1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I was born in a small city in Spain, called Salamanca. Ever since I can remember I wanted to leave and live in a big city, so I moved to Madrid, then Barcelona, then Amsterdam and as of today, Tokyo.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
It’s hard to say, I used to be an art director for many years and grew used to adapt my aesthetic to the job at hand. That means I tend to adjust my style to the client’s story. This can be a problem for some but I find it also challenging to do every time the same thing, so here’s me changing continously.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I don’t think I have an especific one. I draw a lot by hand with a Pilot Parallel Pen, and then colour it by hand with water colour, but sometimes in Photoshop. Sometimes I would work only in Photoshop, or in Manga Studio, and make it all digital. Other times (when I want to be outside or sitting on the couch) I would just draw on my iPad pro. I like them all and see no real differences (other than the obvious technical ones) between working on one or the other.
4. What is your artistic process like?
I regularly will get a commission and make many questions to get as much information as possible. I prefer to work within limitations instead of having a carte blanche. Once I know who and what the piece is for, I make some rough sketches and show them to the client, once one is chose I continue to work on it. But for me it is all about the process, the roughs sometimes become very unaltered the final drawings. Sometimes I change them so much that it’s hard to say where they came from. I see it as a living thing, it is a seed first, and then it can end as a palm tree or as a geranium.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Many artists out there, but the world is really my inspiration. I like to talk to random people and get stories from them that will help me build my work. Also there’s so much out there, specially in Tokyo where I live, there’s so many layers, colours, shapes that trigger my imagination. It could be a wrapping from a cookie or someone’s outfit in the train, anything can be inspiring really.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
I said before that for me, work is like breathing. I don’t see myself not working as I do it all the time but also never; if I have breakfast, I will draw it first but sometimes I make drawings with the jam on the toast. Or in the shower, I will play with the foam to create shapes on the wall that influence the job I am thinking to be doing that day… It’s all connected and intertwined, I don’t see it as two things: work vs life but it’s all one.
7. Where did you study?
I started in a small art school in my home town, then 2 years in Madrid and 1 in Groningen (North of The Netherlands). This has influenced me enourmosly. In my hometown we had a very classical approach to drawing and learn also things like working the metal or making ceramics. In Madrid I learned a lot about graphic design basics and was in the class with people who already had jobs, so we learned a lot of “real life” stuff. And in The Netherlands I learned about type and how to think conceptually, using your knowledge as a person and apply it when you design. All this made me pursue mainly editorial design, where there’s a balance between the story and the way it looks. The form is always in service of the story and of the reader, one helps the other. This formed me as the art director I would become later.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
No. I have been through most stages as a designer (junior, senior, creative director…) and now I am back to zero being merely an illustrator. Someone who creates images. This is a fantastic, fresh and libarating place to be. I just want to become better at it, make better work. So I guess in 5 years I want to be in the same position but being much better at it.
9. What about in ten?
Once I read about Hokusai telling this:
“From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.”
I think I am now in the stage of when he was fifty… Still have a long way to go.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Have people dream. Too many people around me is buts about measurements. They count days, calories, steps… everything seems to be prone to measurement nowadays. I think humans should count less and enjoy things more. All things that matter are not countable. The smell of a flower, how your favorite girl (or boy) moves her hands, the tone of your mother’s voice… all this is what I am interested in: uncountable, intangible and invisible things (that obviously aren’t even things). I try desperately to portray these in my work in one way or another, sometimes evoke them, sometimes trying to show them. It’s a huge challenge which I will never achieve, but trying keeps me entertained.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Thai food. I can have it any time. Love the way it smells like flowers. Of course Japanese spring and summer food too. Pork… Tonkatsu is my weak point. And paella with flan for dessert.
12. Favourite book?
Ugh… Hard one… so many… Anything from Eduardo Mendoza. City of Marvels is probably his best.
13. Favourite genre of music?
Movie soundtracks, jazz and flamenco. Tango! Anything but regaae. I hate bloody reggae.
14. What are your hobbies?
What’s that? See question 6. Hobbie is an invention for those who don’t like their jobs.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Maybe a bookseller. Or sweeping streets. Or selling flowers. Never mind what I would be. I would definitely make sure I put all my heart and passion into it. Any job is good if you love to do it.