"When you’re a kid you’re never told that this could be a profession for you"
Meine freunde, the Bauhaus movement didn’t die in hands of Prussian authorities, did it? It’s main artery it still pumps blood with a strong and steady beat, a copla folkish beat, we could say. José A. Roda, humble as it gets, with a good criterion and an exquisite aesthetic sensibility, feels like a fish under water following the current. What might even be more impressive, is that being brought up in the outskirts of Barcelona (In a neighbourhood totally detached from the art world) he ended up being crowned as a pop artist reference on the national scene. He should ensure his hands.
So it is, as proud admirers of the Rodas, we asked him to take care of our fanzine for this Spring’s Issue. With his hairy sideburns and pencil in hand has single handed designed an exclusive piece of art for Bacoa that you can check out in here. To anyone coming after him, watch out cause he reaaaally raised the bar.
What was your inspiration for the design of the cover?
Well a bunch of things really. On the one hand, everything you might find around in one of your venues, what you can find in your menus… Etc. And then on the other hand I also wanted to put a little bit of me in it, so I planted some Roda elements to this gastronomical universe for a perfect storm. A match made in heaven we could say. For me it was important to bring to life some wholesome sketches, you know, approachable and uninhibited, like you guys and your way of reaching people.
You’re known for using exclusively the five primal colours in most of your pieces: red, blue, yellow, green and black. We made things more interesting and brought it down to two: black and orange. Where you thinking much about us while you were painting?
I was thinking about you guys all the time cause I was starving for a burger all the time. I loved it to be honest. Even though those five colours are my main team I’ve been flirting with some others for a while. A little pink in here, some brown over there, let me try with that beige over there… I’m getting a taste for variety (sorry I can’t stop making culinary references) cause I really ended up liking that orange you gave me. I love forcing myself to do things in a different way that I would usually do them cause I firmly believe that it’s the best way to grown, learn and improve. Plus, I really like colourful stuff when they keep it tight and simple, so it’s all good. Word.
We’re not too sure if your blood is blue or red, but it’s blatantly obvious that you’ve got art running through your veins. When did you reach that point of no return? You were gonna be an artist and screw everything else.
Well, I’ve been a bit of a late bloomer… I always enjoyed art, it’s always been a part of me, maybe this is why I never put it into consideration till very recently. Anyways, since about 5 years ago (give or take) I repeated to myself every morning like a mantra: I’m not taking anything for granted. I still feel like I’ve got a lot to achieve and learn and I’m buzzing to do it. I’ve got the blessing or the curse of being an incredibly obsessive and thoughtful person. When I put my mind to something… And this is what I put my mind to! Every day that goes by, my love for drawing grows and I feel more blessed.
Your drawings are cute and wholesome, but they never lack message: you represent the folklore, praise the woman’s figure and even bring in the mix some multicultural appreciation. Are you aware of the impact of your work?
Not really, to be honest. The starting point of my work has always been to create something cute and wholesome. So, the standards that you talk about, I imagine, how they can be implicit in some way within my drawings because I do share those same standards. These drawings are a very personal thing and your values and beliefs always show through your work. I rarely think about it but I’m glad someone does.
José A. Roda in his studio.
You’ve been said to be a jack of all trades. You can design clothes, or wooden blocks. You can paint cars or screen print. You even teach about paper cuts at Domestic. Which part of your work fulfils you the most?
My work after all is to draw, and you can draw in many ways, shapes and forms. I’ve always found it stimulating to change gears when it comes to the many branches in the drawing world. What fulfils me the most is to do plenty of work and to get it right. After all, to draw for a living is something highly emotional. You have to be into it out of sheer love and passion. When you’re a kid you’re never told that this could be a profession for you. Managing to build yourself up a career based on drawing I think it’s really something heroic. Well, more than heroic almost surrealistic. It also really fulfils me to get a decent paycheque in the right time.
Could you let us know about any other emergent artist who you think is gonna blow up soon?
I admire a big bunch of people. I admire almost anyone whose got its own take on the world and express that vision in an honest and wholesome manner, without showing off. I don’t feel represented by the “emergent” scene, it sounds to me like it’s talking about a fad or a PR campaign. Someone or something detached from you and your work chooses to call you “emergent”. The market thrives on “emergent” artists, why? And, to what extent? What comes next? You either get stablished or you can just fuck off? I’m sorry but that’s not for me. I believe in hard work, in keep the learning process going and evolving constantly… That takes time, it’s a slow process. There’s a big bunch of people out there doing great stuff.
Anyone who’s not an artist?
Okay then, your time to kiss our asses, what’s your favourite Bacoa burger?
Oh, that’s a tough one. The one that I order the most is “La Manchega”. I also have to give some credits to “La Suiza”, mainly for its cheese and the crispy potato rösti. Talking about potatoes, your bravas guys… bravo. Trust me, this is not false flattering, with or without the fanzine, I’m a big Bacoa fan since you opened that first restaurant in Madrid.
To wrap up, can you ask something to illustrator that comes after you?
Have you been half as hungry as I’ve been collaborating with Bacoa? How many burgers did you shove in your face during the time you were illustrating for the fanzine?