Jorge Calderon (Starman Funk) is a multidimensional designer based in Shenzhen, China for 6 years.Early Introduced into the design world at the age of 16.
While he started with applications of classic and urban arts as one of the most prolific representatives of Ecuadorian urban art and illustration, Starman has also been winner of several local and international design awards. His MFC crew won the award as Champions Best Crew of Ecuador in 2010. In 2016 he was winner of the WayHome China.
Became in Video Game Development industry as junior designer, rapidly formed as Senior designer and promoted as Art Director At Blue Lizard Games and after passed to Karibu Games delivering international graphic content for the European, Asian and American markets.
Graduated with honors at the Technical University of Israel in Ecuador (Universidad Tecnológica Israel). Based in Shenzhen, China at present, 6 years working in the Graphic Design and Development Industries. As Art Director developed several brands for clients such as Disney, Marvel Cómics, DC, Universal Studios, Walmart, Parques Reunidos, JBL, and more.
Can you briefly describe how and when/why you decided to become involved in art?
I am Jorge Calderón, from Quito, Ecuador of South America. I have been living in Shenzhen for 5 years and I have been doing graffiti, graphic design and art since I was 4 years old. As a teenager I hung out with rappers and people from my neighborhood, and that’s how I started doing graffiti with my friends. When it came to school, I was attracted to graphic design, which is what brought me to China eventually for work. I recently had my first solo exhibition in Hong Kong and now am working on a series of pieces with a new style, which I am very excited about.
How would you describe your style?
My message is always symbolic. I like people stay thinking about them for a while. We are here in a big city, right now, where stories are occurring around us. Many stories… like love stories, sad stories, the purchase of happiness. For example, I found my wife here in this city. So, in one of my canvases, you can see this story depicted – there are two people in the middle of the chaos of the city.
I believe in technology as an enabling tool for being more human. I think Shenzhen’s maker culture helps to facilitate the creator of each person and this is what I try to express in my work. Also, I try to imagine how the Asian cityscape (metal glass and concrete) would look painted with the vibrant chromatics of South America, is an interesting fusion.
Which artists, or types of art, inspire you?
My father was an architect, so as a kid I would watch him working on his plans while at home. My mother was a teacher of kindergarten so she was also always bringing arts and crafts projects home. The local government was extremely supportive and offered classes for teens during the summer and I began oil painting with the Quito House of Culture at 16 years old, the rest was self-thought.
What is the most difficult thing about being an artist?
The skepticism, Society knows that living as an artist is hard, and for some relatives is not considered as a job unless you are very successful, and for to get the respect you have to prove it constantly, for most artist to reach that moment requires years of consistency, is a job where only the braves survive, on top of skills you need a lot of self-confidence and a tunnel vision.
What recommendations do you have for young or aspiring artists, based on your experience?
If you want to be an artist be critical of your skills in the first instance if you can believe in yourself the public will do too. Even if takes 20 years. Practice a lot and develop your skills daily, in a world of modern technologies start first by the hard way to be solid along the times.
Experiences at JO?
When you are here, you are sharing with others like you. Right now I am with Peeta, one of my idols as a kid, Belin is a worldwide respected artist for his hyperrealism using a spray can only. Ceet is a graffiti art veteran, I’m surrounded by legends of the street and art, and being here, I’ve learned to really appreciate my role in South American street art history. Having them around, it makes you very humble and receptive to new ideas. It forces you to explore more, to be more compromised with the arts. “Concrete Cities” is a difficult project for the fact that I am trying to make modular and 3D objects and shapes drawing lines by freehand using flat surfaces to make the elements more bright and expressive. The applications and techniques required are very difficult, but this gives the work a deep meaning. When you can stand in front of a canvas and appreciate that time and energy given to a work. That spirit of “joy in the middle of the city”, that will minister you.
Art is important in my life because it gives me a better understanding of who I am and is a part of my identity. Art is an expression of the identity of any group of people where it is expressed. I hope that my art can help to form the identity of current life in Shenzhen. Art gives people a visual identifier of the moment, where they are in life. It offers to be a window into your own creative spirit. It serves to inspire.
This interview is originally posted in Jardin Orange’s wechat public account.
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