Interview: Brosmind

Brosmind is an illustration studio based in Barcelona, run by brothers Alejandro and Juan Mingarro.

As kids, they spent their time drawing comics, building vehicles for their toys and making home movies with a home camcorder, before launching their own studio in 2006. Today their output is described as fresh and optimistic, combining fantasy and humour with their distinctive characters.
Known for their commercial illustration work which has gained them a steady stream of advertising clients, they also dedicate time to developing their style through personal projects. We sat down with Alejandro earlier this week to discuss their latest projects, their working relationship  and the five things they just can’t live without…

How are you?

We are great. We just came from a little holiday break.

So tell us about your creative output. Some might say it’s quite experimental…

We would not define it as experimental, but just the natural way we have to create together. As we are brothers, this is the result of more than 30 years sharing ideas and experiences together.

Aside from your commercial work you undertake a lot of personal projects – tell us more about Brosmind RV, Brosmind Wagon and ‘What’s Inside’? How did these ideas evolve – what was the driving force behind them? Do you find personal projects more rewarding / fulfilling than commercial work?

When you work for a client, even if it’s asking for the Brosmind style, you still have to work for their needs, so at the end it’s a job that you are paid for. The personal projects are the perfect balance for the commercial work in our studio.  In them, we don’t have to fit to any briefing, we are totally free to develope what we want, in terms of concep, aesthetics, technique, media… in them is where you can really see the true side of the artist.

Our Brosmind Universe is alot more than just illustration, even though we do a lot of it, and whenever we have the opportunity we always try to bring our ideas to other media, like sculptures, videos, music… and why not – pedal cars. Clients don’t often ask for that kind of artwork, probably because they can’t imagine you are able to develop it. Many of these artworks are things that we have always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity, the skills or the means to make them.

For us, each new personal project we are able to finish is a personal success – a dream come true.

As kids, we were already a creative couple, and spent our time doing comics, models and vehicles for our toys and movies with a domestic camcorder

How did your style evolve? When did you first discover that you worked well together?

As kids, we already where a creative couple, and spend our time doing comics, models and vehicles for our toys and movies with a domestic camcorder, but at that time we never though that one day we would be able to work from our creativity. Years later, we discover the world of design and finally manage to create an studio together.

Although we think in a very similar way, our drawing styles were different. Now we can draw in exactly the same style, and nobody will notice the difference – nor us.

It was in 2007 when we start doing some illustration works in common, and that’s when the Brosmind style was born. It happened in a natural way, due to working in the same sheet of paper, learning the best tricks and skills from the other. Actually, we can draw exactly in the same style, and nobody will notice the difference, neither us.

If you were a piece of fruit what would you be and why?

We would be two bananas. It’s our favourite fruit to draw.

List 5 objects you can’t live without?

Smartphone, laptop, television, wristwatch, and glasses to see all of them properly.

Describe your working process? How do you split / share the work load?

All the creative decisions are made by the two of us. As we developed the same drawing style, we do the pencil drawing together, passing the sheet of paper from one to another depending on our inspiration. We think in a very similar way, so it’s very easy for us to share ideas and concepts. When the original pencil drawing is finished (which is the hardest and the most time consuming part), we divide our task. Juan does the inking in the light table, and then I scan the drawing and add the color with the computer. We never vectorize the line, cause we like to keep the hand-drawing feeling. Our final archives are always bitmaps.

When you’re not working, whats your favourite way to spend the day?

We like to relax and have nice moments with our families. That includes traveling, watching movies, reading… or just lie down on the sofa.

Where do you like to hang out in London?

Last time we were there we had a lot of fun in Shoreditch.

How long have you been in your current studio? Where did you work when you first started?

When we founded the studio, we start working in an empty room of Juan’s apartment. Several months later, we could afford to pay the rent of our first studio, a very tiny office close to the city harbor. Our current headquarters are located in Barcelona, on the eighth floor of the unique DAVID BUILDING, a real find in this neighbourhood near the uptown area. We have been there for the last 5 years.

Despite its neoclassical exterior appearance, this enormous concrete hive conceals on the inside a huge supermarket, an old shopping arcade, a luxury gym, a multi-storey car park and even a hostess club. Leaving aside the peculiarity of the setting, for us it is an ideal workspace: a perfect hybrid between a garage and a design studio; high ceilings, lots of light and a special energy that invites creativity.

How often do you get to travel to other cities / countries for work, speaking events etc?

We started to give conferences three years ago. At the beginning, as it was a new thing to us, we were very excited and accepted most of the invitations, so we traveled a lot. Nowadays, we take it more calmly, and try to be a bit more selective of the places we go, by looking at the quality of the festival or the interest of the city for us. This is also influenced by the fact that the two of us have recently had children.

Can you tell us anything about the projects you’re currently working on / or have got coming up?

We are currently working in various projects at the same time. Our favourites are creation of a visual universe full of characters for the image of a new restaurant chain and the design of the label of a bottle of beer. Also, we have been working in a very nice book compiling all our work, which will be launched in November 2014.

What do you love most about collaborating with each other? What is the most challenging aspect of it? Do you have annoy each other?

The coolest thing about working with your brother is that you have a lot of things in common, you share the same background, so communication between us is really fast. That brotherhood makes our comments really sincere, so our criticism with the other work is really hard. That’s a good thing, because it forces us to take our creations to the next level. We constantly have really big arguments, then become friends again after 5 minutes.

Highlights of the last 12 months?

We did some cool campaigns for clients like Coca-cola, IKEA, Gillette… developed a whole deck of cards for Bicycle, designed a pair of sunglasses for Colab, did a retrospective exhibition of all our work in a contemporary arts center, designed a huge collection of 1000 emojis for LINE, and a ’20 things that happened in the internet’ poster for Syzygy amongst other projects. We also gave talks at conferences in Copenhagen, Montreal and Munich. It’s been a really prolific year.

So, what’s next? Where do you see your work taking you in the next decade?  Do you have specific projects and collaborations in mind?

It’s really difficult to make that kind of prediction. For example, seven years ago, we never had expected to specialise in illustration as we have done. We like to try a lot of different fields and media, so we are constantly opening the door to different possibilities for the future. Anything could happen.



Posted on Aug 26th, 14 by | Twitter: @lisahassell

Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words regularly appear in Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.

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