Ignasi Monreal began his creative collaboration for Gucci with a quirky fortune teller and weather forecaster that appeared in the first #GucciGram digital art project.
Fast forward two years, and the young Spanish artist’s digital pen is behind 80 illustrations that feature in the 2017 Gucci Gift catalogue. Ignasi weaves Gucci accessories and ready-to-wear into artworks that tell spellbinding stories, layered with diverse influences, mixing classical mythology of Greece and Rome, Medieval alchemy, Renaissance paintings, with a dash of Spanish passion and abundance. Below the artist offers us a glimpse into his creative process.
Tell us about the idea for the book?
It’s Icarus. He fascinates me because of his story, which could be read a bit like a mantra I guess. If you fly too close to the sun, you're going to get burned. If you fly too low, you're going to drown in the sea. It feels quite bluntly obvious, but I find it quite timeless, and reassuring. You have to find the middle point to land on the other side. Its not a cosmic science, just a tricky human condition. The Icarus himself is a very romantic character and of course symbolic of everything young and pretty. Very East London!
I didn’t really plan in advance how the illustrations will play out in the book, but I guess they all now make sense in a narrative. Something like: The cover star Icarus approaches the sun, falls down and lands in the Gucci fashion heaven.
How did you come up with settings and ideas for the product?
I usually come up with a story first, and then try to see if the specific product makes sense within this particular context, whether it feels believable. Sometimes it is not a very grand story, just a moment in time and place that has somehow stuck with me that I try to recreate in a new way. I guess its the juxtaposition of something very down to earth with a bit of myth and/or dash of Spanish abundance that makes the image fun, intriguing or interesting. I like my artworks to be aesthetically pretty of course, but I do wish that whoever is looking, gets the inside points as well.
How do you work?
I paint pictures on my computer, on Photoshop and using a tablet. Its all digital. I create my own brushes, because it feels more painterly to me then, less plastic. Maybe it also makes this digital gig slightly more personal? I’ve been painting for quite a long time now. I started digital because it felt cool, new and a bit nonchalant, the "fuss free" tool. I did some comic illustrations, but started to experiment quickly and mainly painted whatever was on my mind, which at that time were (including but not limited to): pop culture icons in embarassing situations, borderline inappropriate interpretations of classic paitinings, and other teenage fever dreams. I guess this somehow led me to fashion?
Can you tell us about these illustrations at the back of the book—your hand drawing?
It’s me drawing this book, and smoke is coming off because I've been painting so much. Ignasi means “fire”, the pencil is burnt, don’t feel very burnt out thou. Still in Gucci fashion heaven!