Chamo San‘s illustrations are legit. His studies of bone structure make me want to go buy a skeleton and stare at it for hours and his photographs make me wish I could teleport. Check out his interview below:
Introduce yourself. What do you do in your free time? What are you passionate about?
I’m Chamo San. Illustrator based in Barcelona and member of Penique productions. In my free I look for things I love in the Internet or museums. I’m also passionate about football. I play it with my friends and we watch and talk about every match of the Euro right now. I love the poetic that it used to have at the beginning and half of the XXth century. Music (I’m most in the electronic) is an other of my passions. Can’t live without it.
When you were at the University of Barcelona why did you choose to focus on Fine Art? How did you decide to settle on photography and illustration?
I just choose to study Fine Arts and the University of Barcelona was the place to do it in my town. I’ve always been drawing but when I get in the faculty I discover other worlds. Finally I focused into illustration (what I’m better at) and photography was an issue to distress. But I get in artistic installations’ world also.
How did the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds translate into Lucy in the Mad World with Manson? What was the catalyst for that transition?
That was a project curated by Crajes (a two girls artistic team). They love The Beatles, Mad World song (by Gary Jules) and Marilyn Manson. For this exhibition I used the shape of a diamond to ‘break’ the figure as a kaleidoscope.
When carrying out the anatomy study, Bones, how did you react emotionally considering the subjects were once alive? Would you want to see your own skull? To feel the bumps and inconsistencies? Have you ever broken a bone in your life?
I’ve never broke a bone (and I’ve done some crazy things… I’ve been close to…). When you draw a human figure you need to feel the hard zones where the bones are more visible and the soft zones where muscle or grease are located. I don’t think about the bones I’ve drawn were once alive, but I think that inside of people that are currently alive there are bones. And every person that want to do a realistic human figure illustration must understand why some shapes are revealed in our body. It’s also a process to know better yourself.
Many early doctors and surgeons were also masters of the arts, they had to illustrate the surgeries they carried out and the veins and arteries and musculature and skeletal structure. Why do you think there has been such a divorce between the fields of science and the arts since?
They used to do a very practical and needed illustration. Now we have X-rays and photography to read the body. It’s better in the way that just shows the reality, but it continue to exist illustrators that have the power of separate and clean just what you want to see. Make everything more comprehensible. Sometimes it’s not that close to reality but I’ve seen some really amazing works of that kind of illustrators.
Tell us about the piece Pan Mex. Why are the subjects wearing masks? Why are they so gaunt and why have you chosen pink as the only color in the piece?
With Penique productions we work all over the globe. That day we were in Mexico. We visit the pyramids of Teotiwacan and I fell in love of that masks. I did some sketches and back in the hotel I did a fantastic illustration based on that sculptures. I always work with pen and it was in Mexico… then Pen Mex.. hehe… not so great after all. I must better say that I just dreamed about old men wearing very big and heavy masks that were dancing around me. I think it happened while I took peyote in the desert in the middle of the country. When I came back to reality I just needed to draw it. Yes… much better.
Where your various Landscapes with Holga taken? Where has been the most adventurous place you have gone to get a photo? How did it feel to get the shot?
I’ve been travelling a lot. The most of that landscapes were taken while I travelled hitchhiking from Paris to Oslo for two weeks. I took more than 40 cars and met a lot of people. I also discovered a different Europe, far from the big capitals. I will always remember that trip.
What is your work space like? Do you listen to music while you work? How do you get in the zone?
I’ve just moved to a great studio whit some friends, you probably know them too (Conrad Roset, Guim Tió, Amaia Arrazola, Ruben Wagensberg [The Indian Runners] and Jordi Rins). It was crazy to work at home, and when I had the chance to move out we found a great place to be all together. We are thinking about names for the studio right now.
I’m always listening music. I need to focus on my work. Some old works remind me to songs I used to listen to. It’s nice.
What is your favorite color? What emotions are most strongly associated with this color? What, if anything, do you think this means?
My favourite colour is a very dark blue. There is a wonderful spanish film called Azuloscurocasinegro (Darkbluealmostblack) that explains what this colour means. It’s dark, but it still a colour. Not so dark, after all. It’s close to nothing, but it remains something.
What do you think of the different color theories? Do you use color trigger a specific emotional response from your viewer or do you use it more intuitively? Are the two necessarily mutually exclusive ideas?
I’m most a black and white artist. I prefer to stay in the zone between lights and shadows.
Over the past month what have you done that you really enjoyed? What have you done that you regretted? Do you think it’s easy to learn from one’s mistakes? What mistakes have you made artistically that you have overcome and have helped you become a better artist?
Mmm… last month I’ve been very busy with Penique production’s projects. We did a very cool one and a bad one (we must do it this way). I think I learned that sometimes you must stay firm in your thoughts and if you can’t do something good is better don’t do it, because bad works aren’t useful for the artist neither who ask for. It wasn’t that bad, but we must change our philosophy. We will not do it again.
What is better, ice cream or gelato, and which is your favorite kind?
Gelatto. Yoghurt with red fruits.