sabato 18 aprile 2009

Interview with Manuel Donada

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)Hi everyone! My name is Manuel Donada (aka mdonada)

and I live in Madrid, which is the capital of Spain

(for those who don't know).

q) Where do you live and work?

a)I live in Madrid in a little nice apartment in Chueca.

I don't really have a place where I work, I could say that

my “real” office is my own apartment but I spend more

time sailing the world, places like cafes, other cities,

planes, trains, other people´s houses... What I like the

most is drawing at cafes, where Im a complete stranger,

i observe, let the real world posses me, absorb light and energy,

images, colors and patters. Other people´s behaviour.

Being outside is what influences me the most. Life itself I guess.

q) How would you describe your work to someone

who has never seen it?

a)I’m not very good at this!. I don't think I'm able to describe

what I do. Its a mess of things, a mixture of emotions and

experiences in my head that fight desperately to get out

and be the chosen one. Its like a herd of buffalos crossing a

river. Aggressive and fast. Only the strong will survive.

Like a bubble full of butterflies. You can see them and tell

they are butterflies but cant really picture one and say out

loud how it looks like, extract it from the rest.
Its like my head pukes and my hand cleans up the mess.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize

you were an artist?

a)Well, I have been operating pens and paper since I was

little. I remember my family being VERY supportive and

all. I spent a lot of time drawing by my own, at home, at

school... Its hard to imagine today but I was a quiet boy

back then, always alone. That changed after the years.
All my books and friends notebooks at school were full of

little characters and comics, my table too (which the

principal made me clean a million times!). I always carried

a pen with me but never thought about it in a serious way.

It was more an entertainment than something I could do in

a future, know what I mean?.
I cant remember the day I decided to take a further step and

think about making a living from this. I guess it was always

there and it just came out naturally. One day I quit school

because I wanted to do cartoon animation which I did for 3

years in Madrid. Probably the clearest idea I had back then.

After that I worked for Cartoon Network which wasn't a

big deal anyway. Then tired of people telling me what to do

or not to do I took the mysterious and hard path to

Freelance Kingdom.
After the years, before I could even realize, I found myself

doing graphic design and leaving my pencil case in the

drawer for a long time. Paper sheets were no longer

everywhere around my room. I guess my mum was happy

with that more than anyone else.
Its weird because I could say that I have been 2 totally different

creators. Like 2 different entities with different names

and pseudonymous. One doing cartoons and the other one

doing Graphic Design. Both living at the same time.
Some people even thought I was two different guys and they

would come up to me and say: “hey, have you seen this?

, you might like it!”, and it was mine.
Nowadays I combine both and I'm very happy with that!.

So that´s why I use my real surname (Donada) to “sign” all

of them. I'm just one person, the same for everything I do,

so having just one name is the most reasonable and healthy

decision that I could have taken about this matter.

I have never called myself an artist. I just started to think

about it after hearing it from people...its just an etiquette to

summarize and make things easier I guess.

q) What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)I mostly use 8400 Edding pens and vegetal transparent

paper. And as for big paintings acrylic and canvas,

sometimes wood too.
I have a serious problem with pens. I'm an addict. I could

spend hours and millions of euros on stationery. In fact I

have a bunch of books and pencil cases with different

types and shapes of pens from all around the world but

my favorite of all times are the Eddings 8400 (hard to find

though). I can not imagine how much money I have spent

on those. (right now I just counted the ones I have with

me here and the number is 23).
They all follow a process: the new ones are used to draw

new projects and drawings on transparent paper for

silkscreens or clean and detailed illustrations, after

that they go right away to the second case where the

ones with the “used tip” (the ones that have lost their

virginity) rest to be used to put the final touches to the

canvas I'm working on. Then there is no way they are

going to skip the cemetery!. Where a common grave of

old 8400 are resting waiting to spend their last breath

somewhere, dreaming of being used again.
Some do, some just dry and die.
When it comes to share my pens I could be really irritating.

