Latin American Ilustracion: Javier Medellin Puyou

By David Schonauer   Wednesday September 9, 2015

 Javier Medellin Puyou  is into 1970s-era California fashion.

“I love the icons involved with California in that decade, and also that amazing futuristic vision from the past, especially from the 1950s,” says the Mexico City-based illustrator.

His passion for retro styles is on full display in “California Dreaming 2099,” an illustration he created in 2014 for a group exhibition organized by Mexico’s Picnic magazine. The exhibition was to feature work by 30 of the country’s best illustrators. “They gave the artists the freedom to work around any theme they wanted,” says Medellin, a.k.a. Jilipollo. “The only requirement was that the artwork had to be done in just two colors, chocolate brown and lime green, because because the work was going to be reproduced as silkscreens using only those two tones.”

Medellin concocted a scene, or rather an amalgam of scenes, made up of all the styles that inspire him. It’s a kind of intergalactic time-warp beach party. “I imagine there’s a story happening in most of my work, including this one, and in every character and situation in it,” he says.

Later, Medellin added some more colors to the illustration, which was chosen as a winner of the Latin American Ilustracion 3  competition.

Though he is now considered one of Mexico’s top illustrators, Medellin says that launching his career was difficult. “Even though I studied architecture, my first passion has always been illustration, so I decided to venture in this field properly after my studies,” he says. “There wasn’t really any kind of illustration academy in those days, or people around who I could get advice from. I tried hard to start and get noticed, but I made quite a few mistakes with clients due to my inexperience.”

He left Mexico briefly, traveling with a girlfriend to her home in the UK. “Sadly, I realized that she didn’t support my dream of being an illustrator,” he says. “She urged me to ‘get a real job.’ The breaking up came soon afterward.”

He began sending his work to agencies, but had no luck. “The days started to turn more and more gray, and I was losing hope,” he says. “Then I found out about a Coca-Cola poster contest being held in Mexico, so I decided to participate, probably just to create more artwork to show to agencies. I didn’t think I could ever win something like that. But then I won the first prize! It truly helped my career, and helped me believe that I could make it as an illustrator if I continued trying and getting more work and more experience.”

He says reading technical books and illustration blogs also help him gain the knowledge he needed to deal more effectively with clients.

He’s still dreaming, but now it’s about California in the 1970s.


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