Illustrations by YOHANDRI JOSE CRESPO ZAPATA – Interview
Venezuelan artist Yohandri José Crespo Zapata is a completely self-taught illustrator who, according to his words, got most of his knowledge from his teacher and boyfriend Alejandro Dejay, who helped him learn new techniques and improve his strokes.
After a career in anthropology at the Central University of Venezuela, and Visual merchandising in the city of Caracas, Yohandri moved to Valencia to study Economics at the University of Carabobo. Meanwhile, he keeps developing his passion for illustration and creating beautiful pieces inspired by colors, beauty, culture and feelings.
What draws you to the picture as an art form?
For me in particular, drawing has always been a way of expressing how I feel, interpreting the things I like from my vision. There was also a time in which only through drawing I managed to somehow, let’s say “heal”, bad moods or things I could not solve immediately. I think what attracts me is to be able to give life to something, for me drawing is creating.
How would you describe your artwork?
Difficult question (hahaha). Could say that it is a result of putting love to things. I am mainly inspired by the idea of a plural world where beauty does not have a “prototype” so in my work I try to show models of different tones of skin, ethnic origins or typology of bodies, I am currently illustrating models and characters that inspire me.
I would say that my illustrations are focused on fashion, usually two-dimensional, combining a little cartoon with portrait realism using manual techniques with watercolors, wax colors, graphite pencils and then digitized with photoshop.
How does fashion influence your work?
I think that in all sense for me, fashion is not only something banal or dress of some “brand of renown”. I think fashion is stamping your vision in psyche of the collective, it is a movement, it is an idea that comes and goes or is born to stay, it is culture, it is change. I would also say that fashion would cease to exist on the day that each individual decides to shed their clothes, otherwise fashion will continue to exist as we know it.
You often create portraits of fashion models. Are the models your favorite subjects to draw?
Well, it is not always the models that inspire me, as I said at first I like to interpret things from my vision of what I believe is “beautiful” and can inspire me from color, makeup, to a feeling, even a culture. From there, I choose the model or model to portray. Currently because of the situation we are living in my country Venezuela, I have done illustrations regarding what happens or people living day by day in this country, characters that inspire me be it their struggle, their message or their work within the national territory.
Is there a model that inspires you the most?
I think I have many included in the list of favorites. In Venezuela for example I like the variety of beauties, the girls I have illustrated have been my top 5 although I have some that I like that I have not portrayed. I must confess that I love with madness models of dark skin like Adut Akech one of the models that I have illustrated the most.
What kind of projects would you like to work on in the future?
I really like collaborations with other artists, media, fashion houses or magazines. I would love to take my art to a more physical plane and therefore, I am currently working on a project of which you will find out very soon. I would like to participate in projects where I can translate my art into clothes, make books, cartoons and even advertising campaigns.
* To keep up with Yohandri’s work, follow him on Instagram.