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Paul Fuentes: Vividly Visual Designs by a Surrealist Genius

Abundance of Creativity

Paul Fuentes can do many things.  Not only was he at the helm of a design department for a monthly online magazine, he also played the drums in a band.  Then there’s photography, art, and graphic design.  The rest of us mere mortals are observing this from the sidelines and wondering: “How did one person end up with all this talent?” Having it is one thing, but utilizing all those gifts is a whole different ball game altogether.

surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
"Likenol" by Paul Fuentes

Paul followed in the footsteps of his mom and opted for studies in Graphic Design.  His dad, a musician, worked on radio and television productions and created music for commercials.  It’s easy to see how one person can grow up embracing the intricacies of design and photography while nurturing a patient, spontaneous nature from a young age. As Paul himself describes, there wasn’t a single moment in his life void of creativity.

surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
"Donut Smoke" by Paul Fuentes

New Wave of Pop Art

After graduating from a university in Mexico, Paul landed his first gig as an editor for a social magazine. After four years of hard work, he came to realize that there were more creative challenges out there that needed taking on, and eventually made his way across the Atlantic to Europe, where a new world of design and architecture unfolded. While working at a magazine, he started experimenting with Photoshop, creating various compositions, reinterpreting works of his artistic idols, which is how he discovered and started working in his current style.

“I work on the idea first. It all probably starts with an object I’m into at that particular moment, and then I always do some research, sketches, play with it for some time, and then ideas start coming. I need to have different perspectives on the object, break meanings, functions, shapes, sizes, etc.”

surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
"Pink Ocean" by Paul Fuentes

Fuentes left Europe and returned to Mexico where his new ideas coincided with the food photography trend on Instagram.  Once he unveiled the work on his account, the most natural thing happened: a slew of interview and collaboration requests, advertising proposals, and a considerable expansion on the followers front.  The work we see today is his own way of “Creating images of common food, objects, and animals in a new and twisted way,” he mentioned on his website.

surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
"Susheep" by Paul Fuentes

Paul’s work delves into relevant subject matters and blends them with refreshingly ‘camp’ pop-art elements and strong digital art influences.  There are definite nuances of minimalism and surrealism that forms part of an experimental route that Paul connects with his art.  However, when one observes his work, you are able to tell that nothing is simply just.  In his work, there is so much certainty in the understanding of an absolute compatibility between different elements and he aims to master the craft of light and shadow like his favorite artist, Caravaggio, did.

surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
"Pop Tart Pantone" by Paul Fuentes

The contemporary vibrancy in his collection of work does, to an extent, pay homage to the likes of Andy Warhol and La Chappelle, but at no point does it stray from its own path.  It captivates, holds your attention, and allows you to translate your very own conclusion and understanding.  At the same time, Paul encourages to not take things too seriously, and seek inspiration, or become its source for others.

Since Paul quit his job at the magazine, he’s more focused on the integration of animation and video in his work.  Somehow, it’s almost expected of him to take on an approach that matches the nature of his work: simple, honest, and progressive.

All images copyright of Paul Fuentes.

You can view more work by Paul Fuentes on his Instagram and website.

Article written by Wynand Conrad

surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes
surrealistic graphic design by paul fuentes

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