Bacoa People

Elena Hormiga & Bacoa

"Curiosity is the best engine to advance and create"

A hard working six-legged insect, able to climb all surfaces and make anything it wants; that’s how Elena Hormiga describes herself. A young illustrator from Madrid who left her career in Computer Engineering and started from scratch in the world of art, her true passion. This time, Elena has exchanged children’s books for burgers to illustrate our lastest Summer edition Fanzine.

This question couldn’t be missed, where does the name Hormiga come from?

Many years ago, I had a mystical encounter with an ant. I don’t like insects at all so I tried to get rid of him. We struggled a little, (he won of course) but in the end he showed me the way and here I am, on the path of the ant.

How did it feel changing children books for burgers?

Basically, there’s not too much difference, except one thing, something that doesn’t happen with children’s books: while illustrating the fanzine, I was constantly drooling thinking about Bacoa’s burgers…

Coming from such a different industry like computer engineering, what made you fall in love and start working as an illustrator?

Well, what I don’t understand is how I didn’t realize before that I wanted to be an illustrator.
I think it just never occurred to me that anyone could make a living by drawing (ooooh how crazy!). Now I like to think that everything is possible, even within a few years I could leave everything and dedicate myself to music, be an elite athlete, or even an astronaut…

Elena Hormiga & Bacoa

We know that illustration is a difficult and competitive world, what were your first steps? What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

I believe in the beginning you’re taking steps without knowing that you’re actually taking them but you just have to keep moving forward, then there comes a time when you have to sit and think about what you’re doing. In my case, I signed up for some workshops, I went to a fair in Bologna to mingle, interviewed editors and started to create “self-orders”. Many of these projects have been kept in a drawer, but they taught me many things. When you start working many questions and uncertainties come up, but that’s exactly where you’ll start to define your work.

We love the play you make with textures, shapes and colours. Who or what has influenced your style of drawing?

We’re little sponges, so in the end everything has an influence, from the movies of your childhood to the buildings of your neighborhood, the music you listen to or the wallpaper of your grandparents’ house. Everything is going into the mixer. Conceptual illustrators like Pablo Amargo, the fineness of everything that Ana Bustelo does, or the universes invented by Manuel Marsol have all influenced me. I also have references there like Klee, Art Brut… I don’t know, so many things! In general, humor is what attracts me the most.

What do you think is the most important characteristic or virtue of an illustrator?

Curiosity! As an illustrator or anyone in general, I think it’s the best engine to grow. Curiosity and the desire to have fun.

The cover and back cover of our fanzine has an extraterrestrial touch, where did the inspiration come from to create this mix between burgers and aliens?

It was Moritz’s fault! I started to make quick little sketches in the notebook and when I drew the bottle it seemed obvious that it was a rocket about to take off. From there, everything else evolved: retro-futuristic buildings, little Martians, unidentified flying burgers…

Don’t miss our Summer edition Fanzine illustrated by Elena Hormiga.