Salvador Anguiano. Master of vectors, contributing member of Poster Posse, and super talented illustrator.
We had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A with Salvador from his home in Mexico, and the results are stunning. I can honestly say that it’s one of the most in-depth interviews we have conducted thus far. Salvador not only touches on his background in art and design but also gives us a look into living and working as an artist in a country that has such rich culture, yet has been wracked with violence and economic stagnation.
We hope you enjoy this wonderful interview and we thank Salvador for taking time away from his busy schedule to chat with us. Now, without further ado…A Conversation with Salvador Anguiano!
I Got Birds: Salvador, could you give our readers a bit of background information about yourself? How did you first become interested in art and illustration?
Salvador Anguiano: I’ve always loved drawing, ever since I was quite little. My mom had to work all day and I would end up alone, locked up in our house with just the TV, comics, pencil and paper to pass time ’til she would come back late at night… so it was only natural, I guess. I studied Graphic Design because I wanted to draw comics, but as time passed I actually got into graphic design and stopped drawing except for the occasional project here and there. I got way into logo design and typography. Pretty soon letters were all I’d be drawing.
I Got Birds:What drew you to illustrate for Film Posters? Do you have a favorite illustration you have created based on a film?
Salvador Anguiano: I was getting burned out by work, dealing with changes, chasing payments…All the “work” stuff, not design in itself. I realized I didn’t want to do that for my entire life, so I decided I would work my ass off for a year, taking every job that came my way no matter what, and save up every cent so I could set a good side business and remove my practice as the main source of income. I managed to make a decent amount of money in that year, and while I did some fun stuff, it was mostly stuff done for money and it helped me realize I was no longer into it. My tank was empty but we had enough money in the bank to start a business and plan my next move.
Then one day I’m watching Adventure Time with my kid and it’s freaking awesome! My kid asks if I can draw Finn and Jake for him and I said, “Sure, let me give it a try” I ended up doing an Adventure Time poster for him, he loved it. Then my wife told me about this other show that she and our kid used to watch, Regular Show. I started watching it and it was hilarious, full of 80s references. My wife asked me for a drawing of Mordecai and Rigby and I did it for her, again it was awesome and she loved it so much. I was doing stuff I loved for people I loved and they loved what I was doing, so I thought I should be looking for love not money. Sounds easy to figure that out but sometimes it’s not. I decided to start doing stuff that made me feel happy-happy, joy-joy
I talked to my wife and we agreed that I’d get a year to just have fun, to go back to drawing and illustration. If nothing came out of it then I’d go back to regular design stuff and no harm done. So I started illustrating some Masters of the Universe things like that and they got me some followers and people began looking and liking my stuff. Then some Canadian wacko started talking to me on Instagram and Behance, you may know him as “Paul Ainsworth“, he introduced me to this alternative movie poster scene and I kind of liked it, so I tried my hand with some movies like 3 O’clock High, a movie my wife really loves, then The Karate Kid and I just kept at it.
As for my favorite piece maybe it would have to be the John Lawrence poster, just because Patton Oswalt retweeted that thing and it made its way to the one true hero of the 80’s William Zabka, which led to some cool exchanges with him.
I Got Birds:I love the Daft Punk illustration you recently created. Can you talk about your process in creating that piece?
Salvador Anguiano: Thanks man, glad you liked it! That one came to be because of my kid, he’s 11 now (we had him when we were way young) and he’s starting to get into music, but it has to be music that relates to stuff he likes. So one day he sees Daft Punk on YouTube, and it’s robots playing music! So he goes nuts over them and asks me to do a poster of them, so I did it.
As for my process in creating that piece, I did some sketches and showed them to the little guy, until we came up with an idea we both liked. I wanted to have Guy Manuel and Thomas Bangalter in separate posters, but have the two pieces work together as one. I looked for a bunch of reference for the helmets, eventually I found some blueprints jpegs to build the helmets and that helped a lot with the basic line work. The background and the bodies were always going to be very subtle elements. After that I wanted the helmets to be the focus of the posters so I spent a lot of time working on them. I wanted them to look very metallic, to really shine.
In the end I think the posters work in that you get a very dark, subtle environment working around the helmets, which are pretty elaborate.
Now we, my kid and I, are thinking about doing variants like Tron version and a white suits version.
I Got Birds:Can you talk a little about the work you have created as part of Poster Posse, for X-Men: Days of Future Past? I really love the Wolverine illustration you created as part of that project.
Salvador Anguiano: Thanks! Personally I like the Sentinel poster better, just because I gave it a very conscious effort to come up with a strong concept. You know, the Sentinels as harbingers of death for the mutants, and the tarot theme as a way to play with fate.
