Spanish-born Ignasi Monreal will only turn 23 by the end of August and yet he is already one of the hottest and most sought-after fashion illustrators and graphic designers in the world today. His work appeared in, among other publications, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Spain, V Magazine Spain, CANDY and Dolce & Gabbana’s online magazine Swide.
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Ignasi, you were born in Barcelona, but later moved to Madrid? Isn’t that a dangerous thing to do in Spain?
Not really, there's a lot of competitiveness between the two cities, but I've been very happy and always felt welcome during the eight years I lived there.
You’re still very young and already one of the most sought after fashion illustrators today. What’s your secret to success? Or what makes Ignasi Monreal Ignasi Monreal?
I wouldn't call it success yet. There are plenty of years ahead, of work and improvement, and loads of people I would love to collaborate with, as well as plenty of stuff I haven't been able to do yet. I've been lucky to work with some renowned publications and clients, and for that I'm very grateful. I think it comes from working hard and having a painting style that is different from what we are used to in fashion illustration.
What is the added value fashion illustration can offer compared to, say, fashion photography?
That depends on the style of the illustrator, but illustration generally gives a personal touch and a free interpretation of the clothing that photography isn't able to. In my case, since most of my illustrations were first taken as photographs, I try to add little details or compositions, which are impossible to display on a photo.
I found many of your images quite surreal. Would you say surrealism is a major influence?
Surrealism came from what I explained earlier. Trying to distance my artwork from photography, I found surrealism the way to go and I absolutely loved it. But I'd say my main influence comes from comics, since I started doing illustrations while I was studying Comic & Illustration in Barcelona as a teenager. It was kind of obvious I would end up doing fashion illustration, since I only drew women and they always wore very high high-heels!
What other sources of inspiration would you cite?
Internet is my main source of inspiration. I find everything surfing the web and find things I'd never imagine! Although it is filled up with crap, there are amazing people, works, images and videos out there.
As said, before becoming a (fashion) illustrator and graphic designer, you studied (among other things) Comic & Illustration. Did you ever consider creating your own comic book?
I'm a big fan of comic books and they are a pivotal point in my work. Sky Doll by Barbucci & Canepa is such an influence on my work. I actually did a fan art of one of their characters for an illustration commissioned by Dolce & Gabbana's online magazine Swide.com.
Are there any designers in particular you admire?
I really admire Spanish designer Davidelfin, I've worked with him for the last year and it's been an amazing experience, he's been a fantastic boss and mentor.
How does your ideal weekend look like?
Either at a music festival or the beach, having fun with my friends, and enjoying the sun!
What is the best film you saw over the past six months?
I've seen many good movies in the last few months, but Sunset Boulevard and We Have to Talk About Kevin made quite an impression on me.
What are the last 3 songs you listened to on your iPod?
I don't know, but the last songs I've added to my Spotify list are Conquest of Spaces by Woodkid, The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel and Falling by Julee Cruise.
Any plans of moving back to Barcelona?
No way! I just moved to London a few days ago!
INTERVIEWED BY: PETER SPEETJENS