CF: Tell us about yourself; who is Natural Values?
My name is Ricardo Vázquez Ortega, born 1984 in Mexico City, where I still live. I studied design & visual communication at “Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, UNAM”, where I specialized in editorial design & semiotics.
Natural Values is a concept that stems from the decontextualization of commonly used objects; giving them extra value and thus changing their meaning. I love the works of Maya Hayuk, Stefan Sagmeister and Alejandro Magallanes. Illustration books, blogs, dancing while I work, and cats are my favorite things.
CF: Where does your inspiration come from? most of your work is centered around animal figures and has a very autochthonous feel to it, why is that?
It comes from contemplating nature and objects in their natural state of being. I feel a great affection for the animal species; due to their complexity, it’s easy for the human mind to create provocative pieces using that as a source of inspiration. I believe the greatest works of art, whether plastic, literature, or film, are those which are closest to our reality.
CF: You have collaborated with urban outfitters on their print shop project; how did that come about? How was the experience of working with such an important client?
I’m part of Society 6, which is a platform for artists & illustrators. Part of its dynamic is to work on collaborations with brands such as iDN, MTV, Vans, etc. With Urban Outfitters, there were 338 studios in the contest, out of which only 5 were selected for production. It was really gratifying to work with UO on their “Secret Places Collection”, they are honestly very cool. They were always watching out for us and being very communicative throughout the different stages of the project.
“ILLUSTRATION BOOKS, BLOGS, DANCING WHILE I WORK, AND CATS ARE MY FAVORITE THINGS”
CF: If you could soundtrack your work, what would you choose?
The Knife – Bird; Felix Kubin – Hotel Supernova; Fever Ray – Seven; Crystal Castles – Crimewave; The Droids – The Force; Moderat – A New Error; Vive La Fête – Maquillage; Adult – Good Deeds
All of these incorporate mysticism & ambience created by the way the instruments and vocals are applied. This sort of atmosphere is what I look to impose on my graphic work.
CF: what is your favorite thing about Mexico DF?
Its contrasts! In Mexico City you can find anything and everything for anyone, or as the expression goes: “hay de chile, mole y pozole”. Mexico is a great design portal, where both traditionalist and digital designers can be found, while covering a wide range of variants. The streets, magazines, campaigns, and art keep adding up to a versatile & avant-garde style of design, which is something I truly admire.
CF:tell us about your future plans, in what sort of projects would you like to focus on?
Currently, one of my series is going around the country with the Picnic Art Project exhibition. Hitting up cities such as Durango, Monterrey, Mexico City, Guadalajara, among others. Some of the main galleries involved are Upper Playground, Casa Hidalgo, and Don Apolonio. Also at the moment, I’m fully immersed in the “100% Carne” project, which is a Mexican illustration based project with the goal of selecting 100 pieces to be presented in an itinerant exhibition where there’ll be a live-action tattoo showcase.
In the future I’d like to be able to travel, thanks to my occupation, and also to get to know other artists around the world, learn from different traditions and apply that influence in my works.