“My studio is in Barcelona. Since everything is organized and arranged around the studio, it’s more like I’m living in the work space rather than working from home. I need my computer desk and my drawing desk to form an L shape, so I can be at one or the other with just a quick swivel of my chair. I’m not sure if this arrangement of the desks is because I’m lazy or OCD, but whatever the reason it works for me. My desks are black. This can be a problem sometimes since I always use a black eraser which always get lost in the darkness of the desk. But it can be an advantage too because I can see the borders of the paper very well. I’m surrounded by books and some stuff on top of the bookshelves hasn’t found its place yet (I moved some months ago). I would say that my most appreciated belongings are my sketchbooks. I always carry one in my purse. It’s like Linus’s blanket, I feel safer thinking I won’t get bored anywhere.”
Luci Gutiérrez works as illustrator in press, publishing and advertising. She regularly contributes to n The Washington Post and La Cama de Pandora, a fiction blog of the spanish newspaper El Mundo. She has contributed The New Yorker and illustrated the Member Center section The New York Times website. Luci has worked on some children books, like L’abergo delle fiabe (Orecchio Acerbo, Italy) which was selected at the White Ravens 2008 and winner of a special mention in the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2008. She’s also illustrated an adult book about sex called Kamasutra (Artichoque, Spain). Most of her advertising work has been for spanish clients. At the same time, Luci’a co-editor of Garabattage, a small publishing house specializing in illustration. She is currently finishing a personal project of a book to learn English.
FROM YOUR DESKS: What time do you like to work?
LUCI GUTIERREZ: IL’m a night person, but I try to work on a daytime schedule to see the sun and have lunch at a reasonable time. This is a big battle I have always had, lately it seems I have achieved it. I’m very proud of it!
I like peace. I think both, city and peace, are compatible.
FYD: I like the subterranean city look of your website. How did you come up with the concept of Holeland?
LG: The name of Holeland comes from a kind of joke with a friend. We used to say that we were in a hole as a code to say that we were not in a good time or we were propeled from a hole to the space regarding the good times. But I also took the idea of the hole because it’s a place where things can disappear and also appear surprisingly, like a magician’s hat. I like to see illustration as a magic trick.
FYD: Your work seems influenced by lines and shapes and colour. What inspires you out in the world?
LG: I’m fascinated by the 20’s to the 50’s. I love vintage, from the design to the music. I like black novels, the cinema and I get easily hooked on these great new series. I also like observing people on the street, I’m really a voyeur.
FYD: Living in such a great city like Barcelona must influence your illustrations; busy lives always zigzagging and intersecting. How do you keep your head screwed on (unlike a few of your comic characters…)
LG: I consider myself an urbanite, being out of the city gives me hives, but at the same time, I like peace. I think both, city and peace, are compatible. One only needs to keep time for oneself, which I do a lot. This gives me the chance to waste time, that’s what I need before, meanwhile and after working on something. The disadvantage is that I can be quite slow.
FYD: Some of your characters are sexual and provocative. How does sexuality influence you?
LG: Some years ago, I got a special assignment that consisted of doing an illustrated book about sex. Then I discovered that the sex topic could be fun to play with. I find it funny and a way to talk about other things.
I like to see illustration as a magic trick.
FYD: How do you Keep Calm and Carry on?
LG: I would like to know the answer to that!