The Liquid Vision of Alex Trochut
By: Eduardo Gion Espejo-Saavedra
Its all about the visuals for Alex Trochut. The Barcelona born, New York based artist has worked with the likes of Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones, Coca Cola, Vanity Fair, and even The Oscars. For them he brings to life visceral imagery that is both geometric and fluid to help translate their creative messages for the world. His illustrations, designs and inventive typography have won numerous awards and his has also been recognized for his work in developing the Binary Prints technique. An intuitive treatment that makes it possible to expand the realm of two-dimensional images on paper. A process through which two totally separate images can be shown on one surface that morphs from one image to the other depending on whether or not the surface is being seen with the lights on or off.
In this exclusive interview, a version of which first appeared in the pages of the 12th issue of ODDA Magazine, Trochut talks about how typography runs in his blood, the idea behind the birth of Binary Prints and why his favorite creative state is of the liquid variety.
Q: You are a graphic designer, where did you study and how does that vocation come to you?
A: I studied in Elisava, Barcelona. My interest in graphic design comes from consuming a bunch of design as a kid: stickers, skateboards, comics, cartoons, video games, records… when I was around 12 I knew that I wanted to be a graphic designer.
Q: Your grandfather was Joan Trochut, famous Catalan typographer. How does that influence?
A: There is for sure some sort of mysterious genetic memory. I never met my grandfather and I was so clueless about graphic design before starting my studies that I did not put my grandfather’s work and my career together. I was just into computers, and I didn’t see the relationship with what my grandfather, he was a painter and a printer according to my family. I still remember first week in school, few teachers noticed my surname and asked me if I was related to him, when I said he was my grandfather, they said: “no, pressure kid.”
Q: You decide to work first in Barcelona and then make the jump to the USA. Is it so?
A: I was born and raised in Barcelona, and I moved to NYC in my 30s, I didn’t really plan it, it kind of happened that way, many things were pointing in that direction.
Q: Tell us what your creation Binary Prints is.
A: Binary Prints is a technique of printing and personal project I did in 2014. The technique allows you to print two images on the same surface, one can be seen on with light, the other glows in the dark. The personal project started as a series of dual portraits of electronic music artists: one portrait for the persona, and another for the artists.
Q: Which electronic music groups were part of this project?
A: The artists involved in the project were: James Murphy, Four Tet, Caribou, Moderat, Ellen Alien, Damian Lazarus, Lucy, Acid Pauli, Rebolledo and John Talabot.
Q: With your work Liquids you work and experiment with fluids and liquids. Tell us about.
A: In 2003 I started to play with figurative illustrations made of our liquid so they had an abstract look to it. I like the sweet spot between states: solid and liquid, figurative/abstract, and readable/unreadable.
Q: You work on illustration, typography and graphic design. Why and how did you fall in love with each one of them?
A: I like to express myself with images; style is my storytelling, my content. I like to move around different disciplines and techniques in order to be able to adapt to more styles. I prefer not to have particular discipline as creative; I like the idea of being in constant crisis, trying to figure out what you can do and how to do it.
Q: You work for artists like Rolling Stones, Katy Perry, Arctic Monkeys, Disclosure or AC/DC. How do you get to work with such powerful musicians and what did you do for each one of them?
A: Sometimes it’s a gig poster, which doesn’t imply any brief or feedback, thus being just an opportunity to experiment and to work with great content coming from bands and artist you love.
In other cases, when you work on an album, I try to work as a visual actor, empathising with the musical personality and translating it into something unique.
Q: One of your most unexpected jobs was the poster and typography of the Academy Awards ceremony. Tell us about that project.
A: It was a fun and very quick job, it happened in less than two days. But that’s part of the nature of the business, the challenge is always to do the best you can with the time you have.
Q: Your personal work is fascinating; you work with different supports, for example the skatefails ceramics series… How do you get these ideas, and what are you looking for in your personal work, what inspirations or references do you have for those jobs?
A: My personal work is many times connected with the idea of transformation and transition. I aim to create a feeling of motion within an image or object.
Q: What will be the next work of Alex Trochut?
A: I want to learn more 3D. I would love to start producing physical designs and objects.