Visual Poetry in Abstract Art by Jose Navarro
Simplicity seems Spanish artist Jose Navarro’s artworks’ key premise. A single image, a dash of colour, and that one-to-two-word elucidation. The effect, though, is instant and gripping.
Spanish graphic designer Jose Navarro’s work is quirky and attention-grabbing. Colourful and humorous, the digital juxtaposition of visuals and captions makes you want to see more. The resulting image is sure to bring a smile or a question to the mind, either way, the artwork is sure to evoke a reaction.
He could be expressing his opinion and most certainly it would be a reflection of the times, like the CONVICT-19, a coming together of the virus and the prison handcuffs, subtly indicating the lockdown imposed by the virus. Then another favourite is Addiction Sucks, a straw with a cigarette end, a clever play of words and images, “either expressing an existing metaphor or an exaggerated juxtaposition that I randomly think of… a lemon with bird feet, a straw with a cigarette end. I always try to use as few elements as possible to make the message clearer and even more direct, and that is why you will mostly see not more than two objects fused together,” says the artist himself, describing his work.
Born and raised in Asturias in the north of Spain, Jose was trained in design and has over two decades of experience as a creative designer in the advertising industry. With a loyal following online, Jose’s work and creativity has increased multi-fold during the lockdown times, but he doesn’t want to fit into any classifications as he lets his creativity take free rein. His work is breaking free from pre-meditated conditions and a pure celebration of the power of visual art.
SCALE tries to know more about his work and his method.
SCALE: How did you start making these humour filled art? Which was the first one and how did it get the attention of everyone?
JOSE: I opened my Instagram account around the end of 2015. At first, I didn’t know what to do with it, until I saw that it could be a kind of portfolio to upload my personal works. In the beginning, I posted my work on book covers, records, and movie posters. Later, influenced by artists such as Javier Jaén, Tony Futura or Paul Fuentes, I began to create minimalist conceptual illustrations. From there I have turned it into an escape route from my work at the advertising agency. I think that the first of the artworks that had relevance and was widely shared is that of the handshake with the gun. That artwork has a lot of visual power and provokes a lot of reactions.
SCALE: Do you work on this on commissions or do you make this to satisfy the self?
JOSE: The vast majority is personal work. As the profile has grown, some commissions have come up, especially for editorial illustration in some international publications, which I enjoy very much. But these types of commissions are very occasional. I could say that more than 90% of my artworks are personal work.
SCALE: How did you know there was a market for this work of art too?
JOSE: I’m not sure there is a market for this particular art. There will always be a need to communicate visually, whatever the style. In any case, I’m not driven by the need to fit into a market. I work professionally in advertising. My illustrations are a way of escape and visual experimentation.
SCALE: How do you think the confines of art has expanded and it has become different things to different people?
JOSE: Technology has opened up new possibilities, both in terms of creation and exhibition. For me that is wonderful. Now is the moment in history in which we have more access to art. It’s also the time when we have more tools to create art. In my opinion that can only be a good thing.
SCALE: Do you believe that the lockdown brought out the creativity in many?
JOSE: The pandemic and confinement has been an unexpected, dramatic historical moment. I believe that any event of these dimensions marks us deeply and this influences our ability to create. New themes emerge, new concerns that need to be expressed. I think the pandemic has given rise to many artistic reflections and I think that is a positive thing.
SCALE: Who is your inspiration and what are the factors that make you chose what you will work on?
JOSE: I am inspired by everything I see. I admire and follow many artists and consume a lot of art daily on social networks. I think the overexposure to so many visual impacts is good because it makes me absorb a multitude of points of view and situations even though sometimes it can be overwhelming.
I don’t plan what I’m going to work on next, it’s something that comes more spontaneously. The trigger can be a piece of news, a song, a book I’m reading or a walk around my city.
SCALE: Which is your personal favourite work?
JOSE: I couldn’t choose one as a favourite. Each one has its own storytelling and conveys a specific emotion, it’s very difficult for me to choose one as a favorite over the rest.
All Images Courtesy Jose Navarro