Madrid-based artist Erre Galvez, is so curious, he’ll often find materials for his cool collages on the street. He dabbles in the craft of graphic design and on the edge of scissors, building quirky collages that stem from magazines, books, objects, and typography. When he’s not collaging, he’s busy getting printed in publications and showing art at exhibitions abroad.
AZ caught up with Galvez to chat about his impressive work.
Art Zealous: How did you get started doing art?
Erre Galvez: I’ve been connected to the art world since I was a child. I used to paint and spend hours in front of the paper, as if I was living in a parallel world.
Later, in adolescence, I was very influenced by urban art and it made me feel a great curiosity to draw letters of a thousand shapes and colors. It was when I joined the School of Art of Alicante when I was able to unify all that to transform it into graphic design. Let’s just say that I have walked my path to graphic design and collages, step by step, discovering new means of communication, exploring and unifying to find my own personal way.
I am interested in any artistic expression that makes me feel the spark of inspiration. I like to think that inspiration can be anywhere, in museum artwork of course, but also in a fallen tree leaf in a park. Talking about artists or graphic designers, I am interested in people like Joan Brossa, Jaume Plensa or JR, among others.
EG: I was born in Spain in a little town of the East called Elda and it’s very close to the Mediterranean Sea, which is very important for me since part of my character is influenced by it and I love that. I am currently living in Madrid, a city that never sleeps! Somehow like New York, you can do any plan you want and it’s very inspiring. This is the city where I combine my work as a graphic designer and collage artist.
AZ: Dream travel destination?
EG: To me, traveling is something essential. It provides me with vital experiences to face day to day approaches, problems, or projects. I would love to travel to a place outside Europe where I really feel that I’m lost in a whole new culture. I think it’s that strong culture contrast that delights me and makes me feel good. Europe is my hometown, so it doesn’t break my mold anymore. The same kind of cities, the same style, and shops, the same way of living. Food and language are the only things that actually change from one place to another.
I would love to travel to Cambodia, for example. Visiting the Angkor temples, getting lost in Thailand, grabbing old publications, and posters that I can use in my collage artistic work as well.
AZ: Drink order?
EG: Good question! I think it depends on the season. I prefer warm tea in winter and a tasty mojito in summer. What a contrast, huh?
AZ: Currently listening too?
EG: I am currently in a very creative phase in my life and music is unconsciously linked to that. That’s why I listen to the kind of music that makes me feel active and inspired. It’s so difficult to choose a single song among all the music I listen to, but today it could be Whale by Hudson Scott.
AZ: What is your collage strategy? Where do you find materials?
EG: All my artwork is 100% handmade, and I do it in a special artisan way – creating stories from any kind of physical material.
When I start a project, I start from an idea or concept and select a lot of material between magazines, books, objects, and typography. Then, I start making quick compositions to see how the parts coexist until I find the formula, and then everything clicks. As all my works are handmade on paper, when I finish, I scan and publish them.
I am a very curious person, so I find materials even in the street. I have found heaps of old photos or even peculiar objects that I have used in an artwork. I love finding powerful images and transforming them into a new language. I also usually visit flea markets to buy old and used printed material – because I think time endows great personality.
AZ: I love how collages portray familiar things in rhythm with bizarre objects. Please explain to us how you do that.
EG: I am very interested in generating this strange visual contrast between the images. I get to play with the viewer in each work thanks to the mixture of materials from different times. Starting, as I said, on very different points and making them fit as if they were made for each other is complicated, but when a work reaches that point of harmony, it’s amazing.
For example, I mix photos of a magazine from 1950, and a book from the ’80s and I find it surprising how both parties can connect as if they were made for it.
AZ: You enjoy typography; is there a specific typeface that characterizes your personality?
EG: Yes, I love typography and I usually use so many types in my artworks. I use Letraset and other old letters stickers that I found at flea markets or old shops. I love simple and clever typographies like Grotesk families.
AZ: What is your creative process like?
EG: Listening to music during my art process is very important to me because it emphasizes my creativity. Working in an organized space is very important for me too because I usually work with a lot of printed material. Other important things are light and a big inspiring space.
AZ: Currently working on?
EG: I am currently working on a new collage series. I usually work on my artworks as single pieces, but I am trying to create some collage series based on a deep concept.
Also, I am working on my new website and online shop, preparing a new exhibition and working on some design projects.
There’s this two-way road between my job as a graphic designer and as a collage artist. Art gives me the possibility to create everything I imagine. It is pure freedom in a design job when I work from a client’s brief as it’s the escape route I find necessary to enhance creativity. The creativity I need both for being a good designer and artist.
AZ: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
EG: I hope to keep doing what I do. Being involved in exciting projects and having time to travel and create.
Follow Erre on Instagram.