"Substantia" releases creativity as freedom: no boundaries, unlimited. Pure creative violence that summarizes a showcase that gathers all the margins of creativity. For that reason, "Substantia" needs no prefaces. Leave yourselves trapped in its essence.
Joshua CairÃ³s interviewed at Canarias CreativaINTERVIEW - September 6, 2012
Our artist Joshua Cairós has been interviewed at the Spanish website Canarias Creativa. You can read the interesting interview by clicking here (Spanish only).
Exclusive Interview with Andrea MelÃ©ndezINTERVIEW - July 11, 2012
We are pleased to interview Andrea Meléndez, a photographer who loves monochrome and one of the oldest members of the collective. Tell us something about you. I studied Art and Visual Communication. I love photography, illustration, music, cats, art history, chocolate and all things weird, dark, ugly and old. I was part of three exhibitions in Costa Rica, including ‘Realidades’ [Realities] in the National Museum of Costa Rica and ‘Expofoto Edición 2011’, where my photographs were used as part of the event’s publicity. What inspires you when creating your works? This question creates some sort of inner conflict between my academic background and my personal, more subjective experience. I studied a career in art and Visual Communication with an emphasis in Graphic Design. Throughout my studies, I was continuously told that inspiration didn’t exist and that designers shouldn’t state they were ‘inspired’ when creating a certain work. That was understandable if we consider that design is based on using one’s own knowledge to satisfy a certain need in terms of communication; if it doesn’t convey the original message, it’s simply worthless and you can speak of a bad designer. Art, however, is not necessarily that objective. All the theory I learnt in university lost its validity once I started creating images like the ones I do today. Without the fear of asking myself what my old teachers would say if they heard me, I can say now that inspiration is certainly there and that’s what I feel when I get carried away creating an image. I am not afraid to confess that I’m profoundly inspired by sadness, the disturbing, the bleak and macabre, death and nostalgia, the sublime, music, melancholy, black and white cinema, the ugly and bizarre, nightmares... only to name a few. How did you start developing as an artist? I studied Art and Visual Communication in College, with an emphasis in Graphic Design, and also one in painting, which I didn’t finish. About one year later I started feeling really attracted to photography. At first I wasn’t trying to convey a message, it was simply some sort of personal therapy or catharsis, I took the photographs for myself and to strengthen my feelings, and I didn’t share them. That’s when I joined a couple of websites for people to share their art. At first I didn’t upload anything, I simply observed, but then I became enthusiastic when I looked at other people’s comments and at the interest that my images produced. I also had the opportunity to be in contact and be inspired by other artists. A voice inside my head started telling me that I had to be like them, that I had to improve my technique to convey clearer messages: my feelings, sorrows and emotions. It was a duty, an order that I couldn’t resist back then and which still drives me today. How would you define your style? It is capricious, it has a life of its own, it doesn’t listen to me and I’m possessed by it… it sometimes jumps out of my head and it’s dirty, rough, bizarre, shocking to the eye, unpleasant, very noisy and damaged. But sometimes it surprises me and it is only silence, nostalgia, emptiness, and quietness, like a grey and gloomy aroma that becomes ethereal or ghostly. Are you working on any personal projects? Yes, I’m currently working on several things; I’m addicted to being occupied. My time is divided between several projects. The first is alternative (or opposed, really) to photography; it has to do with illustration for children (http://www.wix.com/ochobotas/ochobotas) and it has allowed me to create my own little illustration studio. The second one is a constant project of photographs taken with a cellphone and which remain unedited (http://diarioparaelcamino.blogspot.com ) and the last one is the sporadic production of personal photography ((http://pesadillanostalgia.tumblr.com/). One of the most impressive pieces you’ve presented to the collective is “Abrenuntio”. Could you explain the story behind it? I can begin by explaining the last thing I defined, which was the title. Abrenuntio refers to the act of giving up or refusing to something. The image can be interpreted in different ways, so I’d rather not explain too much of what I had in mind; I can say, however, that the character is not satisfied with its own specific situation. She is aware of this and expresses her discomfort until she decides to give up and leave. The scene has no major post work; rather, the elements were already in place at the time the shot was taken. It is the captured motion and the expressiveness of the interaction between both characters that make the sequence interesting. I’d like to show an image that I used as a base for the placement of the elements and attitudes, especially of the first shot. It is a representation of Virgin Mary and her “son” Jesus in their usual positions: (http://i916.photobucket.com/albums/ad5/andreamelendez/Pinturicchio_Virgen_con_nintildeo_Ashmolean_Museum.jpg). Note the slight resemblance between the position of the hand, the expression of the face and the way the child is being held. I hope this works as a guide or as a cause of debate about the viewer’s interpretation of the image. What is your method when editing your photographs? Now that you mention it, post work in my images is fundamental, inevitable and necessary. I think the image obtained directly from the camera is simply a small part, a starting point, not a final piece. I have never agreed with the view that condemns the editing of photographs. None of my shots is final; each of them has the potential for being a means and not an unalterable