Latin American Ilustracion: Javier Medellin Puyou

By David Schonauer   Wednesday May 11, 2016

Is it possible to wage a war against war?

In 2015, Mexico City-based photographer Javier Medellin Puyou  created an illustration based on that theme as part of the Italian Poster Biennial competition. “I don’t really consider myself a proper cartel/poster maker; this was really an ‘exercise’ I developed in a workshop with the well known cartel maker and a very good friend Eduardo Picazo,” Medellin says. Conceptualizing the message of the poster was the biggest challenge of the project, he adds.

“It is also one of the more exciting parts during an illustration’s process, and this workshop enhanced my conceptual skills,” says Medellin. “Picazo gave some good tips to me to achieve the best results and to develop an idea in a simple but effective way. Although conceptualizing is probably the most difficult part of the creative process for me, things were more clear and effective after these tips”

His poster, featuring a warplane dropping a payload of doves rather than bombs, went on to be named a winner of the Latin American Ilustracion 4  competition

The illustration, Medellin knew, needed to express a strong idea clearly and quickly. “I decided to take care not to show something very crude, obvious or too ‘military,’ but try to find something a bit more poetic, clever and simple, with a bigger visual impact. It is not easy!” he says.

Medellin, who has a degree in architecture, says he considers himself “a frustrated musician,” though his primary passion was always illustration. Though today he is considered one of Mexico’s top illustrators, launching his career was not easy. “I didn’t have any clue about how to develop a proper brief in illustration at the beginning, when I was very young. I trusted only my skills, but my lack of training caused me to fail sometimes,” he says. “It was quite frustrating, and I guess those little failures made me try harder and to find a way to achieve my goal.”

Medellin was also one of the winners of the Latin American Ilustacion 3 competition, for his piece “California Dreaming 2009,” a mashup of California fashion from the 1970s and retro science-fiction ideas from the 1950s.

“I imagine there’s a story happening in most of my work, including this one, and in every character and situation in it,” he said of the scene he concocted.


  1. Francisco Javier Galarraga Carrillo commented on: May 11, 2016 at 9:13 p.m.
    Great work!

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now

Dispatches from Latin America