Interview with Jairo Juarez
Today, with the great development of electronic music in a digital world, we can simply take our PC, laptop, cellphone or even connect our TV, to the various apps and listen to our favorite artists.
And the pace of life in which we live can be so fast, that we take for granted people, objects and things around us. Without realizing it, we omit the magnificence and beauty of life, hidden at plain sight.
Thus, the artwork of some artists can go unnoticed; Jairo Juarez’s not.
“Jairo Juarez is a guy that likes to create small and surreal worlds, born in Texas and raised in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Inspired by the day-to-day and reflecting his thoughts in images“. Jairo Juarez is a surreal designer.
We were fortunate to talk with Jairo, make yourself comfortable and learn more about his path as a digital artist.
Jairo, tell us how did you get started in Graphic Design?
In secondary school I used to draw in the back of my notebooks and in the desks of our classroom. Then in high school, a friend introduced me to Photoshop. And from that day I haven’t stop, that was like 14 years ago.
And how did design went from hobby to profession?
When I started to design in photoshop, it was out of curiosity, I spent hours in my room designing and publishing my work in the available social media, and I saw that a lot of people liked and complimented my designs.
Then I realized, I could design things that came into my mind, it was a tool to free my mind and express myself such as it is.
Dope! And which would you say was the moment you realized you could design professionally?
When I wasn’t comfortable in my work and I just wanted was to sit at my computer doing what I liked. That’s when I said, “This is my thing. “
Like everyone else, I started from bottom, practicing day and night, watching tutorials and other digital artists, wondering how the hell they’ve created such surreal but so alive and real images, studying the details and how this artists designed.
Later on, I moved to San Miguel de Allende to live (for one and a half year) and to began to surround myself with people with the same love for art but in different subjects; some of them were painters, musicians, sculptors and art jewelers too.
Then I realized that I wasn’t the only crazy .
After that I jumped to Mexico City (for 3 years) where I was hired by a postproduction and animation agency (ORGANIKA), where my professional career started.
How’s the living among all this wonderful artists, did you do collective projects or something like that?
All of a sudden we played to make things, we had fun imagining and relaxed by being creative.
Learning from them and living a life very unusual for many, and, very common for us.
I guess like anything else, everything has to follow its path, and you move into Mexico City.
Yeah, LOL. Another crazy experience.
How different was this lifestyle change?
Damn! In San Miguel I used to walk short distances to reach a destination, and in Mexico City I wanted to do the same thing, “no problem I go on foot.” But I never arrived LOL.
It’s a super fast life rhythm. From the moment you wake up and you’re already late, the days go very fast.
But cool, it was in Mexico City where I met with such great digital artists, professional chatter; creative directors, masters in 3D, motion graphics geniuses, madmen in graphic design, all in my great school; ORGANIKA.
It was a learning and supportive experience We competed every day for a project against other agencies.
And… how’s the workflow in an agency like Organika?
Super fun!! It’s a good and harsh work.
In an agency it has to flow a creative vibe at all hours! Create, create create, help, help, learn, learn, improve day after day (you just have to be chingón!).
Exceed your expectations and imposing yourself to creative challenges; impulsing exponentially your ideas.
Are you still working with them or you decided to be independent?
I decided to become independent and work alongside an amazing person, who is very determined in her projects; Mora Golstein, we started working together and it’s dope. Mora is an animator, designer, director, an all around.
And we make a good team, like everyone else, we’ve met ghost-customers, that promised and didn’t pay.
Yes, LOL! but a good experience, now we are sharp-eyed.
How long has it been since you returned to Tamaulipas?
Like one year.
And how’s the living since you returned, have you felt any change?
Quieter and terribly hot.
I returned form Mexico City with a speed up rhythm of life, desperate to do and undo.
“We are not in Mexico City, keep yourself calm.”.
And here in Reynosa, I began to give lectures to graphic design college students, explaining my creative process and encouraging them to create another type of design.
Cool! You let us know when you come in here.
