Perfectly crafted kittens and Madonnas (the popstar, not the Biblical figure) dressed in candy-colored pinks and teals adorn Cristobal "Popaesthete" Saez's social channels making him a solid person to follow. We asked the Chilean artist some tips on making it these days as a freelancer and how he started turning his illustrations into clever GIFs.
TH: Where are you from?/Where do you currently live?
CS: I'm originally from Santiago, Chile and I've been living in New York City for the past five years.
TH: Who were the first few people you followed on Tumblr?
CS: I'm not even sure, because I joined Tumblr so long ago! I'm very into several fandoms, so I imagine that the first thing I did was follow some pop star Tumblrs. I also remember following many vintage photography Tumblrs.
TH: When did you first start making your illustrations into GIFs?
CS: I started about a year ago, when I interned at Giphy. Working there really opened up my mind about the endless possibilities of animation, and it took my illustrations to the next level.
TH: Hardest thing about creating GIFs?
CS: I think the hardest thing about GIFs is creating a seamless loop, and an animation that looks and feels natural.
TH: Where do you draw inspiration from for you artwork?
CS: I draw inspiration from pop culture, and anything that I'm obsessed with. Most of the time, it's drag queens, pop stars, cats and icons, but it really depends on what I'm feeling at the moment. I love browsing Tumblr and Instagram for new inspiration.
TH: Any new announcements?
CS: My online store is now open! I have a bunch of all-over printed t-shirts and totes for sale, including my Britney t-shirt. I'm working on all sorts of projects at the moment, including some coloring zines featuring pop stars, coming soon!
TH: One thing every freelancer should do on a weekly basis?
CS: I think every freelancer must probably have a different way of working, but I operate well with checklists. I make everything in my life into a checklist, and damn it feels good when you get to cross things off. So yeah, organizing is key!
TH: Talk to us about some of your other projects? You have worked with musicians on album covers, logo design etc. What is your collaboration process like?
CS: It depends with every client, but it mostly follows the same line. We chat about where the aesthetic should go, and after trial and error, hopefully, we meet halfway and get to a good final product!
TH: One thing you wish you knew last year that you know this year?
CS: Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, and always have backup plans!