Computer Arts: Tell us about the ideas behind the project? What was your brief?
Eduardo Fuentes: Ghosts of Gone Birds is an annual environmentalist project, its aim is to raise awareness of the many species of birds we have lost. Each artist is given a list of the many extinct species and has to choose one (or more) and create an artistic representation of that bird – which sometimes is not easy because there is not much information on it, let alone photographs!
I chose these three Hawaiian birds because of their colourful plumage and because I wanted to portray their habitats and the reason for their destruction – disease carried by mosquitoes, agriculture, predation by cats and rats, pineapple plantations and the introduction of grazing mammals. I made a high-quality limited edition of 20 prints for each image.
CA: What was your creative process? Was there anything particularly challenging about the project?
EF: I usually draw some pencil sketches but as soon as I get the basic idea I grab my Wacom and start laying out forms in Adobe Illustrator. I'm a bit impatient in the early stages so I don't spend more than one day before going digital. Then I can play and rearrange and experiment for hours!
In this case I spent many hours choosing the right colour palettes. I tried quite a few but felt that this was essential. The finishing touches were added in Photoshop; some textures and hand-drawn details to take the edge off the cold vectors. I had the three pictures done in a week.
CA: How did you get into design? How would you describe your style?
EF: I've been drawing since before I can remember so studying illustration was a natural step for me. Shortly after graduating I became a freelance illustrator. My style… I try to find the perfect balance between vector and texture, between a good plan and a happy accident.
CA: Who or what influences and inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
EF: Old maps, Japanese woodblock prints, Wired infographics, the art of Olaf Hajek... Anything really. What inspires me? I'm absolutely sure that science will soon discover that ideas are embedded inside coffee beans. At least I had my best ones while drinking a decent cuppa.