That Wolverine poster seems to have gotten a bit of attention, I mean, the guy IS the face of the X-Men. That piece was actually kind of an afterthought because I finished the Sentinel piece pretty early and I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I wanted to take a shot at drawing Wolverine. Once I finished, it was just… there. I had no idea what to do with him. I tried to make him like a mascot for a sports team but that didn’t work. Then I came across some old flyers for a concert room in Mexico city, and they had this awesome vintage look that I felt worked very well with the Wolverine illustration, so I went with that style. It was really just an experimentation piece, just me fooling around with stuff until something kind of clicked.
I Got Birds: Your work for Captain America: The Winter Soldier has a very 1960’s Pop Art feel to it. Was Pop Art a major influence on these pieces?
Salvador Anguiano: Yes, definitely. I do like to study those movements, Bauhaus, Pop Art, Art Nouveau, Minimalism. I don’t always succeed in incorporating those influences but I do enjoy reading and looking at those different periods in the history of art. I also wanted to pay a little tribute to Malika Favre, whose work is obviously inspired by that movement.
As for the specific pieces, The one with Black Widow and Cap was a tribute to Malika Favre, like I mentioned before, she’s an awesome artist and she’s a big inspiration for me, I just wanted to create a piece that captured the romanticism in her work, nothing more to it.
The one with Cap’s shield, that was me definitely studying that style and the trailers, trying hard to come up with something solid. I wanted to make a very simple poster with a strong concept that captured what I was seeing in the trailer, and what I saw, at the most basic level, was a lot of chasing and speed. I wanted to communicate that excitement and urgency. All the movement the movie seemed to have. So I went with the most basic representation of movement, straight lines, and the most recognizable part of Captain America, his shield. In the end I liked the result and I think it holds up pretty well now that the movie has come out.
The third one, that was just Cap, nothing clever about it, haha!
I Got Birds:What decisions do you make as an artist when illustrating a poster for a film?
Salvador Anguiano: First of all is getting a grasp on the film you’re working on, and then you need to choose an idea that captures the theme of the film. Then it’s deciding what style you want to use to bring life to that concept. I always use vectors because I like the level of control you get working in Illustrator and I still don’t feel like I have a firm grasp on the style. Then it’s just knowing what level of detail I want to go for in the illustration. I usually keep it pretty simple because I got used to designing logos and fonts, and that’s the way I build my posters. Lately I’ve been trying to get away from that but like I said, I’m still developing my skills so everything is experimentation right now. Sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes it’s a miss.
I Got Birds: You live and work in Mexico. In your opinion, how different is the illustration scene in Mexico from the United States, and how do you see the reaction of a US audience for your work as opposed to other parts of the world?
Salvador Anguiano: That’s a hard one to answer. For starters it is just a very different culture. People go about their work in a very different way. This tribute art scene is almost non-existent down here. We live in a pretty dire economic situation here, so people often prefer to use their time to try and get just a fair paycheck so they can make ends meet.
The design/illustration scene down here is a very different kind of beast. I think because of the extreme violence, ultra-dangerous crime and the awful economic situation we live in everyday down here people kind of take themselves way too seriously. And maybe that’s the reason why my work has been more appreciated outside of this country. US/Canada guys have been very welcoming of my efforts, I’ve made some really great friends, who are always willing to give support.
This is a great question, and it’s gonna keep me thinking for a while.
I Got Birds:Do you have a dream project that you’re itching to work on?
Salvador Anguiano: If you mean on a personal project, I want to do Superman! He’s my favorite character ever and I could go on and on about why that is. I want to make a great Man of Steel poster because that movie was awesome. But I don’t think I’m there yet where I could make something that matches my level of love for the character and the movie.
As for a “real job”…a paid project…well I’m still working on getting my skills on a level where I feel I can compete with the big guys, so I’m really just enjoying that journey and whatever comes my way because of it. It’s a dream project.
I Got Birds:Can you give us a hint about any upcoming projects you may be working on?
Salvador Anguiano: Just personal stuff right now, I’ve just finished my first piece for a gallery show, Kings of Cult at Hero Complex Gallery and soon I’ll start working on the next one, so that’s cool. I’m working on a personal Boba Fett piece but that’s still very raw, and well, there’s always the next Poster Posse project!
There’s a couple of “official” projects, but it’s still pretty early to talk about them.
I Got Birds: Finally, would you like to promote any upcoming projects, your website, where people can find you on social networking?
- I use Behance as my main portfolio site: be.net/salvador
- You can always get a taste of my newest stuff in Instagram, lots of WIP shots, so you can look me up in there as: @hiperactivo
- I’m trying to be more active over at Twitter, so look me up over there also as: @hiperactivo
- And if you want to read my ramblings and rants then Facebook is the place: facebook.com/salvadoranguianodg
We can’t thank Salvador enough for taking time to speak with us. Please check out his work at the links listed above and give him a follow on Twitter and Instagram!