Guillermo Lopez is a seemingly nice guy with a good head on his shoulders...but he does think of the "Windows XP "nice and green field" wallpaper bursting into flames every night as he falls asleep. Is he a talented illustrator on the cusp of success or is he a low key virtual reality arsonist?! Read on to learn for yourself.
What is your name? Is it Gviiie? How do you say that?!
My full name is Guillermo López. The short name for that is Guille so I came up with the Gviiie thing which was aesthetically nice but a complete disaster for marketing purposes. To be honest, I´m not really happy with the name and might change it.
How old are you and how long have you been illustrating?
I'm 28 years old. I have always been into drawing, but I used to prefer to party and get drunk and stuff. About 3 years ago, I started to take it seriously. I have to combine it with my work in the TV world and that sucks.
You are based in Madrid - can you describe your city in words?
It´s not a beautiful or very friendly city. Visually it has nothing special and is situated in a no-where landscape..... it was the Dubai kind of city back in 1561. As it is the capital, many people from all around Spain come to live here, and that generates a human landscape worthy of attention and of course for partying, Madrid used to be the best!
Are there artists in your community with which you align yourself?
Not really, at least not here in Madrid. There are some around the world and I'm willing to do a collaboration trip for painting. Some of the people I would be interested in working with are: @ernestillm @degon_ or @fixeuno
I'm assuming you started your art career with graffitti - is this true?
Yes, mostly. In high school I was constantly drawing during the lectures and some guys came around and pushed me into graffiti. I did it for a while, but didn´t have enough patience for it, so I quit. I still take to it again from time to time.
Are you formally trained in design and/or illustration?
I applied for a Fine Arts degree and also to Illustration programs, but I wasn't admitted to any of them. Instead, I studied TV and Media. I really feel grateful for that, because I know loads of people who have gone through Fine Arts programs and they say they have lost their soul and that they don´t feel like painting ever again!
It looks so difficult to paint murals due to their scale! What is the largest mural you've ever painted?
I don´t know if it is the largest, but definitely the hardest mural I´ve done was the one representing my version of Bernini´s “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa”. It was mid July (in Madrid, during this time there are no shadows which presents a major problem) and I had to paint a 6 meter high wall with a 3 meter stairway. This job required me to build a massive telescopic handle for the paint roller that I couldn´t control. And on top of all of this there where some high tension cables around!
I'm in love with your "Tropic Distopic" series - can you elaborate on what inspired it?
Thanks a lot. Yep, for this one I made playing around with 3D modeling and digital collage. It basically tries to portray a digital distopia....breaking and glitching virtual landscapes. Usually virtual life is presented to us not as a complement of reality, but as an escape from our present reality. That´s an obvious point, right? But human nature and disasters are still the same - they have a physical entity. So, I wondered what would happen if real problems such as riots, global warming, state and companies surveillance, etc. could break in these virtual worlds. I´m not talking just about the Sims-like perfect world, but more like GTA, where crime, theft and prostitution exist....and they may exist, but their political issues are ignored and emphatically celebrated. I basically think of that Windows XP “nice and green field” wallpaper bursting into flames every night as I fall asleep.
You did a series based on the short story Tale from the Unexpected by Roald Dahl - are you a big reader?
Not that much to be honest, but I´m a good… how would you say it? Info keeper? Retainer? Anyway, I´m trying to read more but the internet keeps me away from my life goals XD
Do you plan to illustrate a book or do you focus more on your online presence?
I'm up for any kind of commission - This is partly why I do illustration, graffiti and canvas all at the same time. It would be crazy to illustrate an “Internet for kids” book or something like that....full of dark and pessimistic illustrations. Can you imagine? Hahaha I would love to do some editorial work. First of all, because I´m tired of the TV industry, and secondly because when I catch a piece of text, an article or idea....it fuels my head and forces me to get out of my comfort zone - This is when I come up with non familiar ideas that can have further development.
Are you religious?
Not at all. I have a big empty hole in the middle of my chest. For some time now, however, I´ve been practicing some prayers before going to sleep. To give thanks and wish the best for my people, I do this. I use traditional catholic prayers, because they are the ones I know, but the core of the exercise is to externalize good thoughts about yourself and others before going to sleep.
Are you political?
Pretty much. Even though I´m the worst activist ever! I always get arrested and in trouble and I get bored at the assemblies and protests. That being said, I do have a critical view of the system, even if I haven´t read Marx´s Capital and I have a lot of contradictions like almost everybody.
Are you religiously political?
Do I take my political thoughts as a dogma? The answer is no way, but I would love to be more disciplined in this area of my life - the truth is, I´m a bit lazy for that.
I love your recent Burka series. What is your connection to the Arabic culture? If you could illustrate for any fashion house.....has to be fashion because that's what I love......which would you choose?
I´m really fascinated with the burka´s symbolism and with Issues of human rights in countries such as Saudi Arabia or the Emirates. These cultures are getting on so well with post-capitalism. China and Russia are also one of my MUST countries to portray this paradox - that's why I sometimes use these languages in my work.
If you could illustrate for any fashion house.....has to be fashion because that's what I love, which would you choose?
I´m not really into fashion, but I would definitely design something for Nike, because it is a really aggressive brand. I always imagine near-future cop´s equipment designed by Nike. Also, I would also love to design something ugly for GUCCI, the new "rich” brand. I´ve always hated red and green colors together but because of the current Gucci craze, I´m starting to use it obsessively. It's interesting, the point at which a brand is so luxurious that is only acquired to show one's status (what rappers do all the time) and therefore it is allowed to have what I consider pretty “kitsch” designs. I also follow Palomo Spain and Maison Margiela.
If you had to lose your vision or your hands which would you choose? (terrible question I know)
I guess I would go with vision so I could still design things for Gucci. I believe in the power of the crafts, and the relationship between the mental and the physical, even if tools are used. I guess I would rediscover myself as a sculptor, because of my love for shapes and textures.
Images courtesy of GUILLERMO LÓPEZ
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
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