Meet Alejandro Gomez, and illustrator, graphic designer and musician from Buenos Aires. He kindly answered some questions for us about his saccharine art which shifts between dark shadows and disturbingly sweet girls who peer at us from large liquid eyes. I came across his work on the Behance network, which you should also check out.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in winter 1981. I’ve studied Graphic Design at the University of Buenos Aires (FADU). I have been a teacher for one year at the university, but I got a little tired of that. Actually I’m studying French. I love winter, black birds, cats, books, LP records and big cities.
What did you have for breakfast?
Corn flakes with milk. I prefer my rice mid-crispy you know… Not so fluffy.. just the mid point. I also had a glass of tangerine juice from a bottle.
Where in the world are you right at this minute?
In South America, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Palermo. At my office, working on a documentary and listening to Swans.
Apart from illustrating, what do you do?
Well, I love music. I play guitar in a band called Dragonauta and worship broken amplifiers in Sarghuma Incoxis. I listen to music all day long.. on the bus, while walking, at work, at home, cooking.. and I guess music is the most influential thing that happens in my life. Can you imagine your world without music? Music is something like a second job. I work really hard for it, I play lots of concerts, I record albums, I rehearse two or three times a week, etc. I also create motion graphics for different TV shows at a studio (discovery channel, history channel, fox, and some others for the local tv)… and actually I’m working on a cartoon project with a friend of mine… so I’m kinda writing some scripts and ideas for that.
What first made you want to become an artist and how did you get started in art and illustration, any early memories of making art?
Figure this: imagine you are cooking and you touch the hot oven with your hand.. you scream in pain because screaming makes you feel a little better. You scream and shout.. but if you don’t scream and cry, or externalize those feelings I don’t know what would have happened.. I think it would hurt more… Or when you are happy, you laugh and people hear your laugh, and that’s one way to say “hey, I’m happy”.
I think as art as an expression of the things that happen inside our minds, hearts, soul.. I cant image another way to express my things if not doing what I do. It’s a way to redirect or re-conduct those feelings into something beautiful. We could discuss what is beauty or not, but I think it is a boring topic?
I have never planned anything regarding illustration and art.. I just do what I do. I have always drawn as a child.. I was a really imaginative kid. A few weeks ago I found an old book of drawings from my childhood and it was really cool to see those things 25 years later. I guess I always needed something to share my feelings apart from the talking thing, you know.
On the other hand sometimes I feel so frustrated.. sometimes I hate what I do and I stop drawing for months.. and sometimes I force myself to draw again, it doesn’t matter if the finished work is correct, or if the hair looks pretty, etc.
Please describe your creative process.
Most of the times I have everything planed in my head. The idea, the colours, the character, the eyes, the hair, what the character feels, what I do want to say. Most of the times the ideas are completely encrypted.. and it works fine that way. I try to make a connection between the eyes of my characters and the people who sees my paintings. I like to create an universe in those eyes, to look at them and understand almost everything that is going on.
Where do you do your work? Can you describe it.
Well, I have move to a new place now everything is kinda messy: lots of cds, cassettes, lp records and books everywhere.
Do you work from life, from photographs or from imagination?
I work from imagination. And of course there is lot of other inspirational things, such as reading, watching a movie, different photographers, listening to a song, reading an interview, etc.
What influences you? Do you have a favourite place or person you visit, which jump starts your creativity?
I think reading books influences me the most. I love Haruki Murakami for example, i have read almost anything he writes, he is so imaginative and so simple too. Sometimes I pick a line from a book, or from a song, or movie, or something a friend says to me, and i transform those words in a image..
I am actually fascinated with the “time” topic, the eternity, the infinite, relative time.. and the meaning of love and human relationships.
What technique/s do you use?
I do some sketches with a black pen in any used paper I find. After that I begin working on my computer. I use a wacom tablet and lot of patience.
I also paint exclusively with my black pen on a white paper for other kind of finish. But I think the most powerful technique I’m learning is to be patient with the process of doing the work.
I have participated in a few exhibitions, but they weren’t what I have expected. It was something of a collage of artists showing so different things, with different vibes, and there was always music really loud.. I don´t know.. Anyway, it was sometimes good because some people who know me had no idea that I paint…
Who are some of your favourite illustrators or creative people and why?
Lots. Actually I’m following an artist called Justin Bartlett
I also love the work from the photographer Sally Mann or the video-artist Sadie Benning. I am also really into the eastern European poster artists, specially the polish.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
I would like to be doing what I really want at that moment of my life, maybe in a big old modern city.
And trying to be happy.. I guess.. That’s what I’m actually trying to do, but it is so hard…
Thanks so much for your time Alejandro, and good luck with your endeavours!