Israeli guitarist and singer David Broza. In one of my solo trips to the Dominican Republic, in a small village in the mountains near Constanza, old speakers which were placed outside a tiny grocery store played my favorite song, however, this time it was in Spanish. I asked the grocer if he knows the singer, and he replied: “Of course (Claro que si…) it is Joan Manuel Serrat.” Upon my return, a quick web search lead me to the Spanish performer, his story, and many of his songs.
I often listen to music while I paint, and ever since I discovered his music, Joan Manuel Serrat became one of my companions, along with a group of other Latin musicians, whom I usually refer to as “The musicians of my childhood”. Not true, but that’s how I feel.
Joan Manuel Serrat has a good voice. Perhaps not as tender as the voice of Julio Iglesias, and not the voice of an Angel like Caetano Veloso. However, as opposed to them, he sounds more down to earth, like a good man, singing about life, love, and about his journey. I love many of his songs and the atmosphere they bring into my studio. I heard the song “Caminante, no hay camino” quite a few times before I really listened to its words. I initially thought it sounds quite “Antique”. Then, gradually, I fell in love with both its message and the simplicity through which it is being transmitted. It was written by the Spanish poet Antonio Machado around 1912, then in 1969 it was composed and performed by Joan Manuel Serrat in an album entirely dedicated to the Spanish poet.
Some of the English words that show up in the English dictionary for Caminante are: traveler, walker, wayfarer. However, to me, the word itself means much more. It summarizes my story, my ongoing journey, my passion for hiking, and the adventurous lifestyle I have pursued ever since I was a teenager. Caminante is one of the words which describes well my simple spiritual approach to life. Caminante is who I am.
The most significant elements of my life did not just happen to me, I made them happen. I have been making my own paths long before I became familiar with this song, and I still make my own path today. I don’t wait for any approval or support, I just do it. However, when I listen to “Caminante”, it encourages me, and maybe even provides the extra dose of courage which is always needed in my journeys. Someone wrote a song so long ago and it strengthens me today. How inspiring.