end. I think it would be a waste not to make use of what technology offers in favor of communication. I sometimes create scenes in my head, which are inspired by emotions or objects, then look for the camera and try to capture something similar to what I’m trying to express. But it doesn’t end there: magic is only beginning because it is then that I look through the shots obtained (sometimes three hundred or more) and I connect with one only, the one that invites me to invade it, explore it, manipulate it, exploit it, attack it, or change it. It is an impulse that I enjoy, and which I do not abandon until I can call it finished. It is a metaphorical ritual in which I can change reality, seeing the picture like a piece of it, a part of a frozen world, enjoying that I can change it however I want; I can create a nightmare from the fragment of reality, trapped in the picture, and that is unbeatable. I'm able to change the world, to edit it to my own liking and that is pure magic. I can’t say that I have a definite method; it is rather impulsive and exclusive to each moment. The only thing that is constant is the strong use of textures superposed to the images. Are most of your photographs self-portraits? Yes, most of them are, but I don’t like to call them like that, since I don’t feel that I’m strictly capturing myself. I don’t mean it to be evident that it’s me in the pictures; I like to think of myself as another tool that helps build the final image, something like the pigments to the painter. The figure captured by the camera is just a character, a part of the final piece. What is for you the most important thing of being part of an art collective? I think it’s important for several reasons. The growth you gain from constructive critique, having contact with the creative process of other artists –from the moment an idea is conceived all the way to the finished product–, and the personal motivation derived from competition as well as working as a team to achieve common goals. Which do you think is the best piece you’ve presented with the collective? Can you explain it? I don’t think I have a best piece, because each one was unique at the time and for the idea it was created. I’d say, however, that “Credo, quia absurdum” (http://www.hystericalminds.com/viewer.php?id=44) has congruency between what I wanted to tell myself, the final image and what is perceived by the viewers. The shot captured the essence of my idea from the moment it was taken. The composition is simple and there’s no major post work, the elements that appear in the image were really there, none of them was added or modified later. I had the idea, looked for the necessary elements, composed the image and captured it with the camera. It expresses exactly what I wanted to say. How do you see Hysterical Mind’s future? I joined the group almost two years ago, and I’ve seen the quality of the woks grow immensely since then. I've seen artists join Hysterical Minds who I admired even before, deeply touched by their creations, such as Marcela Bolívar, Santiago Caruso, Tony Sandoval and Mario S. Nevado, in an extremely short time. If the collective has grown enough as to draw attention from these great creators and it keeps going at its current pace, I think Hysterical Mind’s future is really promising. What do you think of the current art scene? I love it. It is a giant rapidly growing in all directions. The new technologies and the flow of communication thanks to the Internet allows us to see the brushstrokes of someone on the other side of the world in a matter of seconds. There are a number of ways to be self-taught, it is within the reach of anyone; you can have contact with the works of a thousand different creators and each and every one of them with impeccable technical (and sometimes also conceptual) skill. There are lots of ways to show your work, markets to sell it or promote it, thousands of new creators exposed each day –and thousands still in the process– due to the flow of information and tendencies. I think the current art scene is not hindering anyone, not the critics, the conservatives, the museums, the mummies or the oldest institutions within the art world. What pros and cons do you find in the artistic promotion through the Internet? If you are good you will be copied, ripped, quoted, interviewed, criticized or attacked independently of whether you show your art on the Internet, the MOMA or a wall in your neighborhood. It is a peculiar situation. The safety of intellectual property is very questionable nowadays. Nonetheless, having the opportunity to show your work through the Internet is a window that opens many possibilities both to amateurs like me and to masters of different disciplines. The fact that your work can be seen in Germany, France, Argentina, El Salvador, Chile or Croatia, with so much as a click of your mouse, is very positive. I have personally found my way because of this tool; up to this point I haven’t had any copyright issues or problems of the sort, but I have been contacted by people interested in my work and I have been published both in Europe and South America, something that I wouldn’t have achieved in 30 years had I feared to promote my work this way. Do you think the role of art is more or less relevant to society given the current situation? I don’t think it’s that important. At least the type of art that defined with academic terminology, the one exposed in museums, auctions, biennials or fairs. I think art nowadays is selfish, it can be relevant for a particular individual but not for today’s societies, which are so globalized. Art has lost its power as a communicative means. It cannot be made to reach so many people as to say that it has considerable influence or that it is something ‘important to society’. Because, in the end, what is? Visit Andrea's website Contact Andrea
Exclusive Interview with IorchINTERVIEW - June 21, 2012
