Artist Spotlight: Jesús Sotés
An interview with Jesús Sotés, a Pamplona-based illustrator and graphic designer whose folk-reminiscent pieces sparkle with colour and deep emotion.
Jesús Sotés is a self-taught illustrator and designer whose pieces embrace a folk-art vibe with bold colours and thought-provoking proportions. His work conveys deep emotions, sometimes unsettling, but always relatable. Jesús draws inspiration from his subconscious, nature, music, and the creativity of artists and scientists. His work spans editorial, advertising, and book publishing for small commissions to major brands, including British Airways, Pepsi, and Hermes. We talked to Jesús about his artistic journey and designing for the common good.
Hi, Jesús! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative background?
I always find myself doodling anywhere, anytime. Since I was a child, I’ve felt an authentic passion for drawing, so it’s not a surprise I chose this profession.
For years I worked as a graphic designer for different studios and advertising agencies, sometimes taking illustration commissions. Four years ago I started working exclusively as and illustrator. My form is almost entirely self-taught. The most important background I have is my life experience, which brought me to this point, with all of the successes and mistakes.
How would you describe your style?
It is so difficult to describe one’s own style—very difficult, really. One focus is my use of colour. I’m coming to a more radical and personal way of work or, at least, that’s what I want. I also think there is a degree of sadness in my work and of nonconformity and discomfort.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Anywhere, really, both in and out of my myself, in my own ghosts and subconscious, as well as the external world: nature, places, towns, sounds, music, books, newspapers, art, people—especially those who have explored the limits of themselves, taking human beings’ capacity further: painters, sculptors, filmmakers, writers, illustrators, adventurers, scientists, and a lot of anonymous people who, with their heroic daily acts, make this crazy world better.
On the blog this summer we’re talking about creative fantasy and artists who design utopias that let us escape our everyday anxieties. Is this trend influencing your work? If so, how?
I think that an artist is always creating fantasy. After all, an artist is always making a personal interpretation of reality filtered by his own experience and sensibility, creating something new from the bottom of his soul. I believe that these creations can help others to escape their daily pressures, perhaps because we all are worried about the same things. In my case, I use my work to exorcise my own demons and anxieties more than to escape. I think we all need to find ourselves and, from there, create a new real world, free of masks, fakes, and false appearances, that are, largely, the cause of our anxieties.
I think technology offers us, as artists, the possibility to create new realities and new ways of working that can help us to escape or at least experience new and good feelings. But I truly believe that part of the solution for our anxieties is inside us and requires a re-connection with our essence. This reconnection allows us to better enjoy our reality without the need of escape from it.
What’s been your biggest challenge to overcome as a designer and illustrator?
Simple. To leave digital tools and opt for hand-made work.
What do you like most about working with Adobe Stock?
I really think Adobe Stock is the most complete, inspiring and useful collection of stock images. You can find almost anything you need.
In my case, I found a lot of interesting textures that allowed me to create shades I really like.
What design trends should we be looking out for?
Beyond pure design trends, I think we must look for new ways of design which are committed to a new global shift of thinking. This is not an easy matter. We must be looking for more practical, sustainable ways of designing and working toward the common good, not only the for individual benefits. Each of us has the opportunity to introduce small changes in our work and ways of doing things for the common good. We must look for a more human design.
What music do you currently listen to while working?
It depends on the day, project, and state of mind. I adore music in general so I can enjoy almost all kinds of music. Sometimes I need to relax and other times I need just the contrary. I usually get inspired by soft music. You can also find me listening to electronic music and metal as well as spiritual songs and new age. I always keep a little part of my heart for indie music and punk-rock music.
Our thanks to Jesús for sharing a bit of his artistic journey with us. We’re excited to see where his creativity takes him next. For more of Jesús’ work, visit his portfolio on Behance and follow him on Instagram.