Play is a series of interviews with creative people we've come across on the web. Some are friends, some are strangers, but all are interesting.
View more of Josué's work at freshbrewedillustration.com
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Vancouver’s Josué Menjivar explores the theme of hope found and lost through stories that expose life’s underbelly through humour and tragedy.
Symbolized by a steamy cup of coffee, Fresh Brewed Illustration represents Josué’s various projects in graphic design, illustration and comics. Known for his comic book series Broken Fender, a variety of mini-comics, as well as illustrations for the Westender, Xtra, and the Georgia Straight, Josué is published by Top Shelf in the U.S. He has also been published in France, Belgium, Mexico, and Slovenia. Getting the painfully unpretentious artist to reveal himself to the public is difficult, but Mia Hansen threw him some questions...
MIA: Your work often reflects the decay and sadness of urban life. But your stories are also nostalgic and sentimental. Is this in spite of, or because of your past experiences?
JOSUÉ: Growing up in a big city (Los Angeles) just gives you lot’s of writing material.
MIA: Where else have you lived? And how autobiographical are your stories?
JOSUÉ: I’ve lived all over the United States and most of the stories start with a grain of truth with a dollop of melodrama to liven up my story.
MIA: What sort of formal training have you had?
JOSUÉ: I have no formal art training, just reading lot’s of comic books and studying what other illustrators from the past did. As for my design, I don’t see myself as a graphic designer, but my 14 years experience in the printing industry helped.
MIA: What is best and worst about collaborations and what was your most successful collaboration?
JOSUÉ: The worst kind of collaborations are when the other person does not have similar aesthetics. I’m currently working with a friend whom I trust very much, he is inking a comic strip we are doing for a newspaper.
MIA: An obvious question now – who are your favourite comic book artists?
JOSUÉ: Jack Kirby is my all time comic art God. He is a major influence. David Mazzuchelli would be next in line. I’m more influence by fine artists such as Edward Hopper, Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh.
MIA: What new directions might your stories take?
JOSUÉ: I’m trying to continue writing dramas, but I am trying to get away from the “cheesy” factor. My stories tend to be drenched in melodrama. I personally like that, but I need to change.
MIA: You are just starting your first regular newspaper comic strip. How does that differ from your current work?
JOSUÉ: With comic books, you can take as many pages as you need to form a narrative, with this comic strip I’m doing, telling a complete story in only one page has been challenging. I think it’s starting to come together though.
MIA: You said once that all of your goals have pretty much been met. Have you set any new ones recently?
JOSUÉ: I have small goals. My only goal right now is to draw in a cleaner style and to write a good story.
MIA: As a recent teacher of art (to young and old) what is the most important thing you can impart to new artists?
JOSUÉ: Observe everything and don’t be afraid to draw.
MIA: Does your work function as a form of self-therapy?
JOSUÉ: Most definitely. I would require constant therapy if not for my creative outlet.
MIA: You have the day off and $500 to spend...What do you do?
JOSUÉ: Go and spend money on music, what else?
Interview By: Mia Hansen