feeder insider w/ Brosmind
Since Alejandro and Juan Mingarro opened their studio in 2006, the two talented brothers have been animating household objects and everyday snacks to create an intricate richness of stories and characters with an unmistakable visual style which quickly translated into international success. Their optimistic palette and appetite for detail provide a fresh twist to their commercial works, while their curiosity has them perpetually experimenting with new mediums of expression. In truth, Brosmind stands not only for fantasy-infused illustration, but also for quirky and playful DIY. As the creative duo celebrate 10 years of drawing side by side, we’ve asked them to join us in a conversation about work & play, successful collaboration and their milestone moments for this week’s insider.
keywords: humour, vivid, playground, fantasy
Sometimes I wish I were a… toy designer.
Everybody should read… more.
I could spend all day playing… Super Pang.
If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be… impossible.
When I feel stuck I… whistle.
Don’t touch my… nose.
A fun fact about my brother… is that he would like to be me.
My favourite dessert is… mochi.
A comic I’d share with my kids… any Tintin book.
3 artists I resonate with… are Gary Baseman, Tom Sachs and Francisco Ibáñez.
Photo: Meritxell Arjalaguer
Violeta Năzare: Hello, Juan & Alejandro, it’s so exciting to be having this conversation and to get the chance to explore the vibrant world of colour and fantasy that you create! Your work exudes optimism and playfulness with its endless array of mouth-watering sweets, futuristic unicorns and other friendly monsters that you bring to life by injecting character into everyday objects. Where do you find your inspiration and what intention do you bring to the drawing board? Are there any recurring elements or characters you like to go back to time and time again and try to integrate in your new work?
Brosmind: The key element to understanding our style is the fact that there are two brothers ruling the studio. We have shared so much time, experiences and influences in general, our mental processes are very similar. Our current creative universe has a very direct connection to our childhood. Our style is in some way influenced by the popular culture of the 80’s and early 90’s, not so much in an aesthetic way but rather in the search for that sense of wonder that permeated that era.
V.N.: You were already a creative duo as kids, drawing comics, making models and vehicles for your toys and movies with a domestic camcorder and now your style is so coherent to the point where you can draw together on the same piece without anyone being able to distinguish your specific contribution. Was that always the case or were your individual styles more different before Brosmind? And if so, how has this collaboration changed each of your approaches?
B.: Yes, at the time we created Brosmind, our ideas were very similar, but our drawing styles were different. Alejandro had excellent spatial vision and could represent volumes and functional machines with great ease. Juan mastered more the expresiveness of the characters, and was responsible for drawing the hands or bringing dynamism to the positions.
We decided to somehow create a new kind of illustration style which we could both do indistinctly. We gradually learnt from each other’s strong points until we had equal mastery of the technique, and that fusion ended in the actual Brosmind style.
V.N.: With technology advancing at such a fast pace, your technique remains, as you’ve called it, “a very manual process”: you draw with a pencil, ink it by hand in the light table, scan the drawing and add color with the computer. Are there any new technologies, such as 3D printing or augmented reality, which you’d like to experiment with or to integrate in your process? And what are the tools of the trade that you’re currently using on a regular basis?
B.: Illustration, mainly in advertising, is the fastest and easiest way of living for us, but we think our creativity goes beyond the two dimensions. That’s why we always try to develop personal projects in which we experiment with other techniques and disciplines, like sculpture, music or video. Some examples of this projects are our pedal cars, the Brosmind army ceramic sculptures or the Olfato Mike vinyl. Our conferences are another facet of ours in which we try to play with new devices and techniques.
Thanks to the democratization of technology, there are many open source platforms available, which give artists the ability to create interesting technological projects.
Some years ago we programmed our own conference app, which we control with special home made devices. The latest version allows us to control two videogame characters and many other graphic overlays while passing the slides, and even play live music with a mini keyboard.
Photo: Andoni Beristain
V.N.: I find it impressive that you make time for such a range of personal projects in between your advertising commissions without becoming discouraged by the years it takes to complete them. Having to juggle so many over long periods of time, do you struggle with staying consistent throughout each project? How much do you allow an idea to veer off course?
Even if we have to do this kind of projects in our spare time, even if sometimes it takes us years to finish them, it’s still a total pleasure to work on the personal projects. In fact, they work as medicine for us, and we think it is totally necesary for any artist to combine these totally free projects with the daily commercial work.
They are the oasis where we recharge our energy, the way to feel totally fulfilled, in contrast to the other project for brands, where even if your are allowed to use your own style, there is always some aspect where you have to surrender your art in order to accomplish the customer requirements.
V.N.: It’s no secret you’re into toys and enjoy collecting them – your studio is an authentic playground. What were the first toys you started collecting and what are your latest additions? What about your most prized possessions?
B.: Yes, we love collecting toys, especially action figures from the 80’s, the ones we used to play with. Our alltime toy lines are the Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe and Bravestarr. Alejandro is the hardcore collector here, and he keeps all his figures boxed and in mint condition. Juan is more into vintage superhero comic books and old paperback books.
V.N.: Since the illustrations you did for Honda in 2007 got awarded in different festivals, you decided to specialize in advertising illustration. You became the most published Spanish illustrators in Luerzer’s Archive during the last ten years and were even selected for Luerzer’s Archive Special 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide. What are your favourite commercial works and what makes them special to you?
B.: It’s difficult to choose only one. Some of them are key steps in our career, like that one for Honda which allowed us to became full-time illustrators. Another important one was For all the headaches along the way, for Excedrin, which caused our entry into the US market in 2008. Recently we had the chance to work on a lot of food related projects which we really enjoyed a lot. From these ones, we would like to pick one campaign for Oreo together with another outstanding artist, and the vegetable world we created for Beefsteak, the latest restaurant project from genius chef José Andrés.
V.N.: The end of last year saw the publishing of WHY HOW WHAT, a book that documents your evolution, your personal style and encompasses all of Brosmind’s work up to that point. What have you been working on since the book was released? What other projects are in store for the foreseeable future?
B.: Apart from the commercial projects we just talked about, we had the chance to do some interesting personal projects since the book launched. One of our favorites are the Toasted Pets, a super cute limited edition of aluminium character-like boxes, which allow you to keep your favorite things inside of them. This was a co-production with a friend company called Boo in Barcelona. For the occasion, we also did a super fun video commercial where we dare to speak in Japanese.
V.N.: On a final note, what’s your advice for illustrators setting out on a creative collaboration? What are the key elements you believe ensure that both parties feel satisfied with the work and that the result showcases their strengths in a coherent way?
B.: In collaborations the key is to relax, keep your egos aside, and try to have fun.
The idea is to take advantage of everybody’s strengths in order to take the project to the next level.
Sometimes, you just learn amazing things just by watching the others’ process, and you can apply those lessons in ways you never imagined to yours.
V.N.: Thank you for your time!
Words: Violeta Năzare