Always ask first and the answer will probably be NO.

q) What/who influences you most?

a)As I said before life influences me a lot. I know this sounds

boring and cliche but its true. Everything I see influences

me. When I walk, what I experience, what I get from people

I love or hate...Sometimes I take long walks when I need

inspiration. Madrid is such an intense city sometimes

and offers a lot if you pay attention to it. Sometimes you

can hear it talk.
Being surrounded by people that do things also makes a huge

impact on me. Like music, art, simple conversations, pictures...

I like active people. Positive. Even though I sometimes

find myself quit depressing.
Sharing ideas and impressions to me is very important.

Different points of view. Listening. Looking. Staring silent.

q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a)Well, being a freelance is kind of an adventure everyday.

You never know. Sometimes I have tons of work and I'm so

stressed I could jump out of the window. And sometimes its

relaxed and I can visit friends, family, hang around, tour,

experience new techniques, realizing how it feels to be

REALLY broke... But most of the time there is no space

and time to do everything Id like to. If I want to do my stuff

and then work for other people I have to be very responsible,

which sometimes I'm not!. It depends a lot in how creative I feel.

I mean, I could be doing stuff but if I something inside of me

says I'm not doing it as good as i could or should I get really

nervous and pass a really hard time dealing with that.

Dealing with me. Sometimes I hate what I do, sometimes I

love it but maybe you couldn't tell from the outside. I

mean, people wont notice. Its a weird feeling.
I'm a very impulsive person and I guess that's a big

uncontrollable force that takes a big part in what I do.

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve

with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)I’d like to meet people doing interesting things,

experience life, never stop learning, grow as person, collect

emotions, travel, get better every single minute, be proud of

what I do I guess... As simple as that. Usual as that.

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art

interest you?

a)Nowadays I'm into comics a lot again. Mostly underground...

I'm looking for awesome stories, from the heart, more

“blood-freezing” than visual. And when I say “visual”

i mean well drawn or with obvious amazing drawing skills.

You could break my heart drawing a simple line if its in

the right place.
I search for new artists all the time but If I have to name

a strong influence in me right now that would be Jim

Woodring. He is a genius. I cant believe there is someone

doing things like that among us. And the best part, he looks

like a wizard to me. I'm sure he is.

q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)Well, it depends a lot in how creative I feel that day and

how big the piece is or the work I'm into. I might do 3 pieces

during the day or maybe non. If I feel things do not come

easily or just don't flow I think is better to forget it and

occupy your time in a different issue. There is no point in

forcing the machine because in the end I will be throwing

everything away and wasting my time. Which means I will

probably get mad or unbearable, very difficult.

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally

attached to them?

a)To be honest it is. In the beginning it was pretty hard

but now I don't think about it very much. Its weird because

I find more difficult to sell my sketches, the original ones

for silkscreens and all than the big canvas people find more

shocking. I'm more attached to those little pieces that have

been carefully treated. They are like little birds. The rest

are grown-ups than can leave the nest and will be remembered

with nostalgia. I have been keeping some for a long time til I

decided to sell or give them away. I feel that if they are not

prepared to leave I must keep them. Its more paternal and

natural than I thought!. In the other hand, some will stay with

me forever. Like it or not.
You ask if I “enjoy” selling my pieces. I don't but I have to do

it, speaking about real life.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things

you're listening to now?

a)Music is VERY important to me. Almost everything is music

related in my life. I first started doing graphic design because

of it. Always drawing with music and for music. I cant imagine

myself not listening to music. NO way!.
Putting on a record is what I normally do when I wake up.

Maybe the 2ND or 3rd thing that I do. First would be putting

on my glasses, then pissing, music and coffee, I guess.

I have been listening to Usaisamonster a lot these past months.

I think their new record is just pure magic. Like a

sentimental journey through lands and wonderful landscapes.

You can feel yourself in the woods, riding your horse,

camping to start a fire, battle mystic creatures and all

that. Its a real master piece in my opinion.
I have also been listening to Clarence Ashley these days

and, even though it might sound weird, I'm a lot into Black Metal too.

q) Books?

a)That is a hard question. Right now I'm reading Douglas

Coupland´s “All Families Are Psychotic” but I could say

that one of my favorite writers is Italo Calvino. I like

his books a lot. He is amazing.
I also read lots of comics as I have said before. Not super

hero Marvel-Dc as much as I used to though.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding

creativity or the creative process?

a)Non. I mean, I don't really follow any rule or trend

or anything like that or check out things.
If it looks good, breaks hearts, burns your retina and

makes an impact then everything is more than welcome.

