Adapting to the new territories of contemporary art
When Javier Calleja and Alicia Mármol asked us to develop this project, we considered it an ideal opportunity to transfer Javier’s artistic world to a much more rational and functional design plane. The project in question was Calleja Studio, the company that would be responsible for managing and administering Javier’s work, and was not related to his artistic creation as such.
Javier Calleja is currently one of Spain’s most globally renowned artists. Our relationship dates back to the time when the “Shoeciety” and “Refugio de Monos” galleries were providing Malaga with a cultural offering that was entirely ahead of its time. It was in one of these spaces that we first saw an exhibition of Javier’s work. Since then we have watched him evolve and collaborated with him on numerous occasions.
His style is naive and biting, sarcastic and tender; his characters are vibrant and colorful, often playing and interacting with their surroundings. Under that innocent exterior there is always a deeper layer – a critical gaze that makes the viewer reflect and smile at the same time.
From the artist as a creator
to the artist as a business
The challenge laid in reinterpreting his work in the tone of corporate visual identity, synthesizing and extracting elements while trying to move away from a more obvious, literal representation.
We began by identifying the aspects of his work that could serve as a reference: the use of colors, symbols, messages, and so on. From there, we went deeper until we were left with the bare minimum that would allow us to construct a visual discourse in keeping with his style. From the beginning we played with duality as the core concept underpinning the artist’s identity; we wanted that constant dialogue (between creation and management, the informal and the formal, the work and the space, the creator and the receiver) to be apparent.
Calligraphy has a strong presence in all of Javier’s work, and we kept this in mind when selecting a font that would capture the structure and personality of his own handwriting. The solution we found did so, and also reflected the duality we had used as a springboard for the brand’s identity.
The Mabry family is a sans-serif font developed by Colophon. It had a certain formal and expressive similarity to Javier’s handwriting. Based on the grotesque typographies of the 19th century, it posits itself at once as contemporary and historical, rigorous and gestural, objective and subjective, cultivated and imprecise, refined and coarse.
The artist’s own language as protagonist
Once the logotype was decided, we developed a visual system by transforming elements present in Javier’s work into graphic resources. We thus reflected the artist’s personal and recognizable language while simultaneously imprinting his formal/informal duality on the brand. We proposed a versatile, fun system that would allow us to highlight the author’s constant playful interaction with the environment, with the medium itself and with the receiver.