EK Interview: Alberto Mielgo

Alberto Mielgo has been all over.  His work is eclectic and awesome.  He’s completely honest, in both in his work and in the interview below.  Read it for a nice little dose of the real.  Not convinced?  Here’s a little snip: “They pay me to give my vision they don’t pay me to be a dead brush.”

How has your experience in Madrid, London and LA differed?  How has each location influenced your work?  How has each influenced you personally?

I lived in Madrid all my early years. Best friends and family are there.

Professionally I don´t think they have influenced my work and I don´t want then to either.  I feel as a foreigner in Madrid, but apart from my toilet I always have the same feeling about places.

Personally Madrid is obviously my first influence, but also there was Leon where I spent all my summers doing comics for hours.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

London: full of meanings, lot´s of personal fulfilling moments, full of experiences and probably the most important change on my path that I ever made (so far). I left Madrid and opened my door to a real and profitable professional world. I could never know what my life would be today without London.  London had much more opportunities BUT it was difficult and competitive as HELL. Europe is dark and competitive, you have to brake your balls to do something. Any person who knows me close knows how difficult it has been to open those damn doors.

Once I got trough those doors I had to exit again and knock knock again. This time at least I wasn´t a new face. During this process I met pure influence for me, I met the best artist and professionals, beautiful magazines, art work, museums, streets, had very interesting jobs and projects….  I loved it and hated it. (More love than hate, much more love.)

L.A.: good weather, great job! EASY. Suddenly everything was easy, people know me here, they were pleased to work with me…it was funny, a completely different universe.  The door was open. More serious? Not sure, at least here people delegate and trust in you.

I can´t tell too much about it yet, but I like it very much so far.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

How do the different media translate?  Which is a more direct translation of the image or piece in your head?  How do the emotions of each differ?

I love painting in oil because you get dirty, smelly and you work standing up. It´s very physical and you almost can´t correct. It´s very honest.

I love digital because you don´t get dirty, doesn´t smell, you work sitting down and it´s basically mental and you can undo and undo… It’s perfect to try new things, great for learning.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

What was the idea behind “pinkman.tv“?  Had you directed animation before or was it a new venture?  How did it go?

Pinkman.tv along with my oils is the most “me” of all my things. I was an animator for years and I wanted to mix both art direction and animation together. With Pinkman I had final say, I didn’t want to deal with agencies or studios that I hate, painting fucking backgrounds so they can ruin the thing by placing a fucking character on top… I wanted to do the whole thing myself so character background and animation merge together, with my timing , my tempo and my style of telling an story.

I´m still exploring and I have big plans with it. Pinkman.tv it´s something else.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

How did you get the job of Art Director at Disney?    Have you had previous work as an art director?  What is important to be a successful Art Director?

I did get the job because my uncle is a close friend of Mickey Mouse.

I´m not sure what is important about being an art director. I tell you what I do: they give you melons, onions and oranges to do something pretty. You do your best but you know that you could do better if you bring also garlic and big bananas. SO I bring all those elements and win the pitch. As an art director I expect that the agency or director are delegating and trusting completely on my vision. They pay me to give my vision they don´t pay me to be a dead brush.

If they don´t like my idea I usually leave, because I don´t like to do just the vision of someone else. If I need the money I work under frustrated energies… obviously.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

What has been your most rewarding experience with a client?  What made it so good?  

None yet.

What was your most challenging? 

Tron for sure. I´ve never been into science fiction movies or literature. It is very challenging to do space ships and futuristic shapes out of nothing! I´m taking care from the very begining to it´s very final look, making sure that composition reads well, that Bgs, characters and vehicles work together… hell of things, lost of work.

I never wanted to see both the original and new movies so I had a fresh and personal vision of it. Unfortunately working on the studio I had to revise some footage for story purposes…

I think we are developing something new on a standard TV series and I´m very excited to show it around. So far, people are loving it, what makes me very happy as I can´t look at it with fresh eyes at all.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

What is the emotion behind “Aida”?

 JESUS! I almost have a hearth attack when I read this… I assume you are refering to the painting with such a title. She is my ex-girlfriend. Emotion behind: I need pages and time. She is a walking piece of art.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

For “Waterloo”, did you paint it from your mind or from a photo? 

PHOTO of course.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

How do you prepare yourself emotionally for a piece?  What do you do to maintain that emotion throughout?

I don´t prepare myself for painting. I just do it. May be it´s a good idea… Sometimes I feel I started too early. Thanks for the tip!

How do you approach a piece?  What is the first step you take?  What is the last? 

I start doing a drawing. If it´s a set design I start by very basic shapes, line work. Then start painting. For oil I like to spend enough time on the drawing, I couldn´t control the proportions on big scales if drawing it´s not precise. The last step: Looking at the final piece, for hours.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom

Do you prefer coffee or tea?  Why?

Tea: relax me but makes me bright and awake.

art blog - Alberto Mielgo - Empty Kingdom