We delve into the work and studio of Javier Casas (aka Moscko)
A self-described visual dreamer, Columbia based Moscko balances a life of creating whimsical graphic artworks, Capoeira, and changing lives through art.
Javier, tell us a little about your creative journey…
Well, my name is Javier Casas, though my friends call me “Moscko”. I’m originally from Bogota, Colombia, where I studied Graphic Design. During my childhood I was surrounded by art, and always remember drawing. Thankfully I never lost the habit of sketching and drawing. Academically it was clear early on that I had a particular interest in illustration as a visual language, and was lucky enough to meet and work with the great Colombian illustrator Kal (www.andreskal.com); a master – in my opinion – who inspired me to search for my own aesthetic and style, and understand illustration as an art form in its own right.
I think of myself as a creator of visual dreams. Since 2010 I have been working in my own studio developing design strategies, illustrations, and paintings for international companies, agencies, magazines, and video games.
What is it like living and working in Bogota?
Bogota is huge city, and as the Latin American capital it has an inherently diverse culture, rich in colours, sounds, and smells. It’s an amazingly vibrant city that really gets a hold of you; it permeates you creatively, nourishing and enriching who you are and what you do. The diverse community of illustrators and designers of which I am a part, is increasingly connected and committed to nurturing the growth and place of the visual arts in society.
How has your visual identity evolved?
Everything is a constantly evolving. It’s a constant game of experimentation, growth and ideas. For me the concept of identity is something that is never static; you have to allow yourself the possibility of moving on, rejecting some things, and accepting the nature of change. That said, I’ve recently found that I’m being more and more consistent.
What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Apart from the usual, watching movies, finding new music, or just enjoying time with my wife and dog….I’m a bit of a geek. I spend a fair amount of time on the internet looking at geeky things around design and tech. I also practice Capoeira, and have been for more than 15 years. I’m currently an instructor, which I really enjoy.
For me it’s important not just to look…but to realise things. Realise what is happening around us, understanding and celebrating it.
I also enjoy sharing my professional knowledge with young people in universities, schools, and children from communities at risk. I find participating in social projects really rewarding. Right now I’m working with people with cognitive disabilities through Capoeira and art. I’m a sensitive, passionate person. I try to take life as it comes, with all of its joys, sorrows, pains and flavours. I try and channel such emotions and experiences back in to my work.
If you had an unlimited budget and time what would your dream project look like?
I would love to travel the world, sharing my work and skills with different communities and cultures, creating social art projects and initiatives. I’d make murals and illustrations, capturing reflections of the people and places I visit. I’d document everything! Compile it all into a transmedia project, inviting local artists to enrich the experience. I’ve also dreamt about the idea of making an end-to-end mural on the Great Wall of China…but I don’t think I’d get away with it!
Describe your workspace for our readers. Do you collect any interesting ephemera?
My studio is close to the cultural centre of Bogota, so I’m surrounded by museums and galleries, and close to a nice park. It has great natural light which means I can have some plants. I have a space that I call “El altar” where I keep a variety of things that interest me; a painted ceramic skull, a road sign, wooden cars made by my father, stones that I have collected on certain trips, among other things. On my desk I have various action figures, pencils, sketchbooks, laptop, a Wacom tablet, and a place reserved for painting.
List the 3-4 most read and treasured books on your bookshelf
‘Opium In The Clouds’ by Rafael Chaparro Madiedo (a Colombian author), ‘Short History of Decay’ by Emile Cioran, ‘Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame’ by Charles Bukoski, ‘Watchmen’ by Alan Moore and ‘The little flower King’ by Kvta Pacovská
What’s in your creative toolkit made up of?
When I write and and sketch I prefer to use pens / pencils on paper. Music is hugely important to me, so a good sound system or headphones is a must. I often use a scanner to digitize drawings, previous analogue images and textures, and so obviously a good laptop is essential, as is my Wacom Tablet. Digitally I love playing with programs like Corel Painter, Groboto, though I tend to finish everything in Photoshop. I also enjoy using traditional art materials such as charcoals, graphite, brushes, rags, solvents, oil paintings, watercolours, inks etc. Sometimes I just need collage. I’ve been collecting magazines and books for years.
What can you tell us about what you’re currently working on?
I’m currently working with a friend on a design proposal for products that may go in the tourist shop of the National Natural Park of Chingaza, here in Colombia. We’re creating illustrations of the most representative native species, which will appear on T-shirts, hoodies, caps, etc. The idea is to use species of cultural importance, that inhabit the park, and have them feature on products that promote the preservation of its biodiversity. It’s a really interesting project, allowing us to explore a scientific illustration style, transforming it into attractive and vibrant designs, and experimenting with graphic styles while learning about my country’s biodiversity.