Featured Illustrator and Art Director

Alberto Miranda

June 2019

Meet Alberto Miranda a.k.a Guajiro Bampo—Illustrator and Art Director from Madrid. We chat with Alberto about how he transitioned from working in advertising to his self-taught illustration career, and we learn why he describes himself as 'Culo de mal asiento' (Ants in his pants).

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

To be sincere I didn’t study anything related to illustration, I did study, but it was a degree in Advertising. I learned everything I know by myself.

To sum it up, my family didn’t have the money to study what I wanted so I had to choose the least horrible course, so I chose Advertising. During this time I was going to college and at the same time, I started to learn how to use all the needed programs to design and to illustrate. But the truth is that it wasn’t until last year when I decided to be a full-time illustrator.

My first job was as an Art Director on a production company, yeah I made commercials for TV and internet. I tried to make this and my illustrator career coexists but it was absolutely impossible and I wasn’t happy at all, so I quit.

What's the worst design job you’ve ever had and how does that make you a better designer?

Before I started working as an illustrator I did freelance graphic designer jobs mostly and was during this period when I had one of the worst jobs I ever had. I was making this brand redesign for one company based in San Francisco, which look quite promising at the beginning, but it turned out to be a nightmare.

I think the extension of the job was like two and a half years when the initial timing was like 3 months… I don’t know, I have blurred memories of that time. Constant changes, endless versions, chaotic emails and of course, a lot of missed payments. After this, I changed my working methods completely. I developed an entirely new way of communication with the client, budgets, preferences, etc. My philosophy is that as a human being, you are obligated to make mistakes but if you repeat those same mistakes, is entirely your fault.

Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.

I like to define myself as a Persona (the Spanish word for person) because I’m really multidisciplinary. I see the things I make as an extension of myself. Kurosawa used to say: “Take 'myself', subtract 'movies', and the result is zero.” I think This definition really describes me.

I’m kind of crazy, always looking for different ways of communicating an idea in a different way than how it has been told before. I have an enormous need to create and explore every single different way to accomplish this goal. I do mostly Illustration and Graphic Design, but I’m also deeply involved in short films, music videos, advertising, comics and writing, and of course, I’m really passionate about what I do.

If I have to describe myself in one sentence it would be: Culo de mal asiento (In English: Ants in his pants) like my mother used to say.

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My philosophy is that as a human being, you are obligated to make mistakes but if you repeat those same mistakes, is entirely your fault.

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How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

Is hard to explain because this is not a science, there’s no method but I’m quite obsessed with the mental process so I tried to identify how I got here and this is what I found out.

I don’t consider myself a classic illustrator because the topics that I like the most are philosophy, sociology, and human behavior and even if you don’t think this is not very related with what I do, you’re wrong :). I developed my style because one of my main topics is consumer society and the western way of life. Graphically, what inspires me the most are things like instructions manuals or other ways of daily graphic expressions. If you check my library there are like 7 books about arts, comics (of course) and dozens of books about human behavior, philosophy and things like that.

For me is really important to say something with every idea that I have. I can’t stand aesthetics without meaning, this really pisses me off and I think that this is one of the biggest problems that we have nowadays. My advice, if you want to find your own voice, is to identify what is important to you. What do you want to express? and then, find the way to say it visually. Having a meaning makes things much easier.

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

I see myself improving little by little. Achieving small goals that I have and building brick by brick to the career I want. I don’t want to rush too much, which is quite hard because it’s really easy to get really anxious, but if I use this question to make a reflexion I have no complaints. My career is growing exponentially, I feel comfortable with what I do and I’m getting more and more opportunities.

In 12 months I would like to see myself as a better professional, more mature, with more experience and with some really cool and meaningful projects.

2019 for you in a sentence.

I don’t know how it works, but is working.

Website: guajirobampo.com

Instagram: @guajirobampo

Twitter: @guajirobampo

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