With an unpretentious view of creative work, the pieces by Díaz-Faes immerse us in multiple stories full of characters which he brings to life using his unique visual language, characterised by busy patterns, lines and geometric patterns.
Born in Oviedo, in the north of Spain, Juan Díaz-Faes spent his childhood drawing before studying fine arts at the University of Salamanca, and, later, working in the fields of graphic design, illustration and murals. Since 2017, he has produced large-scale murals for cities such as Paris, Miami, Austin, Guangzhou (China), Punta del Este, Hamburg, Seoul, Madrid, and Santander.
Díaz-Faes has had solo exhibitions at the Point Éphémére centre in Paris and the Centro Cultural Conde Duque in Madrid. He has also taken part in collective exhibitions at 3 Punts (Barcelona) and the Hyundai Museum in Seoul. Additionally, his work is part of the permanent collection and several temporary exhibits at the museum of the Colección SOLO (Madrid). In parallel to his career as an artist, Juan Díaz-Faes has worked extensively as an illustrator for media outlets such as El País, Yorokobu, and Ling, as well as collaborating with brands such as Coca-Cola, Ikea, and Vodafone, among other brands.
Mr. Díaz-Faes, your work is known for its intricate patterns and geometric lines. Can you share with us how you developed this unique visual language and what inspires your signature style?
I worked many years creating patterns for various types of projects, such as textile, editorial, and advertising. That's where I learned to think in a complex, visual way. I have a great fondness for "horror vacui," so patterns are perfect for filling every possible space.
You've mentioned that you aim to create pieces that give off good vibes. Could you elaborate on what 'good vibes' mean to you, and how you incorporate this ethos into your creative process?
I'm a very cheerful and optimistic person, and I want that quality to shine through in my work. I believe it's essential for our daily lives to have the energy and enthusiasm to grow as individuals and as a society. If we constantly focus on the negative (wars, politics, personal problems), we have less capacity to react than if we concentrate on the positive. We all have good and bad contexts around us; it's just a matter of focusing on the good things that surround us. Those are the sensations and stories I try to convey in my work.
Having created large-scale murals in cities worldwide, from Paris to Guangzhou, how do you feel the cultural and urban landscapes of these places influence and resonate within your work?
We live in cities filled with visual information (especially cities like Tokyo), so we often forget that we can also enjoy visual urban pieces that remind us that not everything is advertising or information; there's also room for dreaming, for seeing a mural and working our imagination, thinking about what the artist meant with that wall, what story it tells, how it functions next to a brick wall... for me, it's crucial to integrate walls into the urban context without invading or being too aggressive. I like them to be surprises for the viewer who looks up from their phone and discovers them. I believe art doesn't have to be confined to museums for more people to discover that they might genuinely like it.
Throughout your career, you have worked with various mediums, from wood to clay. How do you decide which medium best suits the narrative or concept you wish to convey in a new piece?
In my creative process, I like the medium to tell a story. Let the material guide me in what to do with it. Like in a mural, I intend to intervene as little as possible to not be invasive. If I find beautiful wood, I draw very little to preserve its natural beauty. If an old piece of paper already tells stories on its own, I just provide a point of attention so that someone else can realize that there was something interesting there. I enjoy experimenting with various mediums to keep myself engaged and, therefore, to keep the viewer engaged. Having fun is part of my creative process, which is why I like to try many different techniques and mediums.
You've had the opportunity to collaborate with major brands and media outlets, as well as exhibit in prestigious galleries. How do you balance commercial projects with personal artistic pursuits, and how do they feed into each other?
Just as with materials, working on different styles of projects is very enriching for me. I like to feel what it's like to prepare an exhibition in Japan, create an image for a beverage, organize an exhibition in South America, design an advertising sculpture, create a textile pattern, paint a personal commission, or make an image that works on a skateboard... any different project makes me think differently, and that's very enjoyable and enriching for my work.
UNO, your exhibition at the Mitsukoshi Contemporary Gallery in Tokyo, is a significant collection of nearly 50 works. Can you tell us about the journey of curating this exhibition and how it reflects the essence of your career so far?
In the UNO exhibition, there are two main paths; on one hand, I wanted to introduce my work and what I'm currently working on to a new audience for me (the Japanese). So, I brought new pieces I'm currently working on and works that I believe represent a bit of who I am and my journey. On the other hand, I also made an effort to create pieces that relate to Japanese culture. Graphic references where I intersect with that culture, influences or works that I think a person from Japan might understand better than someone from Spain, for example. These adaptation games also interest me a lot. So, I hope I succeeded (I'm sure I also made mistakes, hahaga) with my first exhibition in Japan.
DIAZ-FAES UNO-Juan Díaz-Faes
Photos: Juan Díaz-Faes