Hi everyone! Today I have the first BCN Handmade of this year in store for you. I am delighted to present a wonderful illustrator and all-round lovely person: Edu J. Montoya!
I don’t remember exactly where or how, I suppose it was somewhere online, but this illustration (above) caught my eye one day and drove me to search out who it was by, get in touch, etc. I am so very happy that I did! For it gave me the chance to meet Edu, who is the most humble person I have met in a while, and all the lovelier for it. Friendly too. And generous, with his time, with his information…
It was at his home in the neighborhood of Gràcia, where he showed me his studio, with its musical inspirations on the wall and the shelves full of graphic novels and comic books. But also the room where he and his girlfriend Montserrat (who makes beautiful necklaces which I hope to be able to show you soon) screen print totes and t-shirts. And at the dining table, where he works on his illustrations when his studio is occupied by his recording and editing tools (he is a passionate musician who makes recordings and edits video), he showed me prints of his past works, which Edu sells for a very attractive price, at festivals and fairs, as well as his note books full of annotations and sketches, a painting he rescued from the street and is transforming in a very interesting way, and of course illustrations he is currently working on.
I think that is introduction enough, don’t you? Check out the slideshow with images from my visit to his home, and afterwards, this multifaceted and very talented man will tell you more about himself, in his own words…
Where are you from?
I grew up next to the Llobregat river, in Cornellà. A city on the outskirts of Barcelona.
What does Barcelona mean to you?
To me it’s one of those things you love and hate, well,in reality I don’t hate it… hate is too strong a word, let’s say that only sometimes I fight with her, so I adore her.
In Autumn there is nothing more beautiful than the Plaça dels Enamorats (Lovers’ Square) in Cornellà. It’s made of stone, has four benches and six almond trees which at that time are starting to lose their flowers.
‘Haga frío o haga calor Pollo Rico es lo mejor’ (whether it’s coldor whether it’s hot, Pollo Rico is the best) it what its waiters sing. Although I know friends who’ve spent a rough night after dining there, I love their escudella. The best is the bar, you get there, ask for a beer and they already put a plate with bread out for you, great. It’s on Carrer Sant Pau.
I studied in Cornellà, my school’s name was changed to ‘Els Pins’ years after I finished primary school because Pius XII, which is what it was called previously, came very close to blessing the atomic bombs in the Cold War. Afterwards, as always, I got caught in a reform of the education laws and ended up doing my secondary education specialised in technology at a school with a poet’s name. There I filled my CV with humanistic optional subjects: religion, philosophy, esthetics… When I finshed a friend recommended I study Graphic Design because he said I was a good draughtsman. I studied and worked during three of the four years, the last one I did an internship at a well-known advertising agency, where they take advantage of agreements with colleges in order to avoid paying for their labor. I won’t say the name, but it starts with Bassat and ends with Ogilvy. Afterwards I combined jobs in design studios, cultural communication agencies, newspapers, editorials… with freelance clients and music.
How did you get here?
Because of my girlfriend. The last time I was unemployed for a few months, she recommended I start showing my drawings, on social media, shops… and they have worked out very well.She has a good eye, really. She interviewed Moderna del Pueblo when she hadn’t published any books yet and at home we have a bunch of illustrations by Jordi Labanda and Juanjo Sáez, from when they were truly underground.
What inspires you?
I don’t know, before I used to think that it was beauty, but everything can have something special. It’s something that depends at least on the two, on the inspiring object and the inspired.
How does inspiration strike?
At any moment, I believe in that sense I am always working, it’s a little exhausting.
What do you find inspiring about your making process?
As I’m always busy, it’s difficult to choose. I like it when I meet my own expectations, although I haven’t quite completed a piece, I feel satisfied when I believe to have improved something.
I dream a lot of truly disturbing things… If I am honest with you at a global level I don’t have many hopes, I believe in myself and in the good people who I am surrounded by, I believe that is enough, that is my hope.
Thanks very much Edu for your warm welcome into your home! It was a great pleasure to meet you!
If you want to know more about Edu’s work, then check out his website here, and for a more all-round idea of who this friendly guy is and what his passions are, check out his blog here. Oh and if you’d like to buy any of Edu’s prints, tote bags or necklaces then check out his shop on Etsy here. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something you like!