FRRRESH visual arts magazine â€˘ issue 13
Spring is here on our end of the planet and we’re here with very colorful and very lucky issue 13 of your beloved magazine. On pages that follow you will be wowed by yet another group of versatile and talented artist from around the world! We have something for everybody’s taste: illustrators, drawers, painters, photographers, ceramic makers, street artists and mixed media artists, so come on- let’s get to reading, looking and enjoying!
Artists featured in this issue are: Brosmind Geffen Refaeli Dante Horoiwa Li Wei Amy Friend Karl James Mountford GR170 Stephen Bird Hollie Chastain Joël Penkman
If there is one sentence that perfectly defines the spirit of Brosmind it is our motto THIS IS OUR MOMENTO! When we first coined the phrase, we wanted to reflect the enthusiasm we feel for each new project and our desire to improve ourselves and face the future with optimism.
WORKING WITH A BROTHER “The good thing about working with a brother is that you have known him all your life”. A key element in understanding our studio is the fact that its founders and owners are brothers. This brotherly bond is inseparable from the BROSMIND concept and of vital importance both to the contents we generate and to the way we work. Firstly, communication between us is very efficient. Because we have shared so much time, experiences and influences in general, our mental processes are very similar, and this enables us to convey ideas to one another at great speed. Another advantage is that there is naturally great familiarity between us. This means that the level of demand in our work is very high due to the absence of any filter to extenuate our criticisms. Finally, our family bond mitigates any potential clash of egos. Arguments due to creative differences with people who are not so close normally gradually undermine relationships, especially when you give in in favour of somebody else’s idea. In our case, we feel as if everything remained within the family and any dispute is usually just a simple quarrel between brothers. If the thing were to go any further, a conciliatory phone call from our mother would sort it out even faster.
OUR STYLE After several years working shoulder to shoulder, we can now say that our style is fully consolidated. Personally, we like to describe it as fresh, optimistic and with a large dose of fantasy and humour. Interestingly, what is now known as the Brosmind style didnâ€™t exist before the creation of the studio, but arose from the need to develop a new kind of illustration which we could both do indistinctly. As we have already mentioned, the two of us think in a very similar way, so the conceptual part of our illustrations arose spontaneously by just letting our ideas flow in a natural way. As for the search for our graphic style, the process was more laborious as there were more marked differences in our respective drawing styles. Alejandro had excellent spatial vision and could represent volumes and apparently functional machines with great ease. Juan mastered more the expressiveness of the characters, and was responsible for drawing the hands or bringing dynamism to the positions. We gradually learnt from each otherâ€™s strong points until we had equal mastery of the technique, so that sometimes it is hard even for us to identify the author of the different parts of our illustrations.
THE PROCESS We make absolutely all the creative decisions between the two of us and only divide the tasks at the end of the process where each one specializes in a particular task. The creation of the drawing in pencil is undoubtedly the most important and complex part of the process. These originals are made literally with four hands, because we keep passing the sheet of paper to each other depending on the inspiration of the moment. When we both consider that the pencil work is completely finished, itâ€™s time to move on to the inking and colouring stages. At this point we are usually content, because if there are no last minute surprises, completing it will just be a matter of time. As for the distribution of tasks, Juan is responsible for inking the drawing by hand, using different types of markers or brushes on the lightbox. Then Alejandro scans this original ink drawing and colours it digitally using a graphics tablet. One of our trademarks is that we like to keep the feeling of the manual drawing intact, so we never vectorize our illustrations. The final file we generate is always a bitmap.
THE SPACE Our headquarters is located in Barcelona, on the eighth floor of the unique DAVID BUILDING, a real find in this neighbourhood near the uptown area. Despite its neoclassical exterior appearance, this enormous concrete hive conceals on the inside a huge supermarket, an old shopping arcade, a luxury gym, a multi-storey car park and even a hostess club. Leaving aside the peculiarity of the setting, for us it is an ideal workspace: a perfect hybrid between a garage and a design studio; high ceilings, lots of light and a special energy that invites creativity. In this elongated space of about 60 square metres, my brother and I spend an average of 10 hours a day. As for the decor, you could say that we have created a vitamin enriched version of our childhood bedroom. Dozens of pictures and clippings cover the walls almost to the ceiling and all kinds of gadgets and toys occupy any available surface. It is not difficult to realize that any outsider would mean a disruption to such a personal creative environment. This factor, coupled with the fact that we like to control the processes down to the smallest detail, are the reasons why so far we have resisted sharing the space with other people.