We are pleased to offer you an interview with one of our newest additions: Jorge Gallego Lorén (Iorch), Musician and Composer from Barcelona. Tell us something about yourself. My name is Jorge Gallego Lorén. I was born in Barcelona on August 5th 1984 and at the age of four I began studying classical music at the school of music and dance ‘Fusió de Sant Cugat del Vallés’ with Albert Sàrrias as my teacher. He taught me to feel the music in a simple yet passionate way, as well as to play the violin using the ‘Suzuki’ method. I also took part in an orchestra, an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed during many years. However, it was not until six years ago that I began composing my own music; I started feeling that my path had more to do with creativity than with interpretation. What inspires you when creating your works? I normally start with a concrete concept. I feel comfortable creating music that is related to one or more images, as if it was a soundtrack. There are other times when I’m simply walking down the street and I start humming a random melody that later becomes a song. When did you start developing as an artist? When I learnt that I could create music of my own. How would you define your style? I’ve always listened to a lot of music of a broad range of styles. The very essence of my works derives from this variety. Are you working on any personal projects at the moment? Yes, I’m currently involved in various projects. One of them is a communication study that will be unveiled soon; music destined for publicity. I’m also composing themes for my website, and I’m part of a modern music project of which I am composer, singer and writer. And finally, I am working with Hysterical Minds; you guys rock! What influences you? Many things; if I had to choose, I’d say easterly musicians and composers, because of their really cool mixture between folkloric music and pure classical music. What is your process when defining a certain theme? Once I have the concept, I begin looking for information of all kinds: the music of other artists, images, films, and so on, which work as a support for creating the composition. It is then that the first music notes appear in my head. Once the harmonic structure is defined, I simply get carried away. Is all of your work digital or do you also use analog methods? I use both; I really like the audio contrast that can be created. I work with a computer, specifically with LogicPro. As a matter of fact the way I make music is like mixing different textures. For some pieces I have sung and played the viola, the clarinet, the piano and some percussions, while recording them with a microphone. Most of the times I use instruments from the software. What do you think of the current situation of music? I’m not going to say anything new, but right now is the perfect time to start working independently. We now have an extremely powerful tool, which is the Internet. On a personal level, it is the moment to make the most of our time and, above all, to help each other. A clear example is what happens within this art collective. I have the tools to create my music and then share it via this website. Just like Juan Palomo. What is the most important thing of being part of an art collective? For me being part of an art collective that promotes its members is vital. Together we are stronger. Another thing I really appreciate is the feedback I receive on the works I present. What is, in your opinion, the best piece you’ve presented here? Please explain it. I like them all because of the concept work I’ve been able to develop. However, I think I’d choose ‘Composición Fantasma’ [Ghost Composition] because it is fresh and randy. It is probably the most uncouth song I’ve composed. I come from a very classical music world, where extravagances are not well regarded, but I’ve always been very curious. I had a great time editing it. The voices are mine –with one or two filters, of course! – and I had to take a break more than once, because of how funny it was! I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Matias Szeiman for helping me with his exceptional work recording the guitars! How do you see the future of Hysterical Minds? I think it’s very promising. We are working increasingly better, with a magnificent technical level, and above all, with a lot of enthusiasm. The group can become whatever it desires. What do you think of the current digital art scene? It is rapidly developing; the tools we have available become more comprehensive every day. That is why I believe the panorama is very positive. What pros and cons do you find in the artistic promotion through the Internet? One of the positive aspects is the rapid and cheap diffusion of content. It is a revolution. I can now work from home or from the other side of the world on a commissioned piece from Japan, for instance. This also allows people interested in your work to quickly contact you, and makes payment relatively safe. On top of that, you can advertise your work through different media: social networks, blogs or personal web sites. Of course you have to be prepared to communicate and answer nimbly. Do you think the role of art is more or less relevant to society given the current situation? Not for the Spanish government definitely, but for society in general this phenomenon has been, and will continue to be, vital for intellectual development. Art is freedom of expression. Since man became man the role of art has existed uninterruptedly. Primitive men painted the walls of caves, and it has recently been discovered that they also took advantage of the acoustics of different locations and considered them for their rituals. How do you think the current artistic disciplines will develop? I think the situation will remain as it is now: based on reinterpretation. It has always been like that. Personally I would love to be able to smell, touch and listen to a music piece. Actually, I think it’s already possible. What is your opinion on contemporary art? I think we’ve come to a point where art has become too banal. Sometimes artists working in different disciplines give more importance to business than to creativity itself. In my case, I feel the need to express through music, and if from that I can benefit commercially, that’s great. But I will always remain honest to myself.
