Commissioned by Tita/Milano via the awesome team of Svperbe, I worked on the image of a huge art, dance, music and culture festival at the Tuscany, Italy. If you are lucky enough to visit Tuscany this summer you´ll see my arts&culture shaker in action!
I was commissioned to illustrate the Flaming Lips performing live for the July edition of Wired Magazine (Italy). Check it out, it´s pretty cool!
Max-o-matic, aka, Máximo Tuja is an illustrator, designer and collage artist based in Barcelona. He has exhibited from Berlin to Peru and has been commissioned by Nike (AKQA Netherlands), Gestalten (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (UK) and Beams (Japan) to name but a few. Hailing from the punk fanzine background to work with big companies, Max-o-matic still makes analog collages and fanzines.
Tell me something about yourself.
Born in 1975 in Buenos Aires (Argentina). Living in Barcelona since 2002. Love: my son, collages, fanzines, avocado, dulce de leche, football, running, smoothies. I would like to learn how to play the drums -and I play guitar pretty bad. In my dreams (sometimes) I can fly. I live somewhere near www.maxomatic.net
What attracts you to collage, and how long have you been doing it for? Do you prefer analog or digital?
I started working with collage in the mid nineties when I was doing fanzines. It was the natural way I found then to express myself on paper. At that time I had no real conscience of what collage was or how important it was going to be in my life. I just liked punk rock and it was a common way of making images in that context.
My second encounter with collage was in 2002 when I had no computer for a couple of months and I filled a moleskin notebook with collages. You can check them out here. That was the peak of the vector illustration hype and collage was the opposite of what was trendy at the time. But I enjoyed very much the process of making them and fell in love with them. It was the first time I did them just for fun. Since then it was a non-stop analog and digital collage adventures -to the point most of my work is based on collage.
¿Analog or digital? I have no doubt about it… both. I have tons of fun doing analog and digital. Each one with its limits and its possibilities. I can´t spend all the time doing analog stuff, I need some pixels too. But when I work too much on digital projects, I have to go back to the old paper, scissors and glue to find that primal pleasure of doing the same thing that my 4 year old son can also do and making something nice and meaningful of it.
You have had a few successful commissions now. How does your commercial work differ from your personal work?
Most of the times commercial work is commissioned based on personal work I did before. So commercial work and experimentation, in my experience, is almost never related. People see stuff that they like and they want me to do something similar for their project. Creativity is involved in finding a way to tell this new story with the same visual tools I used in other personal project. It´s quite easy to track it down. For example: I did a solo show in 2008 and some months after someone say what I did and asked me to do a series of illustrations for an advertising campaign for Telefónica based on that same visual code. It´s never exactly the same -it´s impossible to do it even you want to do it-, so it´s fun to do a new version of a previous idea.
As commissions are based on what people see, working on personal projects and making them visible are key to keep evolving your style and not doing the same thing all over again endlessly (or until you and the rest get bored of seeing the same thing).
So, to make it short: personal work is the playground where I can break rules and stretch my limits to the max, and commercial work is where I can refine what I had investigated earlier and make some money in the way :)
What experiences or artists inspire you?
I love many artists and get inspired by them conscious and unconsciously. I´m always checking out what´s there. I can mention thousands- here are some without any particular order related to the collage world: Rubén B., Cless, James Gallagher, Anthony Zinonos, Ashkan Honarvar, Oliver Wiegner, Charles Wilkins, Goster… and I can keep on forever.
Aside from all these artists I love, my main source of inspiration are “limits”. I always work with limits to boost my creativity and find new, unexpected and different characteristic in my work. When I talk about limits I mean some real and tangible limits or rules to create my pieces. For example, the Cutters Berlin collages were made with only a history book and a skate magazine. All the cuts had to come from these 2 sources and all the rest was simply banned. Or in the series of collages I did for an exhibition in México I decided that each collage had to have only 3 pieces of paper. Limits make me find new ways of telling stories.
Describe your collage workflow. Do you have an image in mind or do you allow the image to evolve on the paper in front of you?
This is related with what I said before and it´s quite simple, no big master plan involved in such a simple form of art. Most of the times everything start with setting a rule to limit the amount of sources or techniques used in the piece / series. Then I start working with a vague image in my mind, but I can easily change it when the piece evolves on paper.
Where do you source your images?
On digital collages mostly from the internet. On paper collages: books or magazines I find here and there. I´m not the kind of collagist permanently hunting for the perfect book or image in flea markets or car boot sales or secret collagists conventions. Every the time I found amazing and nice vintage magazines or books I wasn’t brave enough to cut them…So, I just like to use any kind of book and try to find some nice way to extract the beauty from it.
What is coming up for you in the future?
I know I will be showing my work in Lima (Peru), Dallas (USA) and Valencia (Spain). I would like to publish a new fanzine or self-published book before 2013. Also I know I´m going to take august off… and who knows what else might come up. The future is unwritten (for Joe Strummer and for me, at least).
Recommend: One album I should listen to, one film I should watch, and one book I should read.
Album: It´s a must for any collage aficionado to listen to Köndornec (Ron Damon & Corte Cubanda)
Film: last week I saw Carnage (Roman Polanski) and I enjoyed it.
Book: My all time favorite is Impressions of Africa (Raymond Rousse).
Since today you can read the interview Carlos Barthelemy made me for his collage blog. It´s in Spanish… sorry for the non-spanish readers. Thanks Carlos for the interest in my work :)
SURFACE PATTERN, a group show featuring works by Dean Monogenis, Pepa Prieto, Misato Suzuki, Thomas Spoerndle, Morgan Blair, Lucas Martell, John Guthrie, James Roper, Jessy Nite, Eddie Villanueva, Books Bischof, Sandra Fettingis and Maxomatic opens May 12, 2012 at Circuit 12 Contemporary.
1130 Dragon St. Suite 150
Dallas Texas 75207
Wired Magazine (Italy) commissioned my a fun project to work with: a portait of the porn star and social media nerd, James Deen.
If you see this cover in the newsstands, look inside i´ll be there :)
Together with Hernán Ordoñez, i will be in Bilbao delivering a workshop focused on fanzines and d.i.y.
This will happen inside Selected C, a design event organized by Index Book in one of Bilbao´s most relevant buildings: La Alhondiga, designed by Philippe Starck.
See you there!
I posted 5 new prints for sale at my society6.com product page.
Hope you like them :)
I was invited by Loreak Mendian to take part in the Sopa de Letras exhibition. I had to draw the letter “T” and other great artists such as Blami, Emil Kozak, Sergio Jimenez, Hernán Ordoñez, Sebas Gómez, Laura Varsky or Antonio Ladrillo, among others, will draw the rest of the letters in order to create an awesome alphabet. The show will open on 2/12 in Loreak Mendian´s Barcelona store: c/ Duc, 9.
Super nice video from FID Costa Rica, featuring some of the highlights of this year´s conference back in March. Love to remember that great experience… thanks again guys!!!