Dan Ferrer

06 April 2018
Author :  

IF A STREET HAS A SPIRIT...

When did you start to dedicate to the world of illustration?

 We are all imaginative and resolute people when we are children, but as we grow, only a few We keeping to live in that creative world. So creating drawings and paintings since always, but professionally it was for Hip Hop Nation magazine that I did my first published works. It was an innocent and incredible sensation to feel that the drawings in the end it had become my job.

 

How do you define your illustrations?

Technically I like the contrast. That's why I like to mix more detailed areas, with others more improvised and organic ones. A very detailed realistic face that has a brushstroke of white paint done without much care trimming the profile, is what I like.

As for the content I like the synthesis. I take a very complex abstraction of the human being, like "time", "death" or "justice" and I represent it in an image, in a theatrical way, almost as a mime, without many characters, without atrezzo ... direct, that at a glance you understand and instantly have a sensation.

 

How do you decide what to include and what not?

On the shelf of your house you probably have a book that you like to have around to look at it from time to time, some figure or a photo that gives you a positive memory ... Surely you do not need to have a 30 volume encyclopedia, which you don't go never to looking, neither a collection of ornaments and figures that mean nothing to you. With my creations I use the same concept, I try to leave out everything that does not contribute anything expressive or aesthetic.

On the other hand, I am guided by my personal feelings. If I create a general composition or some poses in the characters, which seem typical to me, that remind me of what other people have already done, at that moment I know I have to keep thinking. Tell the same but in another way. I do not like to fall into clichés or aesthetic or expressive, I try to create a language of my own.

 

What is the special difference between doing illustration on huge walls and small papers ( in comparison with the special materials and spaces in your projects.)

The main difference is that in the small format, your body remains almost immobile and it is your hand that operates. In the large format you use the whole body. You go up to the scaffold or the lifting platform, you get down and away to see the progress, you stoop to pick up paint, you get up, you make a mixture with a 10-liter cube of paint that suddenly spills on your feet ... it's a succession of things that bring to your mind a different experience in creation. By having so much physical activity you feel the different process also in your mind.

 

As I know , most of your illustrations are done on walls . Are they? If it is, could you explain why do you prefer that except of doing illustrations for books and magazines as many other illustrators ?

My beginnings were as an editorial illustrator. In my studio I have worked for 10 years for international brands in advertising and events. I've done storyboards for TV spots, bodypainting on fashion runways, and custom clothing for Levis, Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein. I have approached the audiovisual field by shooting my own shortfilms, also I have made animation pieces ...

As you see I have touched many disciplines. I have already felt that incredible sensation of getting off a train in another city and suddenly seeing the cover of a magazine illustrated by me in the front row. So today I feel that I have to be focused on another things, on telling my own stories in my works, whether on wall, canvas or paper.

 

What is the special feature of doing illustration on huge size?

 A special quality is that the process of small format is a secret for others, it germinates in your studio until you finally see the light in a book, a garment, a gallery ... but the large format makes the viewer participate in the process. What's more, when I'm in a country for 3 or 4 days doing a work, people of all ages come to talk to me, ask me questions, give me their personal reading about my work, they telling me about their lives ... it's very interesting . Once finished the work, no one needs to buy a book or pay admission to a museum, that work is for the enjoyment of anyone who walks in front of it.

Urban art has a very human character, both in the process and in the completion of the work. It's magic.

 

Do you personally find the process of working within self-imposed constraints or rules helpful to your work? 

 I firmly believe in balance in any aspect of life. For example, Don't just work for money. Neither work just for love. But to work with love to get money, so as not to die and to continue working with love, may be a good idea.

There are many very useful rules all of them. But if you stick to that, the result is inert works. Perhaps technically perfect, perhaps with the right color ... but dead, that don't arouse feelings in other people. On the other hand you can skip all the rules, which can lead to a disjointed and malformed work, when perhaps that is not what you are looking for.

Picasso said: "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." I think balance and intuition are the key. I personally use academic resources and my creative freedom, both the one and the other when I need them in every moment of the process of a work.

  

Would you explain more about the process of your work?

 It all starts like this. I do my normal life. Suddenly, perhaps while I'm playing with my kids, a concept runs through my mind like lightning. It can be anything simple "we do not have much time to enjoy our loved ones," for example. When the feeling is strong I have the need to tell it in a art work.

The next step is the most laborious because I look for a way to represent that thought, so complex that I would have to write a book about it, but I have to synthesize it into a single image. In this part of the process I am very demanding with myself.

The next part is to make sketches, look for the best composition, expressions, poses of the characters, elements ...

When I have decided the initial image I do a photo shoot with models. Here I find contradictions and twists in my idea. Suddenly I see that pose that I imagined does not work in the real world, or I decide to stay with another expression. It's a magical moment because at the beginning I never know what the final result will be.

Then I working with a digitally retouch the photo to have a more accurate reference, both color and adjusting certain things (like staying with one body and placing a head from another photo).

With the sketch in hand, I translate that reference into a work with my own language. My style, my color palette ... the process while I making painting is another mystery, because I improvisations arise, parts that I have to translate otherwise because they do not work in the same painting as in the photo ...

I really enjoy every part of the process, it's magic.

 

What is your opinion about the importance of environmental art and wall painting.

  I think when you go out on the street and what surrounds you are disastrous facades, worn bricks, shattered sidewalks and rubbish-filled cubes, all that influences your emotional state. But if when you go out to the street you see smiling people, music that comes out of the windows of houses and easy access to culture and art, all influences on your emotional state, also.

When I leave a museum, a theater or a concert, I feel a fullness, a joy, an energy, a positive confidence that the human being is doing something good. Thanks to the work of many artists we can leave the house and receive a positive charge for a creation that is in the street, that comes to us in an instantaneous, shocking and free. I firmly believe that art on the street helps people better emotional health.

 

What is your best piece of advice for young artists who are getting started as creators of children`s books?

 Something that helped me a lot in my way was first "demonstrate" and then "require".

You installed Whatsapp on your phone because it was free. Then you paid a euro / dollar a year because you were already connected to all your friends. If next year Whatsapp asks you for 5 euros / dollars a year, you probably pay them because you can not live without their service.

Now imagine that from the first day Whatsapp would have asked 5 euros / dollars a year. Quickly you would have installed another free similar application. We as self-employed have to think like a company. We must accept at what exact point we are in our career and where we want to go. Know what our clients need and learn how to offer it to them.

So my best advice is to prepare yourself all the time, never cease to evolve and demonstrate, at any opportunity you can. Sometimes you will be able to demonstrate and in return you will receive a lot of money, other times you will charge little, and sometimes, you will agree to work, even without charging, just for having the opportunity to demonstrate. But that should not worry you, every time you will have to demonstrate less and you can require more. That is the way, start from 0 but go walking towards 100, giving the best of you in every moment.

- process of a mural work: https://vimeo.com/181274258

- process of varnishing a work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ec4g-dJBrUM

- process a mural for the Mini car brand: https://vimeo.com/96101540

Collaboration in the short film "Musa": https://vimeo.com/28681069

mural process in art gallery: https://vimeo.com/35159079

https://www.danferrer.es/

 

 

 

 

 

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