INTERVIEW WITH JAVIER MARISCAL – POLITIKA

Mediterranean Is Part of My Soul

Name: Javier Mariscal.
Place and date of birth: Valencia, February 1950. Residence: Barcelona. Occupation: Designer. Most famous works: „Bar Cel Ona” logo, Cobi (the mascot of the Olympic Games in Barcelona 1992), Twipsy (the mascot of the exhibition „Hanover 2000 Expo”), Grand Hotel Domine Bilbao, the animated film, “Chico and Rita”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Last big exhibition: A Retrospective at London Design Museum in 2009.
Inspiration: Mediterranean.
If he weren’t an artist, he would be: a romantic revolutionary.

This short “ID card” is the introduction to an interview with this famous creative Spaniard, who will visit Belgrade in a few weeks. Not for pleasure, but for business. He will be one of the lecturers at the Belgrade Design Week (May 23 – 28), for a three- day conference entitled “Future2”. Our design scene is not unfamiliar to him – quite the contrary: he already collaborated with Serbian artists on several projects – and during this visit he expects to learn twice as much about it.

During your stay in Belgrade, you will talk about your first film project – the animated film “Chico and Rita”, which you designed with Oscar- winner Fernando Trueba…

Yes, this is my first film. I have done animation before, but never on such a large project. It was a pleasure to work with Trueba. It was a dream-come- true for me. The film has all the elements I like. The story takes place in cities such as Havana, New York, Paris and Las Vegas in the early fifties, during the expansion of industrial graphic design. The music by authors I like, such as Bebo Valdes, Estrela Morente, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, was used in the film. And it has love, so much love.

Animation is, however, just one of your interests. You paint, sculpt, design. Which of these activities do you enjoy the most?
I feel comfortable in all disciplines of design and painting, architecture and landscape. I like to switch from one discipline to another, to do different things and learn something new every time. For example, furniture design or branding relaxes me, but I also feel capable of painting or sculpting at the same time.

You seem to apply the same “policy” to the people you work for: you collaborated with politicians, university professors, managers?
Of course! I am never oriented towards one client only. My therapist has forbidden me to. I like them all and I feel good about everything I have done. This work is fun, it motivates me, makes me feel alive and young. Although everyone is demanding in their own way, if the clients know what they want and if they know the right order for problem solving, then the job is very inspiring.

You are known especially for your distinct mascots. Many of them are considered controversial, just like you are…
Mascots must have a sense of humor, just like people, they have to attract attention, to appeal to the audience, to be versatile and describe a particular situation. They must be friendly, warm and communicative. As for controversy, I think that my statements, particularly those given at press conferences, are much more controversial than my work. I understand that there are people who don’t like what I do. I can’t take the good and the bad criticism personally, otherwise I would become either too vain or too depressed.

How did the brave decision you made as a young student – to drop out of the famous Elisava School of Design in Barcelona – affect your character?

My choice certainly influenced my life. If I had graduated from the academy, my path would have been different, certainly. I was free to choose my path, without clichés or restrictions of any kind. This may bother some people, but I love that I gathered knowledge from my surroundings, and not during four years of rigid training.

Are those surroundings still the source of your inspiration?
Of course, the Mediterranean is a part of my soul and it is a truly endless source of energy, because of its bright light, short dense vegetation, pine trees, white and golden sand, calm sea, people, food, animals… On Formentera, a small Balearic island, I found what I want: peace, sea, beautiful landscape and friends. I spend every summer there and I hope to retire there one day. And paint.

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