No problem. Just invite me. When I gave lectures here in Reynosa the students were very attentive and encouraged by their career, when they thought the lecture was only about print design.
Now, tell us about your project ELSA SIN MIEDO?
ELSA SIN MIEDO is a representation of the fears we have; fears that embrace us, given the case, here in Tamaulipas, where we live a violent environment, the fear of a violent atmosphere, shootouts is something that happens in Reynosa Tamaulipas.
On the other side, it also represents the fears of doing things, that fear to succeed,; fear and doubts that we create.
ELSA SIN MIEDO, is that other twist of life.
The projections took place from November to December last year, are we expecting the same this year?
Let’s hope so.
And now that you’re already established, tell us what’s the equipment and tools you use most?
I use, Photoshop, Illustrator and Cinema 4D. And a Wacom tablet.
When working, what are your main sources of inspiration?
Music, sounds, art by other artists, someone’s behavior, sensations, feelings we have.
Talking about artists, could you mention some that stand out for their work?
Alejandro Fraga, 3D modeling artist.
Oscar Loro, motion grapher.
Aaron Pankwosky, illustrator and creative director.
Carlos Matiella, creative director, entrepreneur and teacher.
Ana Arellano, photographer.
Luis Miguel Torres, creative and graphic designer.
Mora Golstein, motion grapher, creative director and graphic designer.
And many more.
We would like to know more about your normal day’s workflow.
Tell us first how’s the first contact with your clients.
The first contact is through my work or recommendations.
Then I ask for a meeting to know the client and see what they want (video conference or in person).
After the meeting, I start to work on the idea.
I always ask for references, which helps a lot.
Or if I have the freedom to do it my way, that’s better, I have open field.
Because you can also cross with clients that does’t know what they want but want something LOL.
Having started, do you sketch by hand or just go straight to your computer?
I go straight to the computer, my drawings are not very good. And if I do, they’re only doodles.
When a project requires it, I do it. If not I go directly to the computer.
When they are personal things I don’t need sketches because I have them in mind.
Well, I guess that comes with experience, right?
Personally, I let myself go with my design. As a painter, a painter waits for the paint to speak to continue!
I applied that to the main element, and from there things come out. I wait my design to speak to me.
When you work on a composition, do you polish all the elements individually in a master document or separately?
All separately because of the the arrangement of the layers.
I got used to do that because if the elements are needed for animation it’s easier to do with separate layers.
So you make a folder with multiple files for each project?
Of course. In which I keep photos, textures and 3D elements, that I used for the project.
During the process, what do you recommend to keep focus on the project and work more smoothly?
The desire to design, music you’re listening to at the time, headphones/monitors and a good chair, good internet and get lost in what you know to do and just flow!
What you especially, what music you listen to?
Pfff! music that get me out of my reality, where the used sounds goosebumps me, like dubstep filthy bass type or dope trap beats.
A good rock like Guadalupe Plata, Gary Clark Jr. or Guotsa to be in a cool attitude.
Massive attack, lorn, Tricky to be at night designing dense/deep stuff.
Boyz Noize, Gesafelstein to imagine moments / scenes. And cumbias to hang out at weddings!! LOL.
Jairo, when do you know you’re done?
When I see a good structure and composition not too saturated or too minimalist.
When I see a good balance.
When I see you can tell a story, when I imagine the movements that it has. When I raise my arms and make a celebrating dance because I liked what I did.
For all those that wonder, in which resolutions do you work?
1920×1080 2560×1446 72dpi or 72dpi.
And if the client asks me for print, I adapt the project to the highest resolution.
It also depends what they ask me.
And how much time do you take per project?
If it’s a personal project, about 3 to 5 hours, and I let it breathe a day to follow.
If it’s a client’s project I can put it together quickly.
The more they take to answer me, the more I take to deliver the project because I make the changes really fast.
Although I‘ve also took days to finish. For example, I’m now working on one about sharks, and I started last week. And when I open it to do something, nothing comes out. It looks simple, but I want to make a twist.
Is it hard to decide whether if you finish a project or not?