Interview to Sebastian CabrolINTERVIEW - February 11, 2012
Today we have an impressive illustrator and comic artist, his talent is huge, his name: Sebastian Cabrol. His speciality is comic although he is an accomplished illustrator, and it is a pleasure to have him here today. Let's begin with the interview. How were your beginnings in the art world? Like everything, it started when I was little, drawing with my brothers or in school; naturally, we knew the comic books that were in our country, as well as the superhero comic, a publishing house called Columba, that would publish a huge amount of books for mass consumption in all kinds of genre; they were very popular and I grew up reading authors like Robin Wood, Lucho Olivera and loads more that were actually great artists involved with "romantic", and plainly, adventure stories. Of course I also read Skorpio and sometimes Fierro, addressed to an older audience. That world (and the animation one, amongst which Robotech was renowed) ended up making me interested in depicting that which impressed me in those drawings, be it copying straight from the pages or trying to represent what I had just seen in the cinema a while back. Name your favourite amongst your works. That's hard to say. It happens that I have a favourite within that line of my, personal, and another one that I like the same for technical reasons, or because it came out the way I intended it to. But joining both views, I would say it is "Mascarada" a drawing made with ink wash, colored digitally. How do you see the work situation for illustrators in your country? If I say just from my own experience, I would say it's a hard one, strenuous. You have to insist all the time and not expect work offers to rain every day. It is common to see very talented illustrators complain of the lack of "constant" work in their facebook profiles, or any other social network. On the other hand, I see a lot of artists that are starting out, and also a wide range of publishing opportunities for the growing amount of Argentinean artists. The key is to enter the publishing circuit. As an illustrator tell us what you are looking for in your art. Basically, I try to satisfy a personal wish, to depict freely and without censorship that which sthetically attracts me. That elusive feeling when we were children looking at something that impressed us, that showed us something different (maybe the artists view). We are all exposed to the dangers of reproducing certain kind of look in series, generic, that comes by default in mass products, the challenge to go further, and see what is your view, which is what we have to offer different, even if that difference is subtle. Seeing my drawings retrospectively, I would say there is a balance between two forces: classical representation, based on illustration and comics, and some tendency to surrealism or irrationality as a source for disturbing situations. Lately I am paying a attention to the narrative mechanisms of classic horror, but always passing it through my own sieve. How long could it take you to make one of your best works? It depends of how complex it is. In general, a simple illustration, even if I work on A3 size or bigger, it's always easier that a comic page, at least in the level of complexity that I manage. I have made drawings in an evening, and others have taken me weeks. Also I noticed that each time I am less patient to get a drawing finished (patience that was in a way insecurity and fear of ruining the drawing with a bad mark) and in some cases, as with digital drawing, i try to finish in the moment, even if it takes me two or three hours non-stop. Tell us a bit about your work, what progranms you use and why, which ones are more convenient in each moment to produce your pieces. In the beginning i used Photoshop, but only to color drawings previously inked. I used to do it with the mouse, taking an effort that i wouldn’t do today, but then seemed like an exciting opportunity, you could color without a tablet! In the sense, Photoshop is strong and some people have made incredible works with the mouse (see Scuzzo, for example). At the same time (2009) more or less I learn about Corel painter and it seemed very interesting. Since I started using a graphics tablet i investigated the numerous amount of software for artists and image editors, trying many and seeing which ones were more aproppiate from my way of work. Nowadays i use a series of programs in tandem (sacrilege!) as i am not so expert as to do everything just in one. For inking, when I decide to do it digitally, i use mostly AzDrawing 2.02, a free japanese program focused on sketching and inking. This program takes great advantage of the tablets sensibility, moulding the line just as if we were using pens or brushes, something that Photoshop doesn’t do. Try and compare. Thus way I can emulate traditional inking and achieve results identical to my usual way of inking that is sometimes problematic. For coloring, my personal option is Paint tool SAI, which is although quite limited, and very few brushes, it’s very modifiable and gives an appearance that has nothing to envy of Painter, and above all it doesn’t freeze or delays when working on big canvases. This program shares with Azdrawing a very dificult parametre of estabilisation that interprets you marks and stylize them, in case your your hand is not too firm. I use these programs, but Photoshop is always there. We would like you to tell us some trick or advice for those starting out. This is general, and should not be taken as an expert’s word: ALWAYS make sketches, layouts, however you call it. When facing a drawing, it is essential to know what is it what we want to draw, size and proportion, how it will be placed in the page, the lighting, etc. For this you have to draw a thumbnail, a rough shape of the great drawing we want to make, as we would see in the opposite path, beyond our window. Above all it is not alowed to think “ah, samll and blurry is easy. Now, how do I draw