“If you’re looking at me, I can’t draw.”
René is a freelance visual artist, illustrator and graphic designer based in Guadalajara, Jal. Mexico.
One of his assignments was to create the logo for Colima Arts. Named for Calle Colima in Mexico City, he uses typography from contemporary Mexican street signs, and the icon’s inspiration from an eagle warrior statue seen in Museo del Templo Mayor. The resulting insignia is meant to be “simple, elegant, modern, and spontaneous” he says. His other work, which can be seen at renetapia.com, focuses on presenting the elements of everyday life, his memory, nature, and the erotic.
1. With a few exceptions, the vast majority of your drawings tend to be black-and-white or quite monochromatic.
At the moment it is only the preference that I have with the graphite technique, I am still exploring. The use of pigment color is something that I have in mind for the future.
2. Name three ways that you (or your work) is “typically” Mexican. And three that make you or (your work) “atypically” Mexican.
It is complicated question. Typically: I think the natural elements, the antique manual techniques and the mystical touch within the everyday. Atypical: I suppose it does not fall into clichés or stereotypes (death, skulls, etc). I have quite a few references to Japanese drawing and comics. Maybe the homoerotic touch.
3. What’s the best logo of all time and why?
I’m going to put aside all the technical knowledge about design and I’m going to choose that of my favorite band, the “P” from Portishead, their second album of the same name. For me it is very strong.
4. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Completely nocturnal, at least in the creative aspects, I have always worked at night, it gives me peace of mind. In the morning my brain only works for actions that require more organization: administrative issues, mail, payments, etc.
5. If you could possess a magical/superhero power, what would it be and why?
Grow plants and trees. Create greenery everywhere. I would love to bring the natural balance back to the earth.
6. How do you relax?
Sorting things. It relaxes me to clean and put things in order. The result of a clean and tidy space gives me a lot of peace.
7. If you could own any piece of (famous/priceless) art in the world what would it be and why?
Ofelia – John Everett Millais. It is truly beautiful to me, in all aspects.
8. What is the most aesthetically beautiful thing you have ever seen?
The patterns in nature.
9. You have to collaborate with a fellow artist (or famous person) living or dead. Who would your first choice be and what would you two create?
I would love to be able to carry out a commission for Virginia Woolf. A piece about her thoughts or dreams, an illustration for one of her books, etc.
10. Let’s say you cannot live in Mexico anymore for some oddball reason. To where would you relocate and why?
Somewhere quiet and not cold, maybe in a town in Spain.
11. What’s your first memory of drawing or creating art?
Coloring architectural plans and house sketches that my father made at home.
12. What is the one thing that you think people most misunderstand about you and/or your work?
That I pretend I only care about the technical aspects, perfection, and realism.
13. What always makes you smile?
Dancing with my friends.
14. What motto or saying sums you up best?
If you’re looking at me, I can’t draw.