THE SENSE OF WONDER Our current occupation in the management of Brosmind maintains a very direct connection with our childhood, because 30 years ago we formed a precocious creative duo which could be considered the germ of what is now our studio. Born in 1978 and 1981 respectively, we had the good fortune of growing up during what in our opinion was the Golden age of children’s entertainment, i.e. the 80’s and early 90’s. At that unrepeatable time the most amazing action figures, adventure films and comics from all periods coexisted for our enjoyment. Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe, Ninja Turtles, Bravestar, Starcom, Visionaries, Dinoraiders, Cops and Robbers, Madelman 2050, Giraya Ninja, Yakse Warriors, Big Trouble in Little China, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Tintin, Asterix, Mortadelo y Filemón, Super López, Marvel Comics, Dc Comics, Spiderman, Thor, The Fantastic Four, Secret Wars, etc. We have always considered that our current style is in some way influenced by the popular culture of that period, not so much in an aesthetic sense but rather in the search for that sense of wonder that permeated that era. Although our parents never imagined that one day we would end up making a living with it, they never tried to discourage our early artistic efforts. Thanks to their permissiveness and understanding, we were able to freely develop our creativity, which at that time was mainly focused on three disciplines: comics, model-making and films. The comics consisted of a kind of fanzine, which we made by folding two or three sheets of paper in half and stapling them together at the spine. They were nearly always drawn in pencil, although there were also some “luxury edition” volumes done in biro. The subject matter was of the most varied, but with a certain predominance of superheroes, martial arts and war stories. Production was quite prolific and some of the titles are considered real classics in our family, such as the game-book, RAMBÓN, the adventures of SUPER PEDESTRIAN, the saga of the karateka, KONG, and our absolute favourite: HIRON-MAN.
Model-making was another hobby that always attracted us, and we were able to practice it without problems because we had carte blanche to use the tools in the workshop of our house in the country. The undisputed star of our arsenal was the legendary silicone bar gun, with which we built vehicles, robots, houses, weapons and all kinds of accessories for our action figures made from wood, electronic components and any other material we came across. Some of these objects that we still retain are a new version of the A-team van, which moved forwards and backwards thanks to two cablecontrolled electric motors, and a remote control car which we modified to run without batteries by installing three solar panels extracted from three caps with a fan. In this chapter, a key role was played by our father, to whom we owe our interest in discovering how things work and also our taste for weird contraptions and gadgets in general. We often had entertaining pseudoeducational sessions with him, in which we would dissect old household appliances to discover what secrets were hidden inside. On one occasion, during a visit to a department store, he managed to convince us that we would find more interesting things in the hardware section than in the toy section. After a few moments of initial uncertainty, we realized that our father was right and, with great excitement, acquired a scoop for making ice-cream balls and an olive pitter. When it seemed that we had reached our creative peak, the Sony Handycam camcorder made its appearance in our home. Thanks to another show of generosity from our parents, we had free access to the small appliance and had soon created our own film studio, which we christened MINGARROFILMS. A prolific period then began, in which we engaged ourselves in shooting films starring our toys, music videos and exploitations of the most successful films of the era. All our productions were mounted directly in the camera, rewinding and recording again whenever we got it wrong. Working in this way, we erased hundreds of hilarious outtakes, but on the other hand, when we finished shooting the film was ready to be viewed. The songs on the soundtrack were added live during the actual filming, using a cassette player which we turned on or off to coincide more or less with the video shots. This meant that in our music videos the songs suffered a small cut with each change of shot. However, the immediacy of this technique made it worthwhile.