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when

you're not creating?

a)I play music in a band called Grabba Grabba Tape and

run a record label called Gssh! Gssh! Records here in

Madrid. I also put up shows for bands in Spain and

sometimes Portugal and like to enjoy time with my friends.

Friends are important to me. Sometimes things they say,

share, do or believe are a big inspiration to me (i'm

repeating myself here, sorry). So does family. I need

all of them around.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you

are particularly excited about?

a)I always have a lot projects in mind. Some die or get lost

in the Woods Of Ideas or stand there to become old like

trees. I need to be more constant to be honest but

time really flies sometimes. I cant do everything Id

like to. Nowadays im considering the idea of going

back into cartoons. Do my own productions. Short

films, simple, just let it come out somehow. I just re-discovered

John Kricfalusi´s work and fell in love again!.
I have been having this idea of making a book forever.

It is all perfectly designed and done in my head. I can

see pages and drawings kind of clearly. I think it would

be called Watdafac but you never know.
Comics! I need to start a comic or an illustrated story...

I might but that is a secret I cant talk about, sorry.
I'm sure that this year I will out out a fanzine about dogs

and the Hexatron that is taking ages. Hexatron is a

collection of silk screened postcards of people that I like.

Friends mostly. Every issue will have a theme and the

fist one is about Mystery. I already have a bunch with me.

Some people never sent anything. Its a slow process but

believe me it will come out soon.
I want to apologize to the people involved in the project that

have been waiting forever and really supported my from

the beginning. They know who they are.
As far as art shows go, I will be doing a split show in

Madrid and LA with my friend Sonny Kay from the US.

He does amazing collages and stuff. He is very good.

I like split shows but as usual everything takes its time

and its kind of exhasperated for an impatient person like me.
Lets see how many of the projects i'm into really sees

the light someday. You bet.

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how?

What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)Not really. I could recommend stuff I like though.

Like Will Sweeney for example, CF is like “wow”,

everything Paper Rad does is awesome too, Augenblick

studios are so good that make me nervous... I don't know,

I could be listing things for hours.
The good thing is searching, discovering...The trip itself

towards new stuff is the lovely thing about all this. It

was more intense and pleasant when we had no Internet

and you had to read fanzines, bet for new artist without even

knowing them, ordering from places that seemed to

have hidden treasures, send letters... There is nothing

like expecting a package full of goodies at home.

q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer,

and answer it.

a)Would you like a more Spanish omelette?
- yes, please.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)Read comics!

q) Where can we see more of your work


a)I'm working in my new website now so those who

are expecting an update will have to wait.
New stuff coming up. I promise!

mercoledì 8 aprile 2009

Interview with Alia Penner

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)My name’s Alia Penner. I grew up in Topanga Canyon.

I almost always wear dresses.

q)Where do you live and work?

a)I live in Los Angeles, CA. My home & studio is on

Mt. Washington, where I have an amazing view of

Downtown. Lot’s of windows & sunshine & rainbows.

q)How would you describe your work to someone who

has never seen it?

a)Dreamscapes made out of pieces of paper & painted


q)How did you start in the arts? How/when did you

realize you were an artist?

a)My parents told me I used to draw these triangle

people when I was little, with hats & one eyeball.

I also could color inside the lines in kindergarden so

they skipped me up a grade. I doubt they do that


q)What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)Old books & magazines, it’s amazing how large print

magazines used to be, and the saturation of color!

