Javier Aguilera is a Spanish illustrator and sculptor whose work we first stumbled across when we saw a piece with one puppy sawing its little bros and sisters in pieces while they napped. Needless to say, we had to find out more. Referencing everything from Japanese anime to European street art, Javier carves out his own creepy and eye-catching niche that has us coming back for more.
Main image: You're In Fashion, Damien Hirst
Heidi grew up!
Javier, can you tell us a little about what your artistic background is like?
I’ve been making art since I was a child, but only started taking it seriously about twelve years ago.
Is sculpting your only job at the moment, or do you do other work? If so, what other work?
No, I also work as an illustrator.
Which other artist and/or movements inspire your work?
I’ve always been in love with the work of Ron Mueck; he is awesome. I’ve been also inspired by other great artists such as the master Rodin, Evan Penny, Jeff Koons, Richard Avedon, Alberto García Alix and Samuel Salcedo.
And for the last few years I’ve been thinking that the more original, fleshy and shocking ideas are in street art: people like JR, Liqen, Blu, Jeff Soto, Blek le Rat, and many others (some of whom may not be very well known) always come out with killer pieces.
Manga, Art Toys, videogames and pubs are also good sources of inspiration.
We see themes of pain, suffering and a dark humour in most of your art. Where do you think this perspective comes from?
A knock on my head when I was a child, TV news, a case of bad digestion… it’s anybody’s guess!
How would you describe your overall message in your art?
I couldn’t say I’ve got a single overriding message – each piece of work has a different meaning and one can be interpreted differently depending on who you ask. Really there are a lot of ideas or messages in my whole work, but they all tend to have one thing on common: the use of the human body as a vehicle which to express myself.
We see a lot of Japanese motifs in your work too: where does this fascination come from?
I remember the first time I saw the anime movie Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo: all those images, the city, the characters, the Kaneda bike, they stuck with me. I thought: he’s such a genius!
After that I kept finding new amazing stuff: the Ghibli Studio films, Takeshi Kitano, Takashi Murakami, bishoujo figures etc, so the more I dug out the more attracted to this culture I got. It’s fantastic the way they make everything: sculptures, anime, figures, fashion, videogames. Also, their food is delicious!
Javier with Otaku Rider
What new pieces are you working on, or planning to start, this year?
I’m working on several illustrations for the Poulsen Gallery in Denmark and preparing two group exhibitions for March in my home city, Vigo, in Spain. Over the summer I would like to travel to Japan to get in touch with local artists and see what’s going on out there.
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