Instagram: @pilartorcal

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I was born in the late eighties in Barcelona. I come from a half Andalusian half Aragonese family so —on a stereotypical level— I’m supposed to be generous, funny and stubborn. 

As a kid, my favorite times were always spent during summer, listening to music, dancing, eating ice cream, spending full days at the beach and also hiding everywhere we’d go! I was always the kid they were looking for in department stores and malls! I grew up listening to lots of rumba, flamenco and also lots of English music —The Beatles, Nat King Cole, Nancy Sinatra… and a lot of Italian music too. I did gymnastics for almost all my childhood and was always watching sports on TV with my dad. Pete Sampras was my first man crush, and soccer player Romario! 

Long story super short and professionally wise, I started out as an account executive in advertising agencies in Barcelona, moved to editorial and print design first in Barcelona and later on in Brooklyn. I focused on digital design for a few years there too and moved back to the motherland two years ago to start my own practise as an independent designer and illustrator. 

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I love minimal, bold compositions and lines and more detailed ones as well, for both design and illustration. Bold colors are always part of my mix of ingredients. 

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

Anything that gets to people. I would love to do more murals and big format pieces to get to more people at the same time, for example. Or do more physical objects, 3D and actual figures. I don’t have a preference other than that, I see everything as design, whether it’s a small screen, a book or a huge wall. 

4. What is your artistic process like?

I always try to define the problem properly and see what custom solutions I can give, look for inspiration to see how other people have solved that problem before, what could be an inspiring way of solving it… then usually lots of sketches or maybe I marry to an idea from the beginning… My eyes always roll when I hear people saying “never stick to your first idea,” I say DO IT. That’s normally your gut talking, I believe. The society men have ruled up for the most part in our history as we know it, and that we currently live in taught us to not to listen to it. It’s all nature, why should you go against it? 

There’s always a massive amount of self-doubt, comparison and anxiety that goes in this process. I tend to end up thanking my fears for showing up and trying for me to stay “safe,” then move on with life and my vision. 

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

Everything. Life keeps on giving in every second and I believe “creativity” is everywhere and ever flowing, sorry for the cliché. 

Sure, I do love to spend time on Pinterest, Behance, the usual “fast food” of inspiration, but I also love to walk around the city and see how other people live and do. Internet & in these days Instagram, has been both a blessing and a curse in this case, you see aesthetics typical from the States in a hairdresser based in an old neighborhood in Barcelona, and I get it, I benefit from it too, but we’re losing the preciousness of the local way of doing. 

My friends are also a big source of inspiration, I always prefer to feel like I’m the “stupid/less skilled/less successful” friend and hear them talk, see their work, learn from their experience.  

Japanese everything too, their graphic design and illustration always makes me melt. Kumi Sugai, Shigeo Fukuda, and on a more contemporary note, Shun Sasaki, Ryo Takemasa. Other heroes of mine from our time are forever Olimpia Zagnoli, Lotta Nieminen, Karan Singh, Malika Favre, Marylou Faure, Brosmind brothers, Hattie Stewart, Ricardo Cavolo… I could keep going. Favorite icon designer is by far Tim Boelaars, that guy is so good. 

Es Devlin is definitely one of my biggest role models and inspiring figures. I loved her work before I knew who was behind it and then when I discovered her it was like having a really nice shower… of inspiration! 

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art and beauty is what I breathe, eat, wear, listen to, get turned on by and enjoy in every level. 


7. Where did you study?

I first studied Advertising and PR at the University of Barcelona. I finished in 2008, right when the crisis started, good times… After that, I took a Masters Degree in Graphic Design in Elisava and my mind was blown away, my teachers told me I needed to “see more”. It took me forever to get my head in the studios as obviously coming from Advertising is like you have ebola for graphic designers here, but somehow made it to a small editorial studio owned by a couple of Argentinians right next to the cathedral. During that time, I somehow managed to crash at my parents 25th year anniversary trip to NYC and two years later I was there taking a few Continuing Education courses at SVA. It was one of the best summers of my life. 

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Who knows! My wish is to grow more and consolidate myself both as an illustrator and designer, do creative direction as well for clients that inspire me. I’d love to work with light, design visuals for fashion shows, storefronts, stage design and yes, do more big format design. Wherever I am, I hope to keep growing my network of creative minds and collaborate with other disciplines. 

9. What about in ten?

I hope I’m healthy and appearance wise I wish I look like JLo!  I have lots of entrepreneurial ideas and wonder if I’ll try to move that way as well or do it through my own studio. I always ask whatever force is guiding us to use me, to speak through me, whatever shape or form that has, I hope I’m brave enough to be doing that. 

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

Making someone’s day better, amazing. Complement a beautiful text. And being a bit ambitious, to show that you can do literally anything you set yourself for in life. I’ve had people I care for tell me to stop doing this, that I’m not good enough, that freelancing is too risky… I say when someone hasn’t been somewhere, they cannot teach you how to get there. 


11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I realized at some point that I eat with my eyes… so pretty much anything beautiful, I’ll eat! Also anything my mother cooks! and sushi, I literally can have sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also love breakfast food even though I’m just realizing I haven’t eaten pancakes in… two years! I love food in general and I love cooking when I have time. Cooking a meal for people I love is my kind of food, too. 

12. Favourite book?

Difficult to pick one… I’d say “The Solitude of Prime Numbers” by Paolo Giordano, or “The Museum of Innocence” by Orhan Pamuk. I recently got recommended “Pussy, a reclamation” by Regena Thomashauer and it has rocked my world.  

13. Favourite genre of music? 

Beyoncé.  Anything (that I think is) good, I’m super eclectic and can listen to Brian Eno, The Kinks and Gigi D’Agostino on the same day. Hip hop has always had a sweet spot for me, though. I’ve gone through all the periods a person can go through music wise, and I’m also greatly influenced by my friends and lovers taste. With the whole covid nightmare, I miss live music more than anything, though. 

14. What are your hobbies? 

Meditation is a hobby? I do it every day, can’t live without it. I really love working out too. Dancing, singing in the shower, watching movies, riding motorcycles. Sleeping! Traveling, for sure… hopefully can do that again soon. 

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Definitely a Soulcycle instructor. If my voice was a bit better, I’d tell you that a singer. As a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist too, I was so fascinated with Egypt’s history. Sometimes I wonder if I should study Psychology, but I’m too empathetic for that.