Latin American Ilustracion: Tomas Ives

By David Schonauer   Wednesday February 24, 2016

Success doesn’t always come the first time around.

In 2015, Chilean-born artist Tomas Ives was asked to create a branding illustration for the Mas Deco Market design fair in Santiago, Chile. The organizers of the fair wanted him to base the illustration on a well known building or area of the city, so Ives took a photograph of the home of Chile’s government and through collage transformed it into what he calls a “pre-Hispanic sacrifice temple.”

“At that moment, many corruption cases were happening in Chilean politics, so I felt that everything had become evil in one way or another,” says Ives, explaining idea behind the illustration. “Of course, my idea was not well received by the board of the fair. I was then asked to do something happier.”

That request took Ives to an area in central Santiago where, he says, “people come to celebrate the triumphs that unite us — soccer, in most cases.” He took a photograph of the scene and, using collage, combined a number of elements rich in visual symbolism — everything from aboriginal references to the Japanese good-luck figure called Maneki-Neko, or “Welcoming Cat,” which Ives gave a pirate’s eye-patch. The illustration was accepted by the Mas Deco Market organizers and later was named a winner of the Latin American Ilustracion 4 competition.

            Ives's first try

                The second, successful try

“What I remember most as a child are drawings,” says Ives in a short video about him and his work. “I can remember I drew someone’s face wearing glasses while my grandma was on the phone.” He says he was brought up among many art books, most of them related to pre-Columbian iconography.


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