it?” that’s another story, what matters it that IDEA you had; don’t bury it with your limitations; there is always time to study perspective and anatomy. The idea comes first, and if you drew it, half your work is already done. And for the more advanced, do you have some tip? Honestly, no. I’m not very methodical and probably I never face a drawing the same way i did with the last, so it varies. Also what is advanced for me can be amateur for others. About the future, do you have anything planned? To work from drawing. And that such work gives me the opportunity to explore the posiblities of a style. So it’s not merely work. Tell us about comics, and why you chose that field. As I said, comics have always been part of my life. I guess i’m interested in telling a story. Comis is funtamentally narrative. To draw perfectly goes to a second plane. I still have a lot to learn in that sense; and you only learn planning, sketching, seeing the finished sequences. There is a negative side about comics, and that is repetition, i mena you usually draw the same character in different poses and situations, which can beacome tedious to it’s creator, beacuse, by nature, the artist needs to draw different things. In your case, what do you do to overcome this? I still try not to let that matter, that it can be tedious and the reason why it’s hard to keep the same level in every panel. A comic page is not a drawing, it’s 4, 6 or 10. Every drawing has repetitions, but also different placements, their own perspective, lighting, etc. To use well the reduced space is also a challenge; by instinct we tend to fill the whole page, but if we think about it a bit more, it seems that giving it more air, the general composition looks more interesting. Your illustrations are very dark, how do you move in that field? Why does it call you attention? I would say that fundamentally what interests me is the fantastic. I think that the fantastic, if for a second we admit that the supernatural exists outside the imagination, it has its own laws and those are not comprehensible. I tend to think that the irreal and the strange comes out to get us lost; it’s an intense manifestation of fears that are harmful. How could it do us any good? So, to represent it is a way of taming something dark in essence. Then it’s the issue of obsessions; without being too seroius, sometimes images appear to haunt us, and even if we don’t understand them, it’s necesary to make them clear, sort them. The fact that they are not rational doesn’t make them less improtant. And about darkness, I thing the fantastic genre has reached it’s highest peaks while fantasy is not benevolent, and complex human perversion finds its equivalent in a monstruosity that desecrates the matter and the spirit (what a sentence). Otherwise we are in front of a fairy tale, that if it lacks depth, it seems naive and uninteresting. That said, I don’t deny fantasy work that has no horror or evil as a main subject; certain fables and religious traditions in the world are most beautiful, and have nothing apparently sinister dominating the atmosphere. How ling can it take you to make a comic page, or the whole comic? Ideal for me would be to work a day for pencils and a day for inking. I have done it sometimes, usually when there was a deadline to meet. The whole comic can take more than that squence: pencil, ink. Often you have to make changes, corrections. Not to say if pages have to be lettered or coloured. In the american industry it’s known its method based in fordism, task division. As many people are assigned to do the work as tasks there are, and the mechanism starts rolling: one artist does pencil, and gives it to the inker, as he carries on with the next. The inker finishes his, and it’s time for the colorer to add his art. Then comes the lettering, and so on until the 22 or 24 pages are complete. The speed at wich they finish projects is impressive. They say that in five million years there won’t be any of todays art left. What do you think of that? Your work, and that of the great masters, will be extinguished, forgotten and destroyed. Or you think not? What do you think of arts inmortality... Do you think it exists? Or everything has a expiry date? Five million years is a huge amount of time, that in a human time scale has never been experienced since we are thinking beings. It’s probably there won’t be anything left, nor culture, nor humanity. I don’t think an artist creates to survive infinitely. Art is a way of communication in part (mainly) attached to the culture in which it is created. We only know and are identified with tragedies that are not older than 2500 years. I don’t know, I think at an experience level, artwork in general ages quickly; just a handful of the massive amount of artistic creations will be remembered in a near future. In the past there surely had been fewer artists; writers, musicians and actors. Nowdays we could think quantitatively (according to positivism) that there are more technical and educational means so more Leonardos and super genius appear. Today’s obsession with speed and the immediate new causes that, if there are geniuses, there may be diluted in the constant information tide. If there would be a world cataclysm and you would have the posibity to start again in another planet, scaping in a mothership, tell us 3 artworks that you would put in the ship to save them? Very hard question. First, I would have to be an art expert to answer, and not just that, I would need to know the 90% of art produced by humanity. But trimming ignorance, and from personal taste, i would take: -Garden of earthly delights, Bosch -The birth of Venus, Boticelli -Danae, Klimt It could have been others, but wurely others will save the Gioconda, David, etc. Thank you, Maestro, for this fantastic interview. It’s been an honor to have you in Hysterical Minds. Would you like to tell us one last thing? Just to thank you for this interview, David. And for introduving me to Hysterical Minds. King regards to everyone.