Yes. That’s when I start to show them to designers friends so they can give me their view, constructive criticism.
With reference to the design community, do you feel that there is a real sense of solidarity?
From my point of view and what I’ve experienced with other designers, I feel that yes we are in solidarity, we value the design, creativity, the time that was dedicated, the style and the knowledge.
Among designers we can contribute with ideas, comments or techniques for the result of something they are doing, good constructive criticism always helps us a lot.
To share knowledge and pass it on to someone else makes us better people, designers and artists.
That’s why there are tutorials and conferences.
Do you think there are problems for the diffusion of art?
Right now no, because you can surf sur la web and find thousands of artists, there’re design fairs where they invite artists to share their art.
When you start designing what did cost you the most?
Getting to polish my type of design.
All the time and dedication.
And dealing with ghost-clients. LOL.
Those who promise you and thrill you and leave you as a bride, dress and tousled!
Which are the main differences between the Jairo Juarez who was starting and Jairo Juarez today?
Previously I have not identified my style, my design was very loud, covering the entire canvas when I had not a structure.
Now I feel that my design is more defined and more structured, cleaner. With a clearer idea.
From which design/project, do you think you cross that line of “uncertainty” and identified your style?
From a design that I named RICTAR!! in my dreams. This was a dream I had where I saw a rhino with a limousine body swimming on the waters of Vienna. From this design I adopt the rhino as my logo and began to handle more photo manipulation.
That’s when I realized that I have the ability to create surreal images through my dreams.
Wow! So cool! Do you think there is any reason your subconscious has chosen a rhino?
Of course. It’s said that the rhino is a king, and in dreams bodes well if you’re next to him but if you are in front of it is bad omen because you can get hit.
After that dream, Organika took me to the agency, where I worked and developed professionally.
Which have been your favorite designs after this revelation?
From RICTAR, I made another called OCTUPUS REVENGE, where you see an octopus going out of thick smoke and colored lights.
Another of my favorites is STORM where we see a line of clouds and between them a gorilla with anger, courage and thorns and on the top an eagle embarking on a flight.
GLORIOUS that is white horse going out of a storm gloriously. I think those 3 made a big change in my designs.
Another design that I liked was the artwork for I’M A DRAGON from Apashe.
And how did you met Apashe?
I had already listened to Apashe without knowing who he was, with the track BLACK GOLD, I had listened to his music and that caught my attention, but nothing more.
Time passed and I receive a message from John (Apashe) commenting that he would like to work with me in a matter of design for his singles.
I asked him, what kind of music he did and sent me NO TWERK and when I heard it I was knocked down, like damn! The style of his music fits together very well with what I do and I’m really happy with the opportunity to work with a great producer and DJ.
My first design with Apashe was I DYNAMITE, of course it has been a process to find what he likes. When I work with him, we are always in touch and those were the ones which I feel that defined Apashe’s design style :
Strong images / Greek gods.
I agree with you, you really match music with design.
To close the interview, what would you advise to rookie designers and what you have liked to know when you were a rookie?
Don’t confined in a matter of creativity. Imagination that we have can be exploited to the maximum, MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE A WORK OF ART.
Support each other, with crazy people as you, because they bring you a lot to learn, read to stimulate your imagination, listen to different music that make you goosebumps, don’t be conformists.
And finally always keep our feet on the ground, because life is hussy and we can give a good zangoloteada.
Stand up, with the head upright and keep moving!
A message to your fans?
Well, thanks for all the support I have received from you. To my family that has always being supportive, to all my friends and comrades who have always been with me.
To ORGANIKA for teaching me a lot and all the people I met people there, my great school.
To Carlos Matiella for discovering my talent.
All the crew of San Miguel de Allende who believes in me.
To Mora Golstein for continue encouraging me, scolding me and support me.
To John (Apashe) for giving me this great opportunity to work with him and trust in my work.
To my badass squad that I wouldn’t finish to mention, the whole crew I’ve ever met and has contributed something in me.
Thank you very much!!
And expect more things from me, until I die I quit designing.