Luis Prado is from Tucumán in Northwest Argentina, but now he lives in another northwestern part of a different country (Olympia, Washington in the US of A). Luis' vibrant work can be found in many CAN campaigns (including our latest, Vote The Environment), so we emailed and asked him a few questions. Read on to find insight into the mind of this amazing artist.
Please tell us how you became an artist..
There was this painting on the wall at my grandparents home that I remember drawing, I must have been five. In elementary school my classmates would ask me to draw their favorite soccer players. Eventually, I gravitated to visual communications. Thinking that fine arts may not be financially rewarding, my parents sent me to a technical high school, where I studied to become an electrician. I did make it to college though, and earned a degree in architecture from the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. A lot was happening in Argentina at that time. I worked “freelance” as a political cartoonist for the city newspaper, as well as with local TV stations.
Mies van der Rohe’s design aesthetic with extreme clarity and simplicity was a big influence: “Less is more. God is in the details.” After two years in an architecture studio, I realized visual communications was my calling. I changed gears, and looked to greater challenges. The United States attracted me, with its freedom of expression. I wanted to become an adman, like Darrin Stevens on “Bewitched.”
What’s your connection to the cause of Vote The Environment? How is this reflected in your work?
Years ago I became aware of the environment and how human activity affects it. I work as a graphic designer for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), where care for our natural resources and the environment are key. My wife is a health educator that deals with environmental health issues. She’d ask me for help on a brochure or poster, to communicate something like for example, pesticide exposure and telling Spanish-speaking farmworkers how not to bring residues home on their shoes or clothes to their family. Her work, combined with my job at DNR keeps environmental issues on my mind much of the time. In my book “Julioh, a Visual Trip” the environment is one of its main themes.
Luis' design for Vote The Environment.
Where do you get your inspiration? And what is your artistic process like?
I get inspiration everywhere I go. It’s all around us. After I get an idea, a pencil sketch comes first, then some research, finally [I go] to the drawing board. The design must be bold, well designed, with attention to detail. Visually striking, effective, fun, and original. The posters I create for CAN are executed with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
You’ve also done some work for the The Noun Project, can you briefly describe what that is and why it’s important to you?
The Noun Project’s purpose of creating, sharing and celebrating the world’s visual language for the common good caught my attention. Making icons for the project is my way of giving back to the design community and to the world. By the way, I learned about CAN through a tweet from the Noun Project.
Above: One of Luis' icon's for The Noun Project. This one is called "Museum Visit," click the image to see more of his work there. Below: his cover for "War of the Worlds" for Recovering The Classics.
What’s the benefit of having artists and designers think about bigger issues (like CAN campaigns or the Noun Project)?
The benefit is immense. CAN’s campaigns are great challenges with good causes that I love to take on. Contributing to CAN opened new doors for me through exposure to a large world audience. As an example, I recently got a poster assignment for the city of Parramatta, a major business district in the metropolitan area of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. They had seen my See America work for CAN.
Above: "Olympic National Park" for the See America project.
What are you working on these days when you’re not designing for CAN?
Graphic design for Natural Resources, freelance publication layout, icons for The Noun Project, beer label design, advertising. Whatever challenge comes up.
What have you done with the money you’ve received from CAN? If you haven’t received money, what do you plan to do with it?
When raising a family with three kids, the money goes fast. It’s all about helping them get an education. That’s extremely important to my wife and me. Pretty much everything I earn goes to that right now. I’m proud to do it, especially when I’m earning and working toward something positive like CAN.