Within all that technical precariousness which we tried to compensate by ingeniousness, the discovery of which we are proudest was how to use the cameraâ€™s titling technology to create our own special effects. This was a rudimentary Chroma Key function included in some camcorders of the time whereby it was possible to memorize by contrast any doodle drawn on a white sheet. Thanks to this incredible discovery, we started to add all kinds of amazing visual effects to our films, such as laser beams, energy halos, explosions, ghosts, etc. The only difficulty was to synchronize the action so that when you pressed the button to call up the graphics, these appeared in the right place. Some other noteworthy experiments with our beloved camcorder were putting it in a transparent plastic box sealed with silicone to record underwater, fixing it to the handlebars of a bike to get an impressive pointof-view shot, building a homemade steadycam based on the gyroscopic effect of a spinning bicycle wheel, or the innocent trick of sticking black cardboard to the objective to simulate a panoramic scene. Unfortunately, those days could not last forever and new responsibilities and obligations appeared in our lives and gradually started taking up the time we had previously devoted to creation. The fact of growing up caused an unexpected interruption to our prolific artistic career and a stressful immersion in our academic studies. As big brother, having finished high school, Juan was forced to travel to the big city to start university. Because of the lack of information and the little confidence we had in our creative skills as a future source of income, he decided to continue with the family tradition and study pharmacy in Barcelona. When it seemed there was no hope for the artistic future of the Mingarro brothers, a teacher at our high school revealed to Alejandro the existence of a degree course in Design which he thought might fit our profile. That discovery was the key to entering the world of professional creativity. The two of us ended up studying Product Design and Graphic Design respectively, and in 2006, after a creative gap of more than a decade, we joined forces again and founded the Brosmind Studio. After several years as professionals, it still seems incredible to us how lucky we were to have been able to redirect our careers in time to end up making a living from our creativity. We often like to look back and remember the freshness and spontaneity of the work we did during our childhood. We realize that those were wonderful years in which we enjoyed a creative freedom difficult to repeat, but which we have never stopped pursuing.
PERSONAL PROJECTS We have bittersweet memories of the early years of the Brosmind Studio, because although at last we were starting to earn a living from our creative skills, the advertising industry we were moving into did not allow us to fully develop our more personal ideas. It was within this context of artistic frustration that we decided to start generating our own work. This self-imposed career of personal projects also pursued the long-term goal of cleaning our portfolio of all those projects we did not fully identify with. In this way our idea was to direct our future clients towards a stylistic line defined completely by ourselves. ‘WHAT’S INSIDE?’ was our first personal project and the one which has taken us longest to complete. Although it began to take shape shortly after the founding of Brosmind, its production ended up taking years since we did it gradually during the little spare time we had. This makes the material comprising it an unplanned chronicle of the development of the studio over time. From the beginning the collection of illustrations was produced with the intention of exhibiting them in a gallery. Therefore, all the originals were made on sheets of paper of the same size and the inking was more elaborate than usual. It was an unrushed job, almost craftwork, in clear contrast with the frenzied advertising work we were doing at the time. Such was the care with which we carried out the project, that we came to idealize its completion. So when we were offered an exhibition space to present it, we found ourselves incapable of completing it and generated another completely new project to get by with, such as the Brosmind Army or the Brosmind RV pedal car.
The basic idea of ‘WHAT’S INSIDE?’ arose after finishing the Meatman illustration for the cover of the magazine, Etapes. Until then our commercial style had been characterized by terribly complex black and white illustrations. Although we were proud of them, since you lose yourself for hours in their hundreds of details, we considered that they didn’t quite work as art pieces. Following the satisfactory experiment of the filleted giant illustration, we decided to work more on this new more colourful and striking stylistic line. We then began a series of characters starring colossal walkers that opened up in different ways to reveal the secrets of their interior. In all of them, as in the Meatman drawing, a small, plump girl appeared in a corner and over time became one of our most recurrent characters. The collection of characters grew over the years to reach the round figure of 20, by which time we had virtually exhausted the ingenious ways of cutting open a character. Attracted by the idea of exploring new formats beyond two dimensions, the project was completed with a series of photographs and a sculpture. For the photographs, we dressed up in homemade costumes made of cans and had one of the hottest photo sessions of our lives. In the photo we see how Juan tries to discover what Alejandro has hidden inside his brain. The latter, far from being shocked, also allows curiosity to get the better of him and tries to see what’s in there using a small mirror. The sculpture is an ambitious piece developed over several years. Although the original idea was quite clear, the way in which the objects inside the sectioned horse have been displayed evolved over very diverse paths before reaching its present arrangement. We are very proud of having managed to finish it, because there were some highly critical moments in which the piece was almost discarded from the project due to the many technical obstacles we ran up against. The result is unique and unrepeatable; one of the most complex pieces we have created to date.
