Interview by Javier Melian for www.thepalettepages.com
I am Javier Melian (@jmelianuk on Twitter). Foremost I am an art lover that twits about street art and outsider artist mainly. Let me introduce you to this extraordinary character and really funny man.- artist Diego Vera-Aguilar, aka Keko. I love all his work, but especially his incredibly realistic portraits made with ink pen. Please check them out! Keko was born in Barcelona in 1977 and currently lives in Badalona, a lovely coastal town nearby. He studied Fine Arts, illustration and graphic design and in early 2000 he started a partnership called Anhima interactive, an advertising studio where he was in charge of design and illustration. In 2002 he joined Anera Films, an animation company based in Barcelona, as an illustrator and animator for children’s series.
Then he moved to at Banzai Productions a production company for commercials to co-head the creation and artistic direction of some of the most irreverent and innovative animated series ever seen at the time. After that, he begun freelancing and growing his own portfolio of clients. He created his first web page and started to make himself known among all producers, publishers, magazines and special effects houses. He has done projects for household names such as Peugeot, Men’s Health, Adidas, Zara and special effects house DDT (Oscar-winner for Pan’s Labyrinth), etc. At the same time, he’ also been writing his own graphic novels, like “A guy with spark.” (published in Spain by Cupula Editions). This is a story full of caustic humor where the reader surely will end up very fond of the characters. It can currently be found in specialized book shops across Spain.
He is currently working at ZEROSFX, a special effect house where he creates amazing fantastic characters, from the conceptual to the digital design. He is also available for commission projects he is able to fit in with his hectic schedule. Diego Vera-Aguilar (Keko) // email@example.com // +34 660 23 22 27
Self-taught or art school?
Since childhood I always liked drawing. I scribbled and coloured any blank page that fell into my hands … I’d say I am both self-taught and art school, since formal training helped me understand new styles, and got me playing with materials and experimenting … and I still keep doing it. I love it.
If you could own one work of art what it would be?
That’s a tricky question … I like lots … some of Dalí works for sure; “Galatea” maybe, or Van Gogh’s “Arles room”, “starry night” … but I would lose sleep just with the thought of owning such big pieces.
How would you describe your style?
Naive, melancholic, autobiographical … I move across different styles but if I had to sum them up, I would say my style is the accumulation of my experiences and how they managed to be channeled into a canvas or other media.
Where are your favorite places to view art?
If we talk about art on its generic sense then cinema, bookstores specialized in graphic novels and illustration, museums like the Guggenheim or foundations like Cosmocaixa in Barcelona, but basically the film is what I am passionate about.
Who are your favorite artists and why?
I love artists like Dali and his crazy and virtuous art works, then probably some Spanish illustrators like Juanjo Saez, who is able to say a lot with very little. I like all those artists that transmit something with their art, because you also have those that fill a canvas with paint and sell it to you. That makes no sense … but we know they exist.
What or who inspires your art?
My personal stories, the natural beauty of certain people, rainy days, certain songs, all animals,film also inspires me, it makes me dream, loneliness, company … etc.
Where’s your studio and what’s like?
My studio is my own home. It is a warm and clean place, sacred I might say. There is where I create all my work and I think nowadays is it not only my study but also is my den and my sanctuary where I can heal any wound, drawing and meditating.
Do you have any studio rituals?
hahahaha! how do you know that? LOL! before I start working I always draw my personal symbol in the air, (If I do remember) and if I use a rubber, when I finish it needs to be back in its place at its best possible condition, same with everything else … there is a ritual, the ritual is the order.
What are you working on currently?
I am currently doing personal portraits in watercolor, pen and digital. It takes me a few days to do one, so I try to respect every detail and think about everything involved as much as I can. I am also working sporadically for various advertising companies, making storyboards and designing characters.
Where can we buy your art?
It can be purchased directly from me: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a contact form in my website which is www.kronolitum.com . I accept any job I see myself capable of doing, and so far I’ve never had any bad experiences.
What are your ambitions?
To make a living out of what I love doing. I don’t care about fame or money, honest. I just want to live doing what I love, as comfortable as I possibly can with the life that I’ve been given. I am not an ambitious man, I have always been moved by the most simple things, “step by step, one goes a long way ” they say.