Posted on Original-Signature (Singapure)

June, 2014.

Language: English
Categories: Magazine Collab

Nearly having hit it up with his last publication “MOX NOX” presented at the beginning of the month at the Fatbottombooks (Barcelona) and already out of stock – JOAN CORNELLA ' (Barcelona, 1981) is one of the most talented catalan illustrator and cartoonist. Overstepping banalities, grey moralism and that politically correct usually more racist than Mengele himself, Joan is able to put up spectacular little stories ironically and cynically devastative, usually composed by 6 cartoons rigorously drawn on paper and invaded by a sagacious black humor that finally donates originality and style to the contemporaneous.

His only apparently mute tales, populated by funny and always happy figures that despite all never loose their personal gracefull, grow up into the illustrator’s mind through a particular reflexion on the “absurd” as quite calling a Beckettian flair. It’s quite impossible finding a “rational” sense in his stories, even if there is always someone trying to deduce some political (or even philosophical) reason from them because the tales by Cornellà live into a surrealistic atmosphere made of irrational and illogical. So that, meanwhile someone finds absurd laughing on the death and the misadventures of life, he realizes to make the absurdness of the death and the life the central theme of his funny works.

Hi Joan! Can you tell us something about yourself? As I think it should start to be sick of this answer, tell us what you prefer.

One day a guy wrote me a message on Facebook. He told me he was a fan interested to make an interview in a Starbucks. I acceded to met him and when I arrived there I found some kind of crazy ex convict trying to steal me with a fork. Since then I try to do all the interviews by email.

So, the first thing that impact on your works is your skill to combine cute characters with “heavy” situation. That’s a great component to make your illustration so “absurd”. But why do your figures are so happy to suffer?

I don’t think that my characters are happy to suffer. It’s more like they are happy even if they hurt themselves. They live in a world of extreme happiness, there’s no time for suffering. Live is wonderful and they must have fun all the time.

Where do your interest for the “absurd” came from? What does help you to find inspiration?

My influences are very diverse: comedy sketches like Monty Python and oher cartoonists like Glen Baxter or Helge Reumann. Other influences are the ingestion of bad food that causes hallucinations, agressive behaviour, blackouts and temporary blindness. And well, lately I found very inspiring the work of Molg H, a spanish cartoonist.

You draw rigorously on paper, and I think you mostly use watercolors or acrylics. Isn’t it? What do you think about the digital comics?

Yes, water colour in paper. I used to paint with ink but in all my recent works I use water colour or acrylic. I prefer the handmade comics but anyway, the most important thing to make a good comic is to have something to tell, the way you do it or the esthetics are secondary. For a short period of time I did digital comics, they are fine too.

The lack of texts, as well as having charging his works with a plurality of interpretations, has given them an universal comprehensibility that – even though the social networks – has lead you to an international popularity. Do you think you are appreciated more out of Spain? Can you image any reasons?

Yes, it’s seems to me that I’m more appreciated out of Spain, but I don’t know why. I guess spanish people don’t understand the silent comics. Or don’t like them. Or they are just noisy. But I love silent comics and I love SILENCE. I need silence when I’m working. But sometimes I stop working and I begin to whistle while I stare at my room’s ceiling. In this case, I cover my ears because I’m always out of tune.

Why do you think people are so afraid of laughing on the death, misadventures, things like that … and over all on themselves, as it gonna crack their “perfect appearance” that they have tried to build up?

Actually, I don’t think so. In fact I think we all laugh at misery. It’s the most hilarious thing. And death, we all think about death but we don’t want to talk about it. So if you talk about death in a funny way it can be sort of cathartic. And let me say nobody laughs at success, success just produces envy. We live in a world riddled with envy.

Finally, if you should describe yourself through an hypothetical tale of yours … what would you paint?

I would knock the door of my neighbours and dance on the floor. Depending on their reaction I keep on dancing with more or less enthusiasm. I would have a big smile on my face. And well, basically I’m always smiling, I mean I’m a extremely smiling person in real life. I would describe myself as a full time smiling person. and I’m also a caucasian man with two legs and halitosis. But it doesn’t matter. The thing is that I couldn’t imagine me as one of my characters because I live in real life and my characters are essentially unreal, they are like automatons.