--M-- interviewed at Grandes-ArtistasINTERVIEW - January 21, 2012
Our artist --M-- has been interviewed at the spanish site of Grandes-Artistas.com. Read the full interview here.
Oscuro interviewed at Grandes-ArtistasINTERVIEW - January 19, 2012
Our artist Oscuro has been interviewed today at the spanish site of Grandes-Artistas.com Read the full interview here
Urih Pta2 Interview with DevotionBCNINTERVIEW - January 11, 2012
We are glad to share with you this first video interview in collaboration with HM and DevotionBCN with our artist Urih, showing this awesome graffity Making of. Enjoy it Director: Kepa Gainza / Produced: Liran Szeiman / Cameraman & Edit: Kepa Gainza / Still Photography: Servando Aguayo / Subtitles: Carolin Vogler / Music: Giro Er Nene "Welcome, Its Magic,Que te pasa" Full view HERE Photography by Servando Aguayo
Interview to DumakerINTERVIEW - October 28, 2011
We are going to interview some of our artists, and who better to start that Dumaker. He joined our family last pack and he made 3 awesome works. I can say that his work for the upcoming pack is stunning and well, you wi'll see, meanwhile, check this awesome talk we had with him: Question: Dumaker (Moisés), first of all, thank you for taking this interview. To begin, how would you describe your style of work? Answer: First, I’m deeply grateful that you’ve had the strange idea of this series of interviews starting with me. This is going to be fun… and hard. It’s hard for me to talk about myself or my work. And it’s not false modesty or anything of the kind - it’s just a consequence of not taking myself too seriously. I do what I like, and I don’t even do it especially well, so… Pipe in hand, I take the interesting illustrator’s pose. Let’s go! My work? Well, it’s enough to see a sample of my illustrations to realise (I just did it) that, for the most part, darkness prevails, the gloomy, the strange… So, I imagine my work is undoubtedly characterized by being dense and sinister, though with a few drops of healthy irony. Also, I try to make the atmosphere stand out from the rest, always looking for an ambient with character. So the spectator lets their imagination fly and feel they are there for an instant. Q: I have seen your portfolio and it’s very impressive. How do you imagine those characters? Do you get the inspiration from your own life experiences, or is it simply from imagination? A: It would be impossible, at least for me, to have created all those illustrations without having gone out to wander around on the streets, without having experienced in my own flesh things I lived, without experimenting or having met whom I’ve met… without failing and succeeding in real life. Every moment counts, every memory is ammunition for the next illustration. Imagination is important, but more like a being that creates from nothing. I see it rather as a filter transforming the things that are there. Imagination deforms, enriches and twists realities I have lived. Q: You illustrations usually have a touch of irony and humour. What are you trying to express with it? A: It’s true, but also is that I don’t ponder things much… Nor before or after I put my hand to work. I guess I don’t want to express anything in particular, but that ironic vision, that conceptual counterpart is the consequence of my way of seeing things. I don’t take seriously many things, so in my work I try not to let myself be taken by solemnity, the drama and the epic of a subject, and always keep a card up my sleeve to make something different from it. Take the drama away. With such dense illustrations like a bitter poisonous puree, it’s always fun to add some salt and spice to the mix. Q: And focusing on the professional side of your work, what are your nearest goals right now? Are you content with your progress so far as a professional artist? A: Nice way to bring me down to earth… I was starting to go up in the clouds. Well, in a situation like the current one, where the worm-eaten foundations of the system start to crack, work in the future is uncertain, for everyone. Culture, art, design, … they are a basic pillar of a society (or it should be) until food starts lacking. In an ideal world, my next goal is to carry on evolving as a designer and as an illustrator, although both are two sides (and there are many more) of creativity. So, no doubt, the professional is a reflection of the personal in that sense: to keep on growing and learning. In the real world, to survive. Regarding my evolution, it’s complex. I think I could be much better than I am, but in order to get there I am convinced I would have had to sacrifice many things that, in the other hand, have made me and taken me where I am. I don’t regret it. I have had ups and downs and times when I haven’t touched a pencil… due to lack of time, inspiration or motivation. I’m trying to recover some of that time and evolve towards something better. Q: At this time and age, facing various economic crisis, almost all market sectors have become more demanding and competitive in all aspects. Do you think at this point is still possible to think of art as a way of life, or is it more an utopia than anything else?, A: In part I was replying to the crisis topic, or better be said, The Crisis, in my earlier response: I believe the situation will get worse, and perhaps where are in front of another great empire falling, a mistaken way of conceiving life. Art also feeds from social convulsions, of people’s rage and takes part on the reconstruction and birth of the new social forms. It’s united to the human spirit, and as such there’s no fear for it to disappear. Ever. But it will go hand in hand with the naked man and