Not Just Fashion Magazine discovers fashion illustration right from the runway.
We enter a world full of color powders mixed up by stylists prepared to make impressive characters out of the models whom will give life to the personality of the designs created by great fashion talents. Behind them, photographers capturing each movement of the process and, on the other side, an illustrator that follows the old-school rules to create his own visual report. This is how we found Joel Miñana Granero.
Illustrator, fashion designer and teachet at Centre de Formació Creatiu i Técnic Sabadell, Joel Miñana Granero has make himself known on the fashion industry for doing thins a Little bit differently. He is one of the few people that dedicates to reflect the design and collection process through strokes and colors. Even though it could be seen as something strange this is the way that all about fashion was covered before the arrival of the camera and the digital era. It is easy to see on the 50´s magazine who belonged to his grandmother and which have served hims as inspiration to develop his art.
We invite you to know a Little bit more about Joel. His work, his referrals and what has taken him to work for brands such as Escada and known fashion designers such as Celia Vela.
Tell us about the studies you did, where you studied
I started studying high school at Massana school because I’ve always been very clear of arts. The idea of fashion came later. When I started studying art school, I combined the afternoon in a couture workshop for two years. When I finished studying high school I went to Sabadell to improve the technical part of the industry. I was there for two years for a high degree.
I did an internship with Bibian Blue and returned to Massana to make two specialized courses in: headgear with Nina Pavloski and scenery for shows because the use of spaces catches my attention.
Everything in the end has a relation and is information. All serves to create and inspire yourself that is why I am a person who studies a lot. I am always looking for new things, and for example this year I’ve been doing three courses: one of flowers applied to fashion, as it was done before, that is the idea of high fashion with fabrics and other; embroidery on tulle, even more specific and finally returning again to shows, fantasy costumes with Julio Quijano, a resident artist here in Barcelona.
How did you realize that illustration and art was what you wanted?
Well, actually, I did not realize it was it. What happened to me is that I really liked fashion and I liked going to the catwalks. It was then when I realized that nowadays when you go to a runway everyone is taking pictures, making selfies and I thought, “Fuuu… I cannot do that”. A runway is prepared to watch the clothing, and then I thought why not to try as it was done before, that is, through illustration. Before there were no cameras to take all the photos you want. Advertising and marketing was done through images so for a few years I tested.
I went to runways and what I did was to draw when I had models passing by in front of me. My first real contact was with the firm Escada. I was invited to a catwalk, did an illustration at the backstage where models were lined up, sent it to them and I was surprised. Their response was: “We want to publish it and use it for an invitation to our clients”. From there it was: “Ah then I am useful”. I did not know then, I did it because I liked it, that is, I saw it as a hobby.
And now, here we are, from one runway to another, backstage, designers and more… they are interested in the vision that I bring. A totally different view because everyone takes pictures and people are surprised of what I do when that is the way it was previously done.
Well, we met you in a Celia Vela´s runway.
At backstage level, it was the third collection in which I was with her. We knew each other and I did an illustration, I posted it on social networks and my surprise was that I got an email saying that she would like me to be with her backstage in the next collection.
Of course my answer was logical, it was a yes, of course. From there and we hit it off very well and it turns out we have a very similar style, we breathe and drink from the same inspirations and influences. From there, I am always at Celia`s backstage.
Any other events besides parades have also been illustrating?
After Escada I illustrated Casa Batlló for a mapping on the facade. I did a reinterpretation and they published it on its website. At a party they also have asked me about it to be used as a poster or to make a social coverage at illustration level.
Do you get inspired more during runways or is it the same for you since it is your passion?
The question is very good because it is quite complex. On a runway I like backstage very much because everybody is much more human and it’s all natural. The models pose goes out easier and is more innate. On a walkway is very robotic, very straight while at a party or event the light and space influences a lot because since I have to be drawing while I am standing on my feet and everyone is moving it is more difficult. It is another point of view.
In illustration, what artists inspire you?
Above all, from classic artists I like René Gruau, who was the illustrator for Dior, which addresses the issue of color spots. When I was studying, the big boom in Barcelona was Jordi Labanda , who fits well with fashion illustration.
When I am confident I look for specific artists or more pictorial references such the sketches that made Dali and the whole postures and positions that used Michelangelo. Architectute also inspires me. Gaudí is a reference.
Your style as an illustrator
It is hard for me to define myself, so what I can tell you are things that people tell me: “I have illustrations that is often very elegant, with very expressive lines, very strong and fresh. All very ethereal but with a strong stroke”.
What materials do you usually use or does it depends on whether you are going to a runway or some other event?
It depends. I often ask for the color gamut because there are designers who are lovers of black and so I leave the colors at home, for example, I use Pentel, which already has ink.
I started with Bic pen, the pen from classes. Gradually I have been refining and now I have a style, I have the brush , I change. I usually use wooden pencils. I play a lot, I mix techniques, watercolors, wooden pencils and pen that reminds me when I started. I really like the idea of going back to the roots and drink from them and change them because you can always experience new things.
Illustrator or designer?
Both actually. For me one thing goes with the other because a drawing for itself is an illustration ora n illustration can be the beginning of a design, I mean… What came before? the chicken or the egg? Well here it is the same: designer or illustrator? Um… well… (laughs).
To continue reading about this great artist chack out the Part II of this interview.