Also x-acto blades, spray mount, prismacolors and

paint are pretty important too.

q)What/who influences you most?

a)Music, I collect records. Putting on a new album you

just found, holding it in your hands, looking at the gatefold,

hearing it crackle. It just seems more tangible to me,

I guess that’s why I don’t like to make art on the computer.

q)Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a)It’s kind of like playing with paper dolls. Taking different

pieces and layering them to see who is best fit for

each other. Should the ballerina playing guitar be

riding a elephant or sitting on a priests head? Are they

floating through the hourglass nebula or standing on

an infinite plane with a giant rose hovering above

their head? My roommates cat, Lola, will usually come

sit on whatever I have layed out. Then I can glue it

all down & that’s where it stays…

q)Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve

with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)For it to MOVE. I really would like to make some kind

of animation with my work. Collage really lends itself

to that I think. The movement I see is really simple, like

in Yellow Submarine, there’s a person sitting on a

chair, there hand goes up and then down. That’s all.

Maybe some rainbows shooting out of their hands

would be nice too.

q)What contemporary artists or developments in

art interest you?

a)I feel like I am part of a collective in LA. My fellow

artists, photographers, musicians, fashion designers,

film makers… we are all working on the same cosmic plane.

It’s beautiful to have so many creative friends

to collaborate with, learn from and influence each other.

q)How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)Hm… It depends. I can make a poster for a concert

in a day. Then I have to scan it in, piece it together…

find a printer. So much of my work needs to be printed…

trapped on the computer until then.

q)Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you

emotionally attached to them?

a)I am attached, but not enough to not want to sell

my work. When someone expresses that they want an

original piece I feel like it’s something they will treasure.

Treasure hunting is very important. Also, anyway

to get the check to my landlord on time, I am for.

q)Is music important to you? If so, what are some

things you're listening to now?

a)YES. I saw the Flower Travelin’ Band in Texas last week.

They were SO awesome! I had never heard them before I

saw them live. The first time I saw Tinariwen was live too.

I feel so lucky to get to see & hear music from so far away.

I have been listening to RAM by Paul McCartney a lot,

Black Sabbath, Linda Perhacs…

Also, all my friends are recording their albums right

now & I can’t wait to hear! THE ENTRANCE BAND is

my favorite band, and when the record comes out I

am sure you’ll know why.


a)I just read OZMA of OZ by L. Frank Baum out loud

on a road trip. It was funny because everytime something

happened in the book it would happen right after in real life.

Ozma, Dorthy & their friends were on their way to the

Nome King’s Underground Palace, then I pulled up to

a cave that was dripping with amazing crystals and it took

two hours to get down in to it. It felt like I was there.

q)What theories or beliefs do you have regarding

creativity or the creative process?

a)I feel like you really have to LOVE what your making.

That doesn’t mean when your making it you don’t get

frustrated, or question what you’re doing. I don’t sit at

home kissing my construction paper either... or do I?

You can’t really make art worth anything if your

heart isn’t in it.

q)What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when

you're not creating?

a)Picking flowers from my garden, playing dress-up

everyday, dreaming psychedelic dreams, collecting

treasures at O.O.T.C., watching movies in the cemetery,

dancing until the sun comes up (one day on a rainbow

light up dance floor, I hope) But I guess all those things

are pretty creative… the only thing I can think of that’s

not creative is going to the bank or having jury duty.

q)Do you have any projects or shows coming up that

you are particularly excited about?

a)Why yes I do! I’m in a group show in Echo Park called

COSMIC LOVE. I think it’s going to be pretty spectacular

& healing. I have been making lot’s of new work & I started

making an alphabet book too, So maybe I will get to show

more of my art soon.

q)Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how?

What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)I would like to say yes… but I’m kind of in my own

little world. I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day

website. Also I am the Psychedelic Healing Visions

Correspondent for I was the Fashion

Editor there until they went out of print in January.

q)Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer,

and answer it.

a)-Do you like painting BIG?

Indeed! My fellow painter Mekenzie Schneider and

I will get together and make giant splatter paintings.

Like Jackson Pollok but two young ladies rocking out

to Hendrix in acrylic covered dresses. We were

commissioned to make a prussian blue and red orange

outer space for our friend, Farmer Dave’s, recording studio.

He put plexi glass over it so he could roll back and forth

across the universe will making his album.

q)Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)DREAM ON*** Something is better then nothing.

No rules…

q)Where can we see more of your work online?