not the institutions, corporations or governments. It will not go hand in hand with subventions, but with the need to create and commitment. In the other hand, perhaps today it’s complicated to have a romantic vision of the artist. Someone who keeps his work unaffected by pressures, someone who only creates moved by his own will, without prostituting his talent, is… that rally is an utopia reserved for just a few. The rest of us must make of art a way of life combining it with a much more mundane and grey aspect: create to eat, design by menu, paint by request… to put our hands and talent at the service of companies. Q: With respect to your artworks, we have seen many, some good and others very good, but, Do you think your best work has been done or is it yet to come? A: How crazy! Of course, my best work is yet to come! If at the age of 28 I thought that I already have in my portfolio my best piece, I would have a serious problem. I still have loads to learn and every damn day you came across something new, something useful. Yes, it is yet to come. Q: At what point and for what reasons did you decide to enter the design and illustration world? A: Of course, you don’t go walking down the street one day without direction and the St Mother of graphic design and illustration dazzles you… it’s a process that makes you take a definite path from and early age. In my case, since childhood I already filled huge amounts of paper with drawings and drawings… Then you realize that you have something, even if it’s not shockingly important, that distinguishes you from the rest (and not only self-decorated notepads “horror vacui”). This makes you take academic and personal paths that end up one day culminating in your professionalization. , It’s the result of: a family that allows, puts up with, and supports you; teachers that have motivated you; people that inspires you and help you dream; people that give you opportunities. Q: How does a day go by for Dumaker? A: By now, a normal working day is nothing exciting nor worth mentioning, so I will go back in time to when I studied graphic design, and I will tell you briefly how it was. My day started at about 15:00, when I woke up, sleepy and disoriented in my huge double bed, product of having won draw for that room with my housemates. I would eat what I found and then, I’d realise lessons had started 40 minutes ago. The days I could I would assist lessons happily, and the ones I couldn’t I would employ them in living. The interesting bit was at night (the ones fruitful artistically speaking). At about 11 I would lock myself up in my room, and hours would pass in an almost sick way, with no specific referents or schedules… just the silence and the will to work. A strange happiness and the feeling, when going to sleep around 7:30 in the morning, of not being able to spend any better a night of my life. Q: In your works we see all kinds of characters, but rarely repeat themselves. Have you thought of creating a base character to whom different adventures and situations may occur, like other artists do? A: Interesting… those type of things never come to my mind. The truth is that few times (probably never) my illustrations have any real continuity. The theme has continuity, but not to the point of having a fetish creation to which give new opportunities. Although, now that I think of it, there is a favourite character that I have repeated: death. Q: If you were not an illustrator. What else would you like to do? A: Fortunately I already do it: to design. Although as I said, both are facets of something hardly destructible that is the motor that pushes me to create. And if I hadn’t got the luck of being creative in that sense, I would like to have had a strange punk bunk, eclectic and accelerated with which to travel the whole world, yuhhuhuu. Q: Could you describe, in basic steps, how is the creation of a piece of Dumaker, how it starts and how it reaches our screens? A: In that sense I don’t always prepare my works in the same manner, although it’s natural that before, on paper, I sketch the general composition and look for the most attractive. I also prepare brief anatomic studies if the work is requiring a figure. I make views in detail of certain parts. But nothing too elaborated. I don’t leave too much time there (that unfortunately then influences the final quality of the work). Then I put hands to works with the tablet, and try capture that composition with rough strokes. From there the process is a common one: keep detailing from the general to the particular, working the colour and giving the picture the desired atmosphere. Other times I start with a scanned drawing used as a base, and many others I start from scratch doing quick digital sketches. Q: What is the most fun in Dumaker’s life? And what bores you the most? A: Really the great majority of my days are fun, I think because I have learn to squeeze to the extreme small daily things. I can’t travel much, but I have a worryingly vivid imagination. I haven’t got much money, but I have a girl and a white cat by my side that make it not be necessary. Neither I have great plans in my hands, but every weekend I have a laugh with my people, who I really love, that I wouldn’t change for anything. Also I try to take each day, in my work, as and opportunity to improve, learn and have a good time. About getting bored, I’m always bury always doing something. Fuck, I don’t get bored! Q: We could see in your portfolio more focused to design all kinds of works. Can you comment how is it, for example, to work with publishers, for everyone that is starting in this kind of work. A: My first work with a publishing company