Brief information about yourself like age, nationality, where you live, education etc.
I am Argentine and live in Buenos Aires. I turned 42 a few days ago. I am married with three children: Lucila, Agustina and Joaquin aged 1, 4 and 7 respectively.
In 1984, I started Physics at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) and I studied there for 4 years. In 1986 I began studying Graphic Design as well, at the same university and finally oriented my professional career to design.
From 1992 to 1998 I was the head teacher of the subject Graphic Design II at the UBA. I have been invited to different educational institutions to give seminars and courses, etc. For example I was a guest speaker at the II Symposium on Graphic Design at Bello Horizonte, Brazil.
I also opened “Signum”, my own graphics office http://signum.com.ar in 1992. It is a small studio and we have worked with a few customers, developing each project thoroughly. We have focused on corporate image, communication and on publishing projects as well.
I have worked with different companies such as Banco Suquia (for 10 years), Correo Argentino (Argentine Postal Service, for 2 years), Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires City Town Hall), Crédit Agricole, Compañía Financiera Argentina, Salutia, Laboratorios Arrayanes; etc implementing and developing brand identity and corporate communication.
As for publishing, I have also developed the design of collections, book covers, books for different publishing houses such as Planeta, Salo, Nowtilus, CTM, etc.
Magazines and montly publishing as Bloqueo, Psicofarmacología, Mundo Promedon, Suquía Hoy, Claroscuro, etc.
And Desktop Publishing books for SPG, Houghton Mifflin, Pearson Education, Scott Foresman, Holt, Rinehart & Winston and SRA/McGraw-Hill.
How did you get involved with illustration, what is the story behind it?
I became involved in illustration in two stages: the first one 12 years ago as part of my teaching activity.
In those years I devoted many time to the writing of theoretical essays about design and I tried to apply those principles in the workshops with professors and students. I was interested in verifying how theory could be applied to the composition of a visual piece.
This became an exercise where the objective for the students was to make the portrait of a character and the technique pre determined was collage/ assemblage.
It wasn’t the technique that I cared about, but the strategy used to choose the pieces (images or part of them), in a way that by yuxtapositioning them, they became completely different from its individual parts.
The practical work implied a “mise en scène” of a group of objects related directly or not with the character. The assembling of these objects should be able to produce a new discourse telling a story about the character that a caricature or a photograph could not tell.
Some of the illustrations I show today date back from these years. I just made them as an exercise before the other professors in my team so that they could guide our students through the process.
Later, I gave up teaching and illustrating. I devoted 100 % of my time to corporate image projects.
The second stage connected to illustration began a few years ago, partly as a game with my son Joaquin, aged 7. Sometimes he comes to my studio in the evenings since last year, when he started primary school. We have fun composing imaginary characters. He can’t deal with the Photoshop yet, but he actively participates in the choice of objects, in the photo production and he also enjoys naming the characters.
I have uploaded part of this work. http://masporquerias.blogspot.com
In this activity shared with my son, I have rediscovered an extra pleasure for my daily professional activity.
And I have enlarged the horizons for the application of illustrations. Initially, I included them in some of my projects: books for children, games, etc. But now I have been contacted by new clients from other countries with specific requirements of illustrations.
What kind of projects are you working on?
This year I have been working as a designer for Signum on the design of corporate image, some books and a couple of monthly magazines.
But I am devoting more and more time to illustration every day. I have written and illustrated a book for children which will probably be published soon. I have also finished another one and looking for a publisher.
I have also developed an educational illustrated game of cards which I will try to have it published.
This is a very special moment because after 16 years as a designer I feel I reborn professionally and I am very enthusiastic about it. I feel the emotion and the excitement that new projects caused me more than a decade ago.
What are your upcoming projects?
I am currently finishing two other books, one for children and one for teenagers. I have also started to illustrate them. But sometimes it’s the other way around and the illustrations determine the stories.
All this has happened suddenly and I have some new work opportunities now, demand for particular illustrations and some series, which usually come from abroad as a consequence of the visits to my blog. Something which has really surprised me.
For example, today I have been asked for the design of certain communicative works (posters, brochure, etc) for the International Games Festival 2008 in Spain. I have been requested to produce a visual image similar to the characters they have seen in my blog.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to devote more time to illustrations in the near future. I am also trying to have the books and games I have made published.
In the long run, I am starting a pending activity: sculpture. I have been filing sketches, which will resemble the final works, and I will make them out of metal, pieces that I have been keeping and documenting in photos (the same photos that I use to create my preliminary works.)
Do you have other interests?
Another activity that I find inspiring is writing. In the past I just wrote essays about the theory of design and communication. But lately I have been writing some stories and a novel, that I guess I will never finish. I am also interested in sculpture.
What are the things that inspire you?
I feel a great admiration for inventors in general. Not only for their creativity, but also for their innovation and the daring and determination to carry out their works. Sometimes I have certain ideas to invent some inexistent and useful objects but I am aware that I don’t have the ability and tenacity to make them real; to produce them and take them to the market. Moreover, I feel inspired by the works of unknown inventors who transform our lives day after day. In the meantime, I try to emulate them in a symbolic way.
Any special awards?
I have not entered any illustration contest yet but I am planning to do it.
As a designer, I have been awarded some prizes, for example:
First Prize. Institutional image for the Government of the City of Buenos Aires.
First Prize. IDEA 30th anniversary image.
First Prize. Corporate image for Correo Argentino (Visual communication department)
Second prize. Itard Logotype.
Third prize. Expolibro Logotype.
Are there any other people you work with?
I usually work together with graphic and industrial designers, architects, writers, etc, on image and publishing design projects at my office, but as for illustration, it’s an individual task that I only share with my eldest son.
How would you describe your style/works in five words?
Object resignification. Digital assemblage. Collage.
Do you follow any other artists' works? Who would be your idol?
I feel fascinated by the works of the Russian Conclave Obscurum http://cmart.design.ru and there is a wide range of artists from different origins I also admire…but there is one among them all, Pablo Bernasconi http://pbernasconi.com.ar
Pablo used to be my student, then a professor working in my department at the UBA and finally, a good friend.
Pablo is an outstanding illustrator, author of many different books for children, that I and my son Joaquin treasure.