Erika Castilla is a designer invaded by the color of the waters of her native Fuerteventura. His work, fresh and natural, already coexists in different spaces on the island of Majorera and we predict that it will not take long to see the light in many others.
Good afternoon, Erika, and thank you for signing up for this interview. For those who don't know you: who is its Erika Castilla?
¡¡Many thanks to you !! I am a majorera born in Puerto del Rosario in 1981, but I really grew up playing in the puddles of Corralejo bay. Daughter of a printer and typographer, I have always been attached to the world of graphic arts, and I would be lying if I did not say that I love it. I'm a graphic designer, but what I really love and spend the most time with is illustration.
Let's go back a long way. What is your first memory outlining in the golden sands of Majorerass?
My mother has always told me that since I could take a pencil with my hand I started to draw; It amazed her that from a very young age I tried to reflect perspective, which is curious, because now most of my drawings do not reflect depth. They are flat.
Your training is carried out at the Escola Elisava. What makes you emigrate and what did this training bring you personally and professionallyn?
When I finished high school, I didn't know whether to study fine arts or go to a more commercial branch, which for me was Graphic Design, which is why it has always been said that artists have it very difficult to be able to make a living from their art. ...
Graphic design seemed like an outlet that would hopefully make it possible for me to live off my creativity. In a world where it is quite difficult to live off art, I chose the option that in my opinion was the one with the most job opportunities. I had recently traveled to England and had been amazed by the flyers, especially of discos and pubs that I found; they were authentic works of art, both at a creative level and at the finishing level, metallic inks, die-cuts, varnishes ....).
Then I realized that I had to get out of my environment, go to a big city, in order to experience everything that was happening out there first-hand.
I chose Barcelona without ever having set foot on it, as a good islander, I chose it because it had a sea ... The best choice I have made in my life. I fell in love with the city, and even more so with design and art. The choice of school for me was not difficult either. Elisava was famous for teaching a clean design line, focused mainly on functionality rather than form.
I was seduced by the idea that they taught me the rules well, that they forced me to learn the rules, their motto was a bit not to fear white, but to learn to design it. I don't know if it was the Dalai Lama who said: Learn the rules so you can break them properly. That was Elisava's philosophy. The experience was wonderful academically and personally.l.
¿And back to the island, how did you keep up with that creative worm?vo?
I returned to the island prematurely, my growth still needed to feed more from abroad but for personal reasons I had to return to Fuerteventura.
My family owns a printing company, and I started working in it. First in graphic design and pre-printing, but above all it consisted of preparing and reviewing the files before transferring them to the plate. It was not very creative work and I was very frustrated.
I preferred to learn to make budgets which is what I did for 8 years. I made the decision to leave design and illustration for my moments of enjoyment, and little by little I got commissions that I did as a freelancer in my free time.
Confession moment: I am one of those who enter bookstores and can spend hours looking at things and buying things that I don't need. I'm so badal?
¡¡I think we are many !! Stationery is something that drives many people crazy. In fact, I had the courage to jump into my project based on the belief that there are more people crazy about stationery than me. And I was not wrong luckily !!!!
Your illustration work is reflected in notebooks, organizers, towels, mobile phone cases. When you visualize the project and how were its first stepss?
The truth is that it all started with a calendar that I made in the printing house to give to clients at Christmas ... One year I had already made one with photographs of the island that I commissioned from a photographer but I wanted to make a 100 illustrated calendar.
I chose a theme and began to draw. The result was super daring, I thought maybe too much for our clientele, but I went ahead and liked it so much that from then on every year since 2010 I make a calendar for the clients, and they wait impatiently for it. Each calendar is many hours of work, but they are illustrations that I have been able to apply years later to different products ...
I started by launching my first collection of notebooks and selling them in stores, it was as a result of having the physical store, that I have launched to apply my designs to other items such as postcards, clothing, mobile phone cases, towels, bikinis, cups etc ... and more things that I have in mind.
I know your work on a walk through the always relaxing streets of Corralejo. In the middle of the main street: a space that falls in love: Mojo Art Shop. How the idea of opening a physical store came about?
It really arises because it was a time bomb about to explode inside me. I had already self-published my first collection of notebooks in 2011, I dreamed of being able to continue doing it with new illustrations, but with the guarantee that I would be able to expose them in my own way and thus be able to sell them at a good pace, for that I needed my own space.
When you have a very great illusion you can sleep it for a while, but sooner or later it will wake up again, again and again. I kept repeating to myself that it is better to regret what one has done than what one has not done and I jumped into the void. Because although my notebooks sold quite well in the points of sale where I had them, opening a whole store with 90 of my things was putting all the meat on the grill. For me it was the closest thing to undressing in public in the middle of the street: very intense !!o!!
¿And what can we find in it
Well, Mojo Art Shop is like a little creature that is growing and evolving. Right now you can find my stationery, notepad, weekly organizers, notebooks, calendars, diaries, postcards, prints and posters to decorate the house, mugs, cotton bags, T-shirts, baby bodysuits, beach towels and bikinis with my prints ... Little things to give to others or to yourself.o.