brosmind.com email@example.com facebook.com/brosmind twitter.com/brosmind instragram.com/brosmind vimeo.com/brosmind
Geffen Refaeli instagram.com/dailydoodlegram geffenrefaeli.com
Dante Horoiwa Dante Horoiwa is a self-taught artist, born in 1988 in São Paulo, Brazil and currently lives and works in the woods of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Horoiwa’s imagery is grounded within a deeply personal narrative, infused with a surreal sensibility, often directly related to a particular perception or the atmosphere. His paintings, drawings and murals portray a mysterious and soulful tonality, the constant feeling of ‘something unknown lacking’, an inner process of trying to find answers for those nameless things, inside and outside of us. Horoiwa has presented his work on murals and in exhibitions in the Netherlands, New York, California, Australia, Hong Kong and Brazil.
horoiwa.com instagram.com/dantehoroiwa twitter.com/Horoiwa
Li Wei ( C h i n a )
Amy Friend amyfriend.ca
I’m an Illustrator born in Germany and brought up in the U.K. I’m currently living in-between places so I don’t have a definitive base or desk for that matter, but as long as there is paper and pencils, I’m always pretty happy. I don’t wear a tie for work and i’m almost always covered in paint. My sketch books rarely get a day off , I can get lost for hours doodling away and making up short stories and characters that will never see the light of day. I seem to work best late at night with copious amounts of cereal and cigarettes at hand. When I know the rest of world is done with the day, i can concentrate more on the little illustration world i’m creating.
I’ve never been fussed on telling folks the “deeper” meaning about my work, those are kind of my reasons for making it. It just seems a lot cooler if folks make their own interpretations of the illustration or the narrative behind it, hopefully they take what they want from it. My influences change a lot but my go to sources are a huge stash of really old photo’s my nan gave me that span from around 1909- 1980’s and they are full of nostalgia and the unknown. When I was little, I was besotted and obsessed with the Little Mermaid and Peter Pan..I would draw them all the time. Perhaps, this is why I’m always drawing odd folks in water or forests? Who knows? I’m just having a ton of fun doing what i love.
GR170 aka â€œGritoâ€?
works, paints and survives in the outskirts of Barcelona. He started painting walls at the beginning of 2000, and these days, heâ€™s an addict to plastic paint, he enjoys painting the streets and loves the smell of the rotten plastic paint in the morning.
Stephen was born in 1964 in Stoke-onTrent in Staffordshire, the home of the Potteries, Royal Doulton, Wedgwood and Minton. He grew up and went to Art College in Dundee (Scotland) but now lives and works in Sydney (Australia). His studio is an old paint factory near the airport and he teaches part time at the National Art School. He initially trained as a painter but now works in a range of mediums including ceramics, drawing, painting and animation. Stephen has exhibited his work extensively for over 20 years in the United Kingdom, USA and Australia. The familiarity of pottery, the sensual nature of clay, the male female relationships, the sexual metaphors and violence all adds to a playful, cathartic experience where one feels compelled to laugh out loud.
Hollie Chastain Hollie Chastain is an artist living and working in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After working with various media at an early age she fell in love with collage. As well as various publications you can see her work in galleries and art boutiques both in the US and abroad.
holliechastain.com facebook.com/HollieChastainArt twitter.com/HollieArt
JoĂŤl Penkman 10 years ago I finished university in New Zealand and moved to the United Kingdom. This cultural transition has influenced my subjects which often focus on aspects of British life. I paint mainly still-life, depicting everyday objects in an intimate, isolated and sometimes photographic way. The objects, which range from shoe polish to polos and pork pies, are set against neutral backgrounds, and with no context given the interpretation of the works remains open. Subjective readings are unavoidable. I enjoy small, often unobserved details and imperfections; spills, stains, or a scrape on the edge of a shoe polish tin. I paint primarily in egg tempera and enjoy the technical control this allows me while preparing my own paints and grounds.
j o e l p e n k m a n . c o m
Photos and text: Courtesy of each author unless stated otherwise Editors: Rafael MilÄ?iÄ‡ and pekmezmed Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org frrresh.org
Thirteenth issue of Frrresh, the online visual arts magazine visit us aw www.frrresh.org