Hey everyone, I hope all of you are having a wonderful time and holidays! The interview of the month is with one of my favourite illustrators: Giselfust. Enjoy the reading!
I’m curious to know where the name Giselfust comes from? Does it have a story?
My artistic name is a mix of my first name, Gisela, and my middle name, Fuster. When I was 15, I danced in an amateur dance company and we all jokingly chose an artistic name claiming our mothers’ last name. So that’s how it all started, as a joke and in the end, I kept it.
Do you remember how was your first contact with art?
My first contact with art was very very early. I have always drawn, and it attracted my attention a lot the way others drew. So, when I was very little I was interested in painting and drawing.
When you knew that you wanted to be an artist?
I always wanted to be an artist, always. Since I was little, I knew that I would dedicate myself to this. Or at least I knew I had to try.
Who encouraged you to pursue an artistic career?
My family was always and is by my side, my parents have never doubted that studying fine arts was ideal for me. At my house we never talk of another possibility. I have always been very forceful with my desires; I have been very hard-working in my studies and both my degree, and my postgraduate degrees have always been in the line of exploring artistic paths.
What artists inspired you when you were young? And today?
When I was very little, I was in awe of Velázquez, Goya and Caravaggio as classics, or Klimt and Schiele. I guess due to my visits to museums, or the books that were at home. Later, I was curious about female references, and I fell in love with the surrealism of Frida Kahlo and the glamour of Tamara de Lempicka. When I was older and dedicating myself to illustration, I pay much more attention to illustrators, both male and female, that I love, such as David De la Heras, Daniel Torrent, Cinta Vidal, Quentin Greban, Helena Odriozola, Sonia Pulido, Carmen Garcia Huerta among many others.
Where have you studied art?
I studied fine arts in Barcelona, then I studied a postgraduate course in documentary filmmaking and directing at the Catalan Film School and then another postgraduate degree in illustration at Eina (Barcelona).
I know that you were an art teacher, how this experience influenced your career as an artist?
I was a high school teacher for 6 years, and before that I was a painting teacher at an academy. Teaching art opens your mind, you try to understand the interpretation of each one of your students and you give value to subjectivity. Understanding the creative universe of each person and entering it to teach them from there is very rewarding.
When you started to get interested in illustration?
I have always liked to draw more than any other artistic discipline, but I began to dedicate myself professionally just over 5 years ago.
How did you start illustrating books?
The first books I self-published with a friend, and a year later I appeared at an illustration festival in Barcelona. There, I was selected for my portfolio, and I did many interviews with agencies and publishers. Months later I signed with the agency that represents me in the publishing world and I started illustrating books.
Do you prefer to illustrate children’s or adult books?
At first, I was very interested in the world of children, but now I feel more comfortable illustrating for adults. I feel that I communicate better with people my age, that they have the same concerns and that we share an imaginary.
In your illustrations we can see that you explore a dream world, almost surrealistic… where does the inspiration to create it come from?
My inspiration is always a combination of the classic images that I know, current feelings, desires, and a story that has coherence, not only visual, but also conceptual. And above all, a feminist line of work. My work always has a claim, vindicate women, value them, visualise and honour them.
What are currently working on?
I am working on two books for a publisher and on a personal project, in which I draw and write. It is an illustrated biography of an artist that I deeply admire, and that art history has been unfair to her. I feel the obligation to share it
Can we expect an exhibition of your work soon?
I haven’t done any exhibitions in a long time, and I want to do one. This year I don’t have plans, but maybe next year it will be one of my priorities.
Did the pandemic affect your work? If yes, how?
The pandemic has totally influenced my work. On the one hand I started to explore emotional feelings, I have had a horrible year. I have lost relatives due to COVID, a friend from another disease, I have had a very large operation and that has led me to search for the opposite at my work. I try to explore more joyful formulas to compensate for so much pain. Work is always an absolute reflection of the state of mind, so everything that happens to us influences us.
For further information on Giselfust’s work:
All the images were kindly provided by the artist.