As a child, I spent my afternoons copying and editing drawings of animated monkeys like Ren and Stimpy and Southpark. At school, he was the best draw in his class and he was assigned all the art work. Today, this 25-year-old curicano sees drawing as what he likes to do the most and he is far from wanting to earn a salary with it. He does not define himself as an artist or a desktop cartoonist, on the contrary, he walks through Santiago with a croquera in his pocket to portray everything that inspires him on his tour of the city.
It was the drawing of a lemon pie that made his friends laugh the most and motivated them to continue. It is that the drawing, which cuts a human foot in two and appears to be a lemon in half, plays with the literal meaning of the word lemon foot. He shared it on Facebook and little by little he gained followers who began to enjoy his puns, social criticism or simple illustrations.
Joaquín has no relatives linked to the world of art. However, not long ago he discovered that his father's interest in model airplanes and his home workshop may have influenced his love of inventing and repairing objects.
How did you get from that taste for fixing things to Design?
When I left school I wasn't sure what to study, but I went into Design because it was where you could do more creative things in a career. I specialized in the area of product design and digital manufacturing.
And how was your time at university?
Very entertaining. I entered the Universidad del Desarrollo first, I spent two years in Environments and Objects but, although I made my best friends and learned a lot, I felt that I needed to learn more about other areas. I changed to the Catholic inside and thanks to the fact that I was able to take bouquets from any area, I met the cracks from all areas, such as those who designed the typography of Transantiago and people who work in the Government. I was an assistant in drawing and after several other branches. Now as a graduate, I was a workshop teacher and now in the Structures and Materials branch.
This is the successful drawing of the lemon pie that motivated Joaquín to continue playing literal in his illustrations.
According to Joaquín, in his room is the summary of everything he likes to do when he is at home. Besides drawing, music is another great passion; plays rock and blues with a group of friends.
How did you discover that you liked to draw and that you were good at it?
That I liked it, I discovered it because I spent a lot of time drawing. In general, when I do something I like, time flies by. It also happens to me with the guitar. Most of the time I draw in downtime, instead of looking at my cell phone, waiting for the microphone, for example.
Several of your drawings are situations that happen to everyone, such as getting a flat tire on your bike or thousands of dirty dishes piling up in the kitchen. Tell us a little about your creative process to make those drawings.
I connect what happens to me during the day with what occurs to me to draw. With the whole theme of memes being very fashionable, I realized that I liked to make obvious drawings but not so much, with puns, as another way of showing it.
And to show those drawings your platforms are social networks?
I started uploading my stuff to Facebook when I realized that people liked my drawings. At first I scanned them, later, when Instagram came out, I took a picture of them with my cell phone camera and uploaded them. With this, I started sharing funny things for people to laugh and enjoy for a while. For me, drawing has never been something commercial, that I want to sell. I feel like it loses its grace because I do it because I like it. In any case, if I get projects that commission drawings to sell, I have no problem.
Joaquín uses two types of Moleskine brand croqueras; one to carry in your pocket and a larger one for your work.
Where do you normally draw?
I don't have a very defined physical space, that's why I have the croqueras. Suddenly it can be on the bus, on the subway, at the university. It's more where my imagination catches me, almost always on the go.
You are from Curicó but you live in Santiago. How does this city inspire you or perhaps take your inspiration away?
It inspires me. In Curicó I lived far from the city, in the countryside, on a hill and for me the most entertaining thing is when you see people, what they do. The city inspires me much more to do things, but more than the city, the people who live in it and who are always changing.
And what things inspire you?
I get a lot of inspiration from the internet, watching illustrators. In fact when I was a kid I liked to copy, capture the technique and apply it. That's why I like to travel, because you see things and you want to copy them. More than looking for inspiration, I like to be open all the time for things to come to my mind, for them to appear to draw them.
With what pencil and on what paper do you like to draw?
Sketch paper and pen. The grace of the pen is that it has different line thicknesses that makes it more expressive. I almost always draw in black. They told me to paint but I still don't feel like it.
And any object in particular that you like to draw?
Before, I really liked drawing cars because I wanted to get into designing cars. But no, I've always been through everything, fed up landscapes, people. If you ask me what I draw, I draw a bit of everything.
The only thing we know about Chile in detail is that it is a world of ants full of elements, figures, spaces, streets, buildings, monuments. Tell us more about him.
At first I made a more abstract drawing, something like Chile in pointillism, representing people with dots. After working on it for a while, I decided to do something more similar to what I do: aerial views of cities, with details and things happening. I made a mix between experiences and cities. Although I have traveled a lot in Chile, with the map I was inspired to visit places that I have not been, like the entire coast, for example.
The map of Chile in detail is a kind of aerial view of cities in Chile, with details and things happening inside each one. Some were sold with a magnifying glass to find the hundreds of landmarks that can be found such as Torres del Paine, Morro de Arica, Chiquicamata, San Pedro de Atacama and Joaquín's house in Curicó.
Was it a difficult job?
It was a long time because I had a hard time getting psyched up to draw and it was super uncomfortable because I don't have a table that size. Sometimes I drew standing up, I stuck it on the wall, I took it to Curicó. First I made the outline with a pencil and wrote the names of the cities. Later, I went on the Internet looking at cities and discovering without having to go.
Do you think you can make a living from art in Chile?
I wouldn't make a living from art because I'm not interested in selling. But I have friends who took on the challenge of making a living from art and have done so, being in exhibitions and things like that. I think it depends a lot on you. In design it is much easier to find a catch, but in art you have to be creating all the time, you have to be moved and with a lot of energy. I think it can be done, it's difficult, but it can be done. I don't see it as a projection for me, drawing, more than as a hobby, is for pleasure, it's something everyday.
And don't you see a book as an icing on the cake?
It can be but it depends on what you are looking for. In today's times, if your goal is to become famous, there are digital platforms. As a personal achievement, I have never thought of making a book. Once I did an exhibition at the university with croqueras and it was a different way of exhibiting and if I did one again, I would show the croqueras anyway. It's a way of showing my raw work. It's the most private thing I could share, it's almost a showcase of my brain, of the things that happen to me.
Joaquín declares himself a fan of wooden elements in addition to miniatures, portable and folding objects. Some of the ones in his room were designed by him and others he bought while travelling.
Artefactos Rosas is your brand of leather goods such as wallets, card holders and cell phone covers. It reflects the philosophy that seeks to keep everything to a minimum and simplify objects in a single piece.
According to Joaquín, they have always criticized him for being bad at reading long texts. However, he has built his own collection with books on art, drawing, design, and comics. Topics you do read.
We learned that you are going to work in Barcelona next year. What is there outside that you did not find in Chile that made you take the step of leaving?
The funny thing is that I don't know what's there, it's the uncertainty. I feel that by staying, what is going to happen is more predictable; I'm going to continue doing classes, maybe new projects will come out. But outside I like to meet people who do things that don't exist here. More than the places and things that exist, it is the people, other cultures that I want to discover. I always think that in 100, 120 more years all of us who live now will be completely renewed, so the most valuable thing that you can know now are the people who are living in this second with you in the world. For me, looking for that is the most interesting. In any case, after learning and absorbing everything there, I want to return and be able to apply that here, as a teacher or working. A little to give back.
What are your future projects? Any new plans you can tell us about?
Projects in particular, the truth is that I don't have any. For now, the trip became the biggest project for me. It's like almost a reset and go back there.
Perhaps that question should be asked at a later time...
Sure, when I get back or when I'm there.
- Photographs: Rafaelo Roasenda
- Interview: Josefa Errazuriz
*If you want to see or purchase one of Joaquín's "Chile in Detail", click here .