Leonardo Floresvillar is an illustrator with a highly distinctive flair. Subdued grey tones with washings of vibrant hues create aesthetically beautiful, iconic images. From Rihanna, to Lindsey Wixson, to Piere Hardy- all have received the Floresvillar treatment. Largely self-taught, with an already remarkable career; the young Mexican artist is about to release his first illustrative book. Chasseur Magazine sat down with him to find out about the man behind the brush strokes.
What three words would you use to describe your personal illustrative style?
Decadent, empty and shallow
You used to draw Manga comic strips as a youngster. Do you think there is a correlation between the style of Manga and fashion illustration?
They are completely different styles, and they have completely different purposes, Manga is intended to have a narrative taking it to the exaggeration of proportions whereas fashion illustration can be either realistic or a stylized disproportion with a goal of celebrating beauty. To me they belong to very different worlds.
As a self taught illustrator, what do you think are the benefits of learning on your own accord rather than receiving formal education?
I don’t think that formal education is for everyone, especially in art-related careers. In universities you are not taught style or aesthetic definition. You are only taught theory and technique which are also important but can be learnt in a wide range of places. What is art? Who has the right to tell you if what you are doing deserves to be considered art or not? To me being an artist means being able to express ones feelings and emotions through a media, and that shouldn’t need validation of any professional title.
Being self taught has given me the opportunity to focus on developing a personal style, learning through experiences and mistakes, and finding an authentic way to be successful without stepping on my principles, furthermore, I think I’ve gain more personal and professional growth by staying out of school than what I would have obtained in any university.
At what point did you first feel you’d ‘made it’ as an illustrator?
Actually, Illustration has never been something that I’ve tried to pursue professionally, it’s always been something I’ve done on the side – which I really enjoy. We live in a world where art doesn’t mean anything without an audience’s appreciation, and when I started to get published in diverse international magazines I felt like that part of my work had been socially validated. But a personal validation is something that will never be fulfilled, everything is perfectible, and style is something that keeps changing and evolving, so I think that a designer’s job is to never remain stagnant nor conform with one’s work. Just have transitory satisfaction.
You’re known for drawing ‘good looking’ people. What in your opinion makes a beautiful person?
I strongly believe that oneself’s beauty is not entirely related to a stereotyped physical appearance, but in each person’s approach to life. Beauty is a matter of attitude and passion, and of course some stinginess in the proportion.
What are your three main sources of inspiration?
My obsessions, pain and fear.
You have a new book coming out, which is a compilation of all your best illustrative works. What’s the significance of the title ‘They Left’?
Taste, talent, passion… are the main things that give us a different human condition, those are the things that make us stand out from a gray social stain and end up giving some meaning to life and a reason to be living. The ability of not being comfortable with a prefabricated dynamic, the ability to not just exist. “They Left” is a celebration and endorsement of talent, beauty and sophistication. It is a collection of people who have managed to transcend the dull, the insipid and the absurd. They’re artists, designers, directors, and people mainly in the creative industry that have left a world of gray to create a more colorful universe.