Barcelona is a city which, due to its beauty, art, culture and traditions, inspires people and artists to create. It has inspired us to write and speak about everything the city has to offer, whilst in other people this inspiration manifests itself differently.
Juanma García Escobar is an illustrator who lives and works in Barcelona, and he creates many illustrations which are inspired by the art, people or customs of Barcelona, amongst other things.
It’s no surprise that Juanma has been named winner of the competition ‘La Rosa de la Vanguardia’ during this year’s very traditional Catalan festival, Sant Jordi.
We carried out an interview in order to find out more about this passionate illustrator of Barcelona.
“My name is Juanma García Escobar and I’m a freelance illustrator. Ever since I can remember I wanted to dedicate myself to this. I live and work in Barcelona, and I like drawing.”
In which fields of illustation do you normally work and in which do you feel most comfortable?
I work almost exclusively in the field of publicity. I prefer projects that are orientated towards the children and young-people’s market, especially those based on the creation of characters.
Who are your artistic references?
I have innumerable references and influences, I like Gallardo a lot, I love Marc Monés, and in my work the graphics of other illustrators who live and work in Barcelona, such as Mariscal and Jordi Labanda, are very much present.
Where do your illustrations come from? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I suppose that there is a part of my brain which is constantly gathering and archiving images, although I’m not conscious of it until I begin drawing. The streets, landscape, people and personalities of Barcelona are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. If the cosmopolitan weirdo’s going up and down the Ramblas in Barcelona don’t inspire you, you should take a good look at yourself.
What are the best and worst things about the profession of illustrating?
The worst thing has to be the snobs and loud-mouths. The guys that reckon this little world is the ideal place to roll out their extraordinary theories regarding art and new tendencies. As Serrat says, “Between those guys and me, it’s personal”. I like people who draw, and, quite simply, I like drawing. The positive aspects of this profession are endless, but the satisfaction of creating a character out of nothing, giving them a personality, gestures….that beats everything else.
Does the fact that you carry out your artistic work in Barcelona influence your art or would you say that you have a completely international aesthetic?
The influence that a city like Barcelona has in any profession involving a degree of creativity is undeniable. In my case, I believe that the modernist art that permeates Barcelona has a big influence.
On the other hand, I don’t consider myself to be an artist, I simply sell a product, and usually the buyer wants this product to work in Barcelona as it would in London or in China. In other words, the primary objective of illustration in publicity is to convey a message, and in order to do this both the style and the visual language have to be as international as possible.
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of Barcelona as far as illustrating is concerned?
Barcelona is a fantastic city if you have a creative itch. If an illustrator could choose a place to be born and to carry out his work, it would be difficult for Barcelona not to be amongst his options.
What are your professional objectives and your forthcoming projects?
My only objective is to keep working in illustration, continue enjoying what I do, and to be able to carry out works that have more and more significant media impact. All of my work is on show on my Website as soon as it gets released. For reasons of privacy I can’t give concrete details about projects that I have in progress, although I can reveal that recently I finished work upon illustrations for designs for differently formatted packaging and sweet-wrappers for a well-known food and beverage multinational. It’s a work that I’m especially satisfied with, and it will be on the market in their 2009 Christmas campaign.
Do you have any kind of notebook in which you set down ideas as and when they come to you, or do you prefer to work towards goals as they come up?
Any kind of medium is good for carrying out sketches. As Picasso said- “When inspiration arrives, I want it to find me working”. Often, inspiration has come to me when I was working, but more often than not it happened when I was having drinks with my friends on the terrace of the Zurich (bar), or on Barceloneta beach with my family.
Whatever the case, if an idea arrives you have to get it down as soon as possible, and wherever you can, whether it be on a seviette, a receipt, on the sand of the beach or the back of a Sunday edition of the Vanguardia…
…the important thing is that you don’t let it escape