Elevate Talks: Amadeo Gonzales
Amadeo Gonzales is a self-taught illustrator, cartoonist and musician working in the independent scene in Lima. He’s a hyperactive creator who manages to capture outlandish characters in canvases, serigraphs, graffiti and interventions in public spaces with the same ease. Since he was a child, all he wanted to do was draw, and sooner or later all the paths he took eventually lead him to the world of drawings, characters and colors. His rhythm of life is a constant prolongation of childhood.
Could you introduce yourself, please?
I am Amadeo Gonzales, born in Lima in 1977, artist and musician
What came first, illustration or music?
The illustration, although whenever I drew, I had music in my head. At 18 I made my first attempts to form a band.
How was your first approach to comics? What did you read?
My first approach was the comics that my father gave me. Mostly superheroes. Spiderman and the incredible Hulk. Both characters came in a single magazine.
How’s a typical day at work?
I start filling out notebooks with ideas and sketches at breakfast. Then I start to draw on paper, I make several drawings until I get what I want. Then, if I am working for a client, I scan them and color or vector them on my computar. If they are for an exhibit or just for me, I try to be as far from a computer as I can in order to see how far I can go with analog drawing. Then I go for a walk, take a little fresh air and keep on drawing. I don’t speak much. When I draw I am singing.
What are the best and worse things about being an illustrator in Peru?
The best thing is that there is always a lot to draw, there are many themes and
characters. Politics don’t motivate me. I am motivated by humor or by laughing at myself. I am motivated by irony. I do believe that in Peru and in Latin America, all we have left is laughter.
Another great thing is that in downtown Lima there are lots of libraries, printers and stationers where you can find everything you need to draw. I always go around looking for new papers and materials. When some artist from another country comes to visit me I take him or her there and they freak out. It’s great.
The worst thing about being an illustration in Peru is that getting together with friends to draw is not usual. Some time ago I organized drawing afternoons at Los únicos, a space fully dedicated to illustration and graphic arts. But it’s difficult to find someone that wants to draw with you.
How would you describe Carboncito? What place does this comic anthology takes up in your life? Why did you decide to make it come to an end?
Carboncito is a publication that grew over time. It started out as a photocopy fanzine and it got to the press and turned into a book, improving its quality and having several artists from Latin America and Europe during 16 years, reaching 20 issues.
Its really important for me. Both my brother Renso and I are told
Carboncito down the street, it opened up several opportunities, we got invited to many festivals and we were able to meet many artists that we admire and ask them to be collaborators on our publication.
It comes to an end by a mutual decision with my brother. We needed to close this project in order to start new ones with the maturity and knowledge Carboncito gave us.
If you had to describe the Latin American comics scene today, how would you do it?
I think it’s a struggle, new publishers emerge and people keep betting on publishing books, graphic novels and fanzines but with tons of effort. Now, thanks to crowdfunding, many publications have seen the light. Readers’ support is what maintains that printed drawing romanticism. Something that favors the Latin American scene is the festivals such as the Entreviñetas in Colombia, Comicopolis or Viñetas Sueltas in Argentina, Viñetas del Altura in Bolivia, the Impresionante festival in Chile and in Peru, we are considering holding a festival: El Festival Carboncito.
On a scale from 1 to 10, how important is social media for you?
If you had to build a Top 3 with your best projects, how would it be?
- A drawing I made of something that happened to me in 1984.
- A logo of a band that I always wanted to form but only stayed in my imagination. I even made t-shirts and stickers.
- A drawing I made for the invitation to the Fumetto festival in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2017, which allowed me travel to Europe for the first time.
What inspires you?
Humor, irony and getting together with artists and people I admire.
What makes you angry?
What are you working on right now?
In a new publication with experimental drawings, in a collection of not-so-serious poems with drawings, planning the Carboncito festival and preparing a new album.
Where do you see yourself in 1 year?
In Europe, at comic and graphic arts festivals presenting works I did this year.
What about in 5 years?
I want to stay motivated. Drawing and publishing, putting together exhibits and playing more often. Maybe with a band.
Bonus track: Could you recommend any TV series/ comics/ movie/ song/ artist/ etc?
El eterno femenino by La Mode.
An artist that I love and that participated in the last Carboncito is Egle Zvirblyte from Lithuania, you can find her on Instagram.