Swide are happy to introduce you to the talents of Ernesto Artillo, which have been quietly developing in Madrid, Spain, and capturing our attention with the detailed collage work, comprising of both art and fashion. His talents have extended to collaborations with fashion magazine, Tendencias, creating pieces for top models and also his first solo exhibition in September. Ernesto Artillo talks to Swide…
Dolce&Gabbana collage by Ernesto Artillo
The artist’s collages have been growing in strength, becoming more elaborate as he continues to push his boundaries, both artistically and personally, and have also included the use of iconic designers like Dolce&Gabbana, as above. As I conversed with the artist, I began to understand the personal impact that the act of collage has on him and his daily life. Ernesto also went into detail about how he wants to develop his own voice, aside from the fashion element that we have grown to love him for. Swide are very happy to introduce you to Ernesto Artillo;
An early work by Ernesto Artillo
Let’s start from the beginning; what came first, your interest in photography or collage? And when did these two skills merge?
I've watched my father doing collage since I was a child and I`ve been keeping my favorite pieces of his work in my own flat, since I left home, but I didn't start to explore the technique until one year ago. In the beginning, I started painting. I was really young and I used to go to lessons with a big group of old ladies. I Probably learned more about them than any painting skill, but it was a great experience. Then I started to take pictures and, when I was in college, I focused on fashion and advertising. Now I`m trying to mix all of those disciplines. I hand-cut my own pictures or the ones that I like, then I add textures and colours, I put them together (not glued) and see how shadows work to finally photograph everything again.
Sebastian Sauve by Ernesto Artillo
What is the beauty of collage?
It's me feeling more free. The possibility to break with my incorrigible tendency of putting everything in order. I fight all the time to become more abstract and less geometric. I've always been amazed by Spanish catholic altarpieces, so that inspired me to create an ascending order. The same happened to me with the hundreds of lists that I make each day. In some way, I love it but I hate it at the same time. Collages allow me to literally cut/break with that and create a new order… sometimes using the same image but just with a different face.
Do you agree that your work is fashion focused? What else do you use your skills for?
I work for a fashion magazine so I have to deal with it everyday. My main interest is image as a form, though, and I just use fashion as an excuse to create new concepts. I'm very interested in interior design too. My mother is an interior designer and, in some way, I think I inherited her vocation. I enjoy seeing how my own spaces age and how the marks of time become a visual experience. I would decorate a restaurant or a very small hotel but never the house of someone that I don`t know very well... a home should speak about ourselves, it should have our print. I love writing too, but that is more like a need.
Where Ernesto dwells, his apartment in Madrid
To what extent does collage reflect your personality and life?
I like to feel relaxed but excited when I see my work. My everyday is very similar, I look for the balance but at the same time I try to break it, too. Besides there's a lot of Spanish culture and folklore in my work. I was brought up in a family where tradition matters so religion, flamenco… are always there.
You grew up in Malaga, Spain. Tell me about your childhood environment; the people around you, the community, surroundings and what influenced you most.
I grew up in a very posh neighbourhood in Málaga. Five minutes away from the sea but quite far from who I wanted to be. So, when you come of age, all these circumstances can make you feel like Tilda Swinton in "Io sono l'amore", searching all the time for something out of the appropriate. The city, per se, in the south of spain, couldn't be better. I love the Andalusian charisma. It’s quite savage.
Tell us about your artistic education. How did it shape you?
Apart from those painting lessons I received when I was a kid, I just took a couple of short courses on photography during college. However, I have learned so much by just observing the work of people I love. I don't mean just known artists that I admire, but close people, who inspire me everyday in whatever they do, for example, my grandma Ángeles, a truly mamma Roma.
A small part of Madrid as seen by Ernesto Artillo
Tell me about Madrid. What is your Madrid?
My Madrid is like a woman with a very strong and difficult character, but willing to give you so much pleasure. I live in the city centre and go to work by bike so I use a small part of it, probably just her vagina. For me, it is like a small village with great people and amazing sunrises that can make anything happen.
You’ve been working with Tendencias Fashion Magazine for two years, where fashion photography is your medium. What is it that attracts you to fashion photography?
The same of any other kind of photography but with styling and make up. Its a way to tell a story and produce an emotion.
The artistic language of Ernesto Artillo
You told me that you want to develop your own ‘artistic language’. Can you expand on this for me?
I`ve been producing images for ages, but even though its me who creates them its always for others. I would like to find out if I want to talk about something more personal and what is the best way to do it.
I understand that you have your first solo exhibition this September. Why now and not previously?
I thought my work didn't make sense outside the frame of a magazine, probably because I haven't seen myself in it in a more artistic way. But now I see that people like how it is developing, and that they would even pay for them or put my art in their houses. So why not?
What’s the strangest feedback that you’ve had about one of your works?
It may be a bit strange but it happens quite usually and I actually enjoy it. People tell me very often that my characters always look like Saints, Christs or Virgins.
What does a Spanish gentleman always do?
And it is love that we, at Swide, have for this growing talent. If you would like to find out more about Ernesto Artillo, you can follow his work here, on his blog.
But, it doesn't stop there, we also have an exclusive from the artist. Ernesto Artillo has been working on select images from the Sartoria Look Book and he has created some seemingly simple and wonderful pieces for us. To see these, click the link below.
You can catch exhibition at Museo Ecco, Centro de Creacion Contemporánea in Cádiz and details of his first solo exhibition in September will be released in the near future.
Credits - Ernesto Artillo
Interviewed and written by Ben Taylor