As part of an ongoing series of interviews, AMP recently caught up with Nico Bascuñán to find out a bit more about the artist and his work.
Artist/Illustrator and designer
Thanks for sparing the time to chat with us today. How did you initially hear about AMP?
I met AMP last year when I saw such a cool poster, I don’t remember which one but when I see your Instagram I followed it right away, cool feed!
What is your background? Did you always want to be an artist/illustrator?
I really always wanted to be an astronaut, but I was so bad at maths. Then I wanted to be an architect but I didn’t apply to the university of the city I was living, so I went to study Design and it was the best decision of all. Then I discovered that I could dedicate myself to drawing and living from it, so a couple of years ago I stopped designing and went completely into illustration.
What did you always draw as a kid?
I drew a lot of TMNT, Spawn and Star Wars. I draw for as long as I can remember, it’s the only thing I did, scratched the walls or with a sheet and a pencil I could spend all afternoon drawing and watching cartoons and playing snes.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t have a nickname for my style it’s very rare to define it, but if I could put it into words it’s a great mix of styles that I like very much: black ink in a few strokes, with a little realistic drawing but not so much; some stylish comic and limited but vibrant colors mixed with grain dots or screentones (I use them a lot).
How do you approach a project? Sketch first or straight to the computer?
I always start with an idea, in fact when they come to me unexpectedly I write it or draw it quickly wherever I want, I write it on the cell phone in the subway, sometimes I draw it on paper, but most of the time I start sketching immediately in the ipad and there I go exploring, but I always start with the concept I want to show.
Which tools/applications do you use on a daily basis?
The truth is I don’t care about the tool as long as I can do what I have in mind. In my daily work in the office, I use the cintiq of 27″ on photoshop; for the posters and illustrations you see it, I do everything in my iPad pro 12″ in Procreate. But what I love most is drawing with black ink, my favorite is the Copic Gasenfude brush-pencil on a thick paper of 250gsm or more.
Is there anything you don’t like to draw?
I love to draw everything, but if I don’t like to draw anime, although I love classic movies like Akira or Ghost in the shell, I prefer other styles. I don’t like watercolor painting either.
Which stage of your work do you enjoy the most?
What I like the most by far is the process of sketching and inking, I feel that it is where I learn the most because I am changing and refining the idea until I feel that it’s okay, because what follows is only render, more than anything to spend hours drawing and painting details, lights, shadows, is the least fun part that takes me longer. It’s a more mechanical exercise where I also learn, but much less than sketching and inking.
Do you have a piece of work you’re most proud of?
Yes! the poster of Reservoir Dogs has a story because it came to me randomly: I had a dream that I was mailing with Tarantino hahaha, I was attaching an image similar to what I did, so I send the final poster for a special edition or something like that … and I just wake up. Then I got up and started working on that piece right away.
Who would you say has been or currently is your inspiration?
Since always Picasso, Hopper, Bacon, but now that I’m more focused on illustration, I think my top is James Jean, is the most complete and impressive artist I’ve seen so far.
James Jean- Samurai
James Jean – Ama
If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be with and why?
There are so many artists that I would like to work with as in music, in books but above all, I would love to collaborate with David Lynch, PTA or Guillermo del Toro, it would be a dream to work with one of these geniuses.
Do you own any AMPs (ALTERNATIVE MOVIE POSTERS)? If so, which ones, and do you have a favourite?
Yes! I own some for my little collection: “There Will Be Blood” by Aaron Horkey, “Tree of Life” By Tomer Hanuka, “Arrival” by Kevin Tong, “The Witch” by Becky Cloonan, “Rogue One” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by Martin Ansin, “The Birds” By Ken Taylor; but my favorite by far is “The Shape of Water” by James Jean, that print is a piece of art.
What would you say are your top 3 movies and why?
I love cinema with my life, but I have my top 3 very determined: “Vertigo” is the one I love most from Hitchcock, because besides the symbolic meaning I can’t believe the colors and composition of each scene, it’s perfect in every way; “The Night of The Hunter” drives me crazy, it’s so deep it overwhelms me, the blacks and whites are the best I’ve ever seen is pure mastery of Stanley Cortez and Charles Laughton. And finally “Mulholland Drive” I think it’s the best movie of this century.
What would you say are your top 3 books/novels and why?
Top 3: I love Gaiman’s books, but my favorite is Good Omens, I had an amazing time reading it so I read it again from time to time. The second is a graphic novel that blew my mind “Juan Buscamares” of the genius Feliz Vega, I think it is at the same level of “Incal” as a masterpiece, it’s just a perfect comic. And my third book of my life is “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” because it’s a real lesson at his best science fiction + comedy done right.
Becky Cloonan – The Witch
Tomer Hanuka – Tree of Life
Any projects for 2019 you can tell us about?
I have several personal projects in mind and commissions but for now, I can not reveal anything because some of my works are under NDA, but I can tell you that you will be able to see it all over the world in the comfort of your living room and that’s more than I can say.
Do you have any projects that never saw the light of day you can share with us?
Very many! because if there is something that I don’t like I drop it and go on with another and I never show it again. For example I tried to make a poster of The Night of The Hunter but I didn’t feel like the result and I threw it away. And that’s already happened twice. Ah with Whiplash and The Exorcist I also started sketching some ideas and even started to make them but after a while, I didn’t like the ideas so much, so I deleted them.
Rejected and unused projects
What are your thoughts on alternative movie art? Is it here to stay?
I think it’s the best thing that’s happening to the industry, taking up an art that started with the cinema itself where sometimes it’s more iconic than the movie. I always believed that the movement was going to come back, that was something that could already be predicted by seeing the repetition of the commercial retouched posters (they look like templates) where you no longer wanted to go in to see a movie for the generic poster they had. I don’t know how long it will last, I would love it to last forever, but the only uncertainty that comes to mind is if the market will not be saturated in a few years in the future, so that the quality is always be high and not everyone enters to make a poster, is a profession where there are legends like Bob Peak or John Alvin, then I think we have to respect the craft, right?
Are you open to commissions at the moment?
Not for now I’m full of work until March..
Where is the best place for people to view or buy your work?
I have portfolio but it’s outdated, so I invite you to see me on instagram or twitter (@nbascunan) where I’m sharing the things I’m currently working on and drawing just for fun too.
More work from Nico
Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for the next interview.