Paul Fuentes is graphic designer and photographer who grew up in Mexico City where he started his fascination for manipulating images. For fun, Fuentes turns everyday objects, animals and food into surreal and colorful compositions. The contemporary perspective and pastel-colored backgrounds give life to his minimal depictions of modern pop designs. The intentions of his designs are to bring a smile on people’s face. Keep reading this exclusive interview to get a closer look into his happy, fun, colorful and surreal style!
TH: Tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an artist.
PF: I grew up in a creative family, my mother studied graphic design (and so did I) and my musical dad worked on radio and television post-production creating music for commercials. More than three years ago I noticed the trend of food photography on Instagram so I started sharing my personal work of minimal mashups, just to get some feedback. Suddenly my designs got reposted and the account was growing! My designs were used for advertising, on blogs, magazines and my followers kept on growing. I really didn’t expect this, but now I know: this was my calling, creating images of common food, objects, and animals in a new and twisted way.
TH: What inspires your designs?
PF: I like to say that it’s the new Pop-Art. The style is modern, minimal, colorful, surreal and photographic. I always choose humor, even the basic needs of a person, like food, but it has to have humor. I try to make people laugh and I like the idea of saying a joke without words. The vibrant shades of pastel I use in my artworks is a direct correlation to Mexico.
TH: How do you see the role of the artist evolving in today’s ever-more digital world?
PF: I think is great for the artists to share their art on a global basis, platforms like Instagram are really good to find great art and amazing artists. Although art tends to be lazier and lame because of the fact that some people just make it for the likes and they go by trends, so there is not really an artistic process.
TH: Do you have any favorite artist that has inspired you?
PF: My all-time favorite artist is Caravaggio, he basically dominated the light and shadow, textures, expressions and the human body. Sadly, with photography, we had to forget about creating shadows and light from scratch.
TH: Do you have a favorite design/project that you’ve created?
PF: Well my Black Lion is one of my favorite pieces, it has so much power, beauty and simplicity and the same time.
TH: If you could collaborate with someone, who would it be and what would be the nature of the project?
PF: Is hard to say, I love having control of everything on my images, but I am sure it would be interesting to work with a painter and create more organic and handmade textures. I am trying to find a way to make my art less digital and more organic.
TH: Do you have any projects you are currently working on or planning on doing?
PF: I’m always working on a personal project, posting new designs weekly on my Instagram account @paulfuentes_design and @paulfuentes_photo. This personal work brings me clients and license applications as a collaboration with Armani Exchange. We collaborated on a street art collection with 2 of my designs on t-shirts and bags. We definitely have some exciting projects coming up too.
TH: Looking back on your path, what was the single most important event or circumstance that directly impacted where you are today in your career?
PF: I think a trip to Europe 4 years ago, I loved Europe! A world opened up for me, I felt more comfortable straight away. The design was more clean, direct, and artistic. I left my comfort zone to find a better one full of inspiration and creativity.
It is also where I fell in love with a Dutch girl (Ilse) who also became my business partner. We complement each other perfectly and put the best of both in our work and agency. In the begining this year we moved back to London to live and work, it’s the place where everything started for us.
TH: What is something you know now that you have wished you have known when you were first starting out?
PF: Don’t think too much about others opinion and go.
TH: Do you have any tips or suggestions for other aspiring artists/ designers?
PF: I would say that is important to know a little bit of everything, have a good library of artists. It is good to have references. Also, I would say that a good way to start is by copying a technique or a style exclusively to practice and once you dominate it try to break it apart or start with a new technique. Try, see, read, listen, taste, touch and just be curious.
TH: How do you overcome creative blocks?
PF: What I try to do is open up my senses, and get ready for everything. Going out of my comfort zone or just go to the supermarket and make it my goal to find something.
TH: Professionally, what’s your ultimate goal?
PF: Continue to strive for innovative and original ideas, the possibilities are infinite. Last year I started a new project on Instagram as @paulfuentes_photo. This new project is a colorful lens through which I see the world in a different way. Working with a similar style and without missing the pastels, in which I take travel photographs to a surreal and unexplored place.
In the coming years, I see myself traveling around the world taking pictures in the most beautiful places. And as for Paul Fuentes Design maybe working with 3D or video animation. As long as you can find creativity and pleasure in your work, everything is allowed!