I also have designer things that I bring from other places ... items that are not found in large stores, but that are very special and beautiful ... I have also opted for some artisans from the island whose creations are in tune with my style and designs.
But also, you are present in many more spaces. How is the business expansion process going?o?
We have to study the expansion process outside the island well because my articles, being designed as a souvenir of the visit to the island, always have the word Fuerteventura, never in large size, but it is true that it is a limiting factor. As a result of some requests for shops in Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, I am making new ideas..
Corralejo is a meeting point for international tourism. Where do you know that there is an Erika Castilla living nowora?
¡¡It is amazing !! For example, I know that my designs right now decorate a wall of a cafeteria in the north of France, and many little corners of houses and children's rooms in Germany, England, Italy, the Czech Republic, France, and of course the entire Canary Islands and the peninsula ...
Let's talk about the process. How you define what to do and in what supports you will do its?
It all depends on the printing technique. Being the daughter of a printer, I have had the opportunity to learn the possibilities and limitations of the printing press, so I feel very comfortable working with everything related to stationery. When we talk about other media it is another story.
From the moment I have an idea, until I manage to find the printing technique and the supplier, it can take months, especially since I try to find geographically close suppliers.
There are also things that I would love to do, but if the result does not convince me I will give up. In short, I write down all the ideas that occur to me in a notebook and if I find a supplier and the result is good, I carry them out.
¿And you do the production here on the islandsas?
Yes, for me it is important to try to keep my money on the island as much as possible. Help general employment, support local industry, local companies ... If there is no machinery that can do my things here, then I look in other islands, and if I can't find it in the Canary Islands, I look in the peninsula, but I stay in Spain . In Catalonia the expression fer country is used, which means to make a country, that is to say to help your loved ones, to sweep for home.sa.
Running a business on an island, with all that being isolated entails, is not easy. I am well aware of this and I applaud all the Canarian companies that are still standing even when they are made to compete with giant companies from the peninsula or abroad.o.
Manufacturing on my island my products will never be able to compete in price with the brands that manufacture in China, or in giant companies that are thousands and thousands of kilometers away, but I learned long ago that money not only has an economic value, but is well used, it has an important social value.
¿Es Canarias is an ideal place for creative development?
The Canary Islands is a place with a very powerful energy, the landscapes are extreme, they transmit a lot of strength and at the same time it is very easy to find peace and silence. There are many foreign artists and creatives who have found their place to live here; there must be a reason...
¿What is inspiration
It is the best visitor that can knock on your door, and when he enters, try to make him stay as long as possible because without a doubt, you will enjoy his company.
¿How would you define your own work? You can live from it in the Canary Islandsas?
It is exciting. I think anyone who can dedicate themselves to this is super lucky. I think that in Spain in general it is more complicated than in other countries to make a living from graphic design or illustration.
Unfortunately, everything related to art has a very secondary role in this country and when things are not important for those at the top, that translates into the absence of industry and specific business fabric, and therefore, in the absence of jobs. of work.
The brain drain does not only occur in science and technology, there are many illustrators and animators who go to other countries, they even cross the Atlantic because there is an industry that demands professionals. In the Canary Islands, I would tell you that as a graphic designer it is much easier to earn a living than as an illustrator.
Direct to the quick test: Illustrator or designera?
Illustrator, who amuses me a thousand times more.
Three references in your field: international, national and from the islands.
¡¡Uff there are so many wonderful illustrators that it is hard for me to choose! But references from my beginnings for me would be: Catalina Estrada Colombia, Genevève Gauckler France, I'm sorry I have told you two internationals.les.
Spaniards I greatly admire Nicolás Aznárez, but I really admire so many, there is so much talent ...
Canaries I confess that I have no reference, although I admit that I have not spent a long time enjoying myself in blogs and design and illustration websites. I am quite out of date.
A color and why. I don't know whether to ban you from turquoise hahaha.
Turquoise because it refreshes my mind, and Indian yellow because it warms my heart ... Sun and sea ...
¿Spot or full color inks?
¿What projects do you have in the short term?
I want to see my illustrations in new media that I can't unveil yet and I also have new illustrations in the making.
¿Soundtrack to work?
Music is my oxygen while I draw. I could not choose a single group but I summarize with independent music in the vein of Devendra Banhart and Alex Turner.
¿And at the end of the job?
The same; although sometimes I like to listen to music from the 80s and 90s like Loquillo, Seguridad Social, Mano Negra, Manu Chao, Los Rodríguez ... I'm a bit nostalgic.
I don't get along very well with someone seeing a half-done drawing of mine.
One flaw of yours that you should correct is..
I'm a bit cruel to myself, I have to learn not to boycott myself.
¿Something else to add before our time is up?
¡¡¡Thank you very much for thinking of me !!!
Well, thank you very much for your time. Good luck and see you on the road..