was the creation of illustrated books, almost like a comics, for young audiences. In them the pupil would learn to play the guitar. It was fun, stressing, incredible to see them published and didn’t make me rich. Also it was the mandatory creative step from creating foul corpses full of worms to create an always smiling group of carefree children from good families. My experience with publishers is very limited. It has short deadlines, huge amounts of work, demented corrections at the last minute and a contract. I would say that, surely, prepare yourself for a night life. Q: What are your main references when illustrating? A: The subject of my referents always leaves me out. I’d love to give a list, alphabetically ordered, of those artists that I admire and that inspire me. I have never idolised any artist, nor follow their career or know all of their work. This, that sounds like “I’m cool, go my way, have no idols, I’m self-taught and use glasses without glasses” is really the complete opposite. I can’t stop being amazed by work of many people… I hallucinate and my pulse accelerates when I see works from great classics, I see Goya and become white. But also happens with the portfolios of great comic artists, of many current "concept artist", and with the works of the mythical fantasy illustrators. With landscape painters, 3D creators, anonymous web designers, interface creators, animators… Also with my fellow members in the collective! I am moved with almost any work sufficiently good from anyone but, for lack of memory, or the effort it takes, I am unable to be loyal to an specific artist, or feel that one has influenced determinately. Q: At what age did you start to get interested in art? How was that “first time” of satisfaction when making an artwork? A: As I said before, it’s something that is always there, naturally… it’s part of me and I cant conceive my life without always playing with a pencil, imagining illustrations, or daydreaming. Regarding that first time, I remember it. It was shortly after buying my first graphic tablet, the smallest and cheapest Wacom there was. A bluish "Graphire", I think. Must have been the year 98 more or less. I was at that time crazy about fantasy illustration: orcs, monsters, dwarfs, and lots of rusty steel. I knew of my limitations and made an effort. So I believe I finished a work in colour that summer, don’t remember which one exactly, but I do remember the thrill and excitement I felt when I saw it finished. The finishing was the most professional I had done to date, it had good colours, a nice landscape, characters and a bit of action. So I stared at it and felt I had gone up a step. There still were, and are, many others to climb ~:) Q: How did you discover Hysterical Minds and how do you see it from inside? A: Martín de Diego (--M--) I the one to blame. He is an artist (fucking good and excellent critic) whom I know long time ago from DeviantArt. It was him who commented me a while ago if I was interested in joining, but it really seem like a far away idea of a collective and all that he told me went on inside. I didn’t have much time and I always found it hard to get in touch with other people, even virtually. I’m an antisocial rat hahaha However, months ago I found myself suddenly with more time to waste, and I thought that was the moment and the place. And also thanks to the accelerated course on "Hystericalminds.com" given by Liransz, I ended up integrating in the collective. It’s the first time I am in one, or in something remotely similar. And it seems to me fucking good however you look at it. It’s great. It is an extra motivation, a way of meeting people, to help and being helped, to improve, and to get a greater presence and grow as an artist. It could hardly be any better. Q: I had the chance to see you portfolio and it’s incredible. How long did it take you to build it up if we talk about the hands-on illustration work? A: Dumaker.com was a project that I undertook from an imperative need of finding work. Its important to look at it that way, and at that time I needed that virtual arsenal to complement my curriculum. The truth is it took me a long time: to design the web, compile old works, programming it… above all programming. It was a bit overwhelming (I didn’t know to what extent I work surrounded by PHP, XHTML, CSS and ActionScript 3 gurus) I’m talking of months of intense work. Interestingly, now I am again projecting my website. It will be less personal and more professional. Better focused. And it’s not going to be me who programs it, so I can fully concentrate on design. I hope to have it ready soon ~:) Q: To finish, thank you very much once again for having given us this interview and I ask you for some words to all our users who are starting or have been in this for a while. Would would you recommend them? A: I insist, thank you for providing me with this curious, almost psychotropic experience: I am here, cup of tea in my hand, a sunny Saturday morning, talking non-stop about myself… Yesterday I went out and I’m afraid I haven’t been my best, but it has been fun. My recommendation? Simple… to always enjoy with what you do, to learn with each job, whether it’s a fascinating creative project or a boring commission. To make an effort. And above all, to live. To touch reality, be part of the change, enrich as a person, and then, reflect it in our artworks. Only then they will have a soul. Regards!
Santiago Caruso interviewed at "N-SPHERE" MagazineINTERVIEW - October 12, 2011
Santiago Caruso was interviewed in the last issue of the "N-SPHERE" online magazine. Click HERE to have a look at his interview and his allways amazing art.