1. What was your very first job?
I actually can’t remember which was the very first one but I did a lot of them, on and off, since I was very young: Picking up olives and almonds in the Spanish countryside, waiter, construction worker, loading and unloading trucks… My very first job somehow related to advertising was at Moschino, in Milan.
2. Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails.
My job is to solve business problems through creativity. And also to make sure that, whatever that solution may be, the execution of it is different, unique and impeccable.
That starts with making sure the teams feel inspired, confident and passionate about every project. And most importantly, they need to feel free to experiment, to play with ideas and enjoy the process. Fun is vital to any creative process. Today we work with a degree of speed and intensity that can be detrimental to that sense of joy that is crucial for us creatives to come up with good ideas. It’s imperative to create an environment where the teams do not get to work oppressed by those realities but inspired by their very own desire to create something great. I help with that too.
3. How did you discover that the creative world was right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? Was there a train of events that brought you where you are today?
Since I was a kid I always was very happy drawing, painting, making things and playing with my friends. I was miserable when I had to do something I did not care about. By an elimination process I grew up trying to do more and more of those things I liked and stay away from everything else.
In a way I always was attracted by good advertising. It was clear to me that some were powerful and full of beauty while the majority was just noise, rubbish. I remember I loved some specific ads that, later on, I found out to be mainly done by an agency called Casadevall & Pedereño so I already had a specific eye and a natural sensibility towards certain things. Those were smart, delicate ads made by fantastic Spanish art directors like Ramón Roda. But above everything else I loved the Benetton billboards. I remember seeing them from the back seat of my dad’s Seat Panda driving by. They were completely different . Powerful, iconic. Who did those things? Was that a job?
From an early age I was a skateboarder. I was fascinated by that culture: the graphics, the looks, the music, the fanzines, even some of the print ads for skateboarding companies were very different, fresh, raw…Many of my friends were into graffiti so I was very related with typography and the magic of letters as graphic entities.All those things shaped me and as I grew up I just continued to apply an elimination process to the choices I made so I could do something where I would be paid to create cool things, being constantly surrounded by interesting people in some sort of place that did not feel like an office. So I ended up studying advertising.
From the moment I discovered advertising annuals I became obsessed with it, absolutely obsessed. I would look at annuals over and over again. I started to know every ad, the agencies behind it, the creatives involved. I would be fascinated by great art directors like Dave Dye, Paul Bedford, Mark Reddy, David Caballero and a whole lot of great Spanish art directors that were doing very unique things when I was growing up. At that point I couldn’t care less about the classes, I was way more interested in my own personal discovery than whatever the professors were teaching. Since then I have been in love with advertising and the obsession for every creative aspect in culture only got worse. That’s the thing that brought me where I am today.
4. In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
Cliché answer: everywhere. I’m sorry but it’s true. The other day I saw this post from a young Spanish girl who found tiny love messages that his grandfather wrote to her grandma in old bar paper napkins. They were written on top of these very typical 70’s/80’s bar designs printed using only one ink, normally with quite funky typefaces. Those napkins combined with the honesty of his broken handwriting and the beauty of those short, unassuming, spontaneous love confessions was magical. I could picture the man thinking of her loved woman in an old bar in Madrid. I could hear the sound of the soccer in TV and the slot machines. I could smell the cheap whisky. I pictured a whole story. Things like that become a huge source of inspiration whenever you least expect it. Sure, also music videos, art galleries, Instagram, whatever is around us. I just try to keep a curious mind and a hunger for everything new.
I also get very inspired by the people around me. I am lucky enough to have worked with incredibly talented people and I love to hear what they like, to see what they see and to use their own curiosity to push mine.
5. If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation rather than its recognition or industry "success," what would it be?
The project that is having a bigger impact is still The Refugee Nation. It started as a huge effort by a team of incredibly passionate people working together day and night so we could make it happen. It was very difficult because there was barely any support from our agency at the time and we managed to make it happen 99% as a side project, working together with Amnesty International. It was incredible to see it grow so fast and being embraced by refugees, institutions, governments and NGO’s all over the world. We’re still involved with it.
6. Which creative disciplines do you commission most, and are most interested in seeing more of and why? Which of these disciplines are you most interested in seeing at CONNECTIONS? (ie photo, film, production, social, experiential, vr, cgi, animation etc)
Everything depends on the project. I am interested on seeing everything. I just want to see something special, whatever form that might take.