The Hispanic/Latinx community finds strength in their similarities as well as their differences. In honor of Hispanic/Latinx heritage month, we’re sharing stories of community members who have used their voice to advocate for visibility, change, and representation of every identity.
Mexico City based artist Raúl Urias discovered his passion for creating art at a young age. Now, as a professional illustrator and visual artist, he feels inspired by his identity and cultural background as he creates original pieces for a number of big name brands. We spoke to the artist about his work, his style, and his creative process.
SQUARESPACE: When did you first start creating art? What drew you to illustration over other mediums?
Raúl Urias: I have always drawn since I was little, but unlike other children I never stopped doing it. It always caught my attention that you can create wherever you are, you only need a pencil and a table. This idea grew in me until I wanted to be a comic artist, but entering university I discovered illustration and I totally fell in love with this profession.
SQSP: When it comes to your own creative process, how do you typically begin a new project?
RU: Over the years I have been refining my process, but basically it is to understand well the subject that I am going to illustrate. I try to read in-depth and understand it, then comes the visual part to complement the concept. I look for many, many references of photos, sculptures, documents. Finally, I create a large mood board to have all the references of what to illustrate. Illustrating as such is the fastest because my style is defined and the way to solve graphically I have it very solid; this process is repeated over and over again.
SQSP: How does your heritage and your identity influence your work, if at all?
RU: Very much, I believe that the identity of an artist is determined by his context from where he grew up, his cultural background and what each person consumes. So even if you consume the same references as someone from another country, your result will be unique, because of your context.
In my case, being Mexican defines me a lot because I try to be influenced by many icons who lived many years ago and did what I did, I like to think that I take old things back and bring them to modernity.
SQSP: You’ve done a ton of work for a number of different brands. How do you incorporate your own personal style and taste into a piece of branded artwork?
RU: Style is the way of doing things, it is your process and into that you assimilate concepts and transfer them to a graphic solution. For me it is very enriching because with my style I can say many things because all the briefs are different.
SQSP: What do you hope people take away after viewing your work?
RU: That it has the effective impact that the client needs — that [viewers] are curious to know more about what they are seeing and it encourages them to know about the product in question. My work is like an invitation to enter. I also like to know that many people already know my style and recognize it and consume things that I do for the same.