Ignasi Monreal has been on my radar since the beginning of this year. His artworks are surreal, realistic and he likes to put a touch of fantasy into some of the pieces
This week, I feel very lucky to be able to share this great interview with all of the readers here.
Ignasi, I have been a fan of your work for quite some time now, so, I feel very special to have a chance to interview you today. I know that you studied comic and illustration before you moved to Madrid. What made you want to go into fashion illustration?
It was being in the right place at the right time. I was a teenager who loved geek stuff, comics and video games. In the summer of 2007 I went to Miami for a month and I met this very cool fashionista who made quite an impression on me. When I went back home I was commissioned to do a few comic strips about the Fashion Industry, so I visited The Sartorialist and Style.com for the first time to get some reference. Because of the researches, I discovered what fashion shows were, and I found a lot of references from brands such as Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana for character creation. Then years went by, I left comic behind, discovered more designers and focused on fashion illustration.
That’s interesting and I am glad you are taking this path right now. When it comes to your illustrations, what adjectives do you use to describe your style? Why?
Realist, with a twist of comic style and sometimes a touch of fantasy. Adam Hughes and Norman Rockwell were two of my favourite artists when I started drawing so I guess they have influenced my work in different ways since then.
As you said, your works sometimes have this touch of fantasy. So, where do you usually get your inspirations for your art works? Do you have a specific resource you need to go to when looking for fresh ideas?
My main source of inspiration is the Internet. But what inspires me most are movies, fashion photography and random images I find while surfing the Internet. I’ve got this folder on my desktop called “Inspiration” filled with images I check from time to time to get ideas.
That’s a good idea to have a folder filled with inspirations. I know you do reference other artists’ works in some of your pieces. Who are 2 of your favourite artists right now? Why?
Yes, lately I’ve been referencing other artists I’ve become obsessed with. I find their styles so different than mine and so intriguing that I use their work to learn from what they have accomplished. This all came from a conversation I had with an art history professor while I was studying. He told me that the best way to make your art richer is to add references like colour, a composition or even a pose from works you admire. Big art Masters did it, so it was a good piece of advice. Right now I’m in love with Joao Ruas’ artwork. I find it so dreamy, dark and melancholic that I would want to spend a lifetime fortune to have a private collection of his art. Banksy is also one of my favourites. His ideas are so good and yet so simple to a point it bothers me because I didn’t think about those ideas first. He’s a genius!
I am a fan of Banksy too and I think he is a brilliant artist! You occasionally included an animal element into your work. Why?
This is something quite new too. I was quite stuck in what I was doing so I decided to add new concepts on my work to make it fresher. I’m also trying to put a touch of surrealism although it’s still quite subtle. Being from Catalonia made me think about my roots, I’m always looking for foreign inspiration, so I decided to look back where I belong and what it has to offer. I’m from the land of Dalí, master of surrealism, so why not trying to put on my illustrations a bit of that concept he worked with?
Dali is my idol and now this explains why I admire your works so much! Speaking of surrealism, some of your models are like aliens to me. If they existed in the real world, which planet do you think they would live on?
I guess it wouldn’t be a planet but a book. I love creating characters so for almost every character I do –except portraits of course- I try to imagine a story. It’s more like conceptual art than portraiture.
That’s interesting and one day, I think you should create a story book. Other than fashion, I realize you also like to illustrate sci-fi characters. Which character is your favourite? If you had a chance to ask him one question, what would you ask?
Darth Vader is an Icon to me. I prefer evil characters rather than good ones, and he is like THE evil sci-fi character. If I had the chance to ask him a question, I would probably ask: “Who is your father?” Really, no one believes that sinless conceived story.
I love that question and I am sure many Star Wars fans are having the same question in mind as well! Finally, what song has been stuck in your mind recently? If you need to create an illustration based on this song, what would the imagery be?
“Worthy of your love” by Kiddy Smile. It has inspired me for a project I am working on indeed; it has a psychedelic vibe, so I guess I would do a 70‘s inspired poster.
Credit: Ignasi Monreal