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3D artist and illustrator Francisco Cortés combines a background in industrial design with his passion for illustration in a geometric-poetic aesthetic with touches of minimalism. He studied in Mexico and Australia, published his works in commercial magazines, received awards, and exhibited in art galleries. Cortés plays with shapes and colors, mundane products, and whimsical castles. His 3D illustrations are unexpected and meditative, playful and personal.
Read on to uncover a poet, a designer, and an artist. The poetry of shape, the practicality of geometry, and the playfulness of life are just a few of the many stories Francisco Cortés has to tell.
How would you describe your aesthetic, and when did you realize you found it?
I try to create images that evoke a clear, clean, and even poetic atmosphere. I have discovered that geometric and abstract figures provoke these sensations in me, and that is why I use them in my compositions. It is a geometric-poetic aesthetic, in which the image not only serves to communicate but also to meditate on it.
At one point in my career, I decided to combine my experience as an industrial designer with my knowledge in illustration, and I think that this triggered a very interesting aesthetic. However, I am still searching for a definitive aesthetic discourse.
I would like to evolve towards minimalism and pure abstraction, in which the forms, the space, the silence, and the “breathing” of the composition provoke an explosion of meanings, as happens in poetry.
How do you develop a creative idea? Do you plan out your creative process or go with the flow?
I do have a process, very analytical by the way, in which I research, look for references, sketch ideas, and finally develop different versions of images until one convinces me enough. But still, there are times when the process completely fails. So I trust my intuition, go with the flow, and try to find inspiration in places I haven’t looked. There are times when going for a run, playing the piano, watching a movie, or listening to loud music have been part of the process. Each project is very different and particular, and that the way to approach it will depend on its specific characteristics.
What is a favorite piece or project of yours, and why?
I had never asked myself that. I think that the House of the Poet is very special for me because it has helped me to “open several doors” and to have more diffusion, in addition to combining different areas that I love: architecture, poetry/literature, narrative illustration, geometry, and 3D art. It is a personal project that arose from reading the book “The Poetics of Space” by Gastón Bachelard. Using metaphors, in one paragraph, he describes what it would be like to live within words and language: etymologies would be found in the basement, while symbols and the abstract would live in the attic. On the ground floor and through the front door, everyday words will come out. Thus, the work of the true poet will be to go up and down the house to unite the terrestrial and the aerial inside the language…
What have been the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your artistic journey thus far?
When I started publishing for magazines, developing 3D illustrations for interior articles, or developing the cover. One day, I bought several magazines focused on different areas, but with a visual language in which I felt that my style of illustration could fit. I emailed the art directors with my portfolio, and luckily (although six months later), I got good responses with invitations to collaborate.
The challenge for me was learning to work in a totally new environment, with different topics, from collaborative robots to financial and banking studies. And the most rewarding part: seeing my work in print with the possibility of reaching a large number of places.
What are you currently working on?
For the last few months, I have been preparing an online 3D illustration course for a well-known platform, which contacted me at the precise moment in which for global reasons, I decided to postpone my plan to study a Master in 3D Illustration & animation in Barcelona. So some plans will not turn out as I expected, but on the other hand, I feel fortunate to undertake new interesting projects.
Regarding the course, we are in the pre-production phase, and I hope that in the next three months it will be available online worldwide. I will teach my own process in creating 3D illustrations and will give various technical and creative tips on the subject. Alternatively, when I have free time, I continue to explore new personal projects and to learn from other online courses that will surely complement my future work.
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Intro written by Monica Radulescu