New Folk: Juan Molinet

3rd May 2024

New Artist

“Colourful, funny and surreal at times, with an accent in character design and the use of humour, puns and visual metaphors to convey ideas.”

This is how Juan Molinet, TDF’s latest signing, describes his style. It can be seen on the tour poster of singer-songwriter Juan Wauters stylised as a guitar-wielding baseball star; on commercial illustrations depicting Samsung wrist watches strolling through mountain-fringed forests; on the front of Magic Spoon cereal boxes (replete with a cartoon gingerbread man piggybacking on a polar bear).

We sat down with Juan to chat cookie tins, cartoon mascots and cereal boxes.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Commercial characters and the influence of my grandfather. I used to spend loads of time at his house in Santos Lugares (near Buenos Aires) when I was a kid, like sometimes for a month or two in summer. For me, it represented a magical time of my life. He was one of the funniest humans I ever knew, and he happened to be in the cookie business. He was the president of the Cookies and Sweets Wholesalers association (called MAGYA, which sounds like Magic in Spanish), he would always give me paper and pencils to draw.

What did you learn from the cookie business?

I grew up surrounded by cookie tins and sweet packaging with all the mascots and characters that came with them. And I was completely obsessed with them. And that’s the time I started to draw. It’s like they were my friends, so I think that’s why I have such a heavy focus on characters, and try to imprint as much humour as I can, because I believe is a big part of my personality (and I got it from my grandpa too, whom by the way I really look like, it skipped a generation).

Who and what else has informed your distinct style?

I’m a chronically curious person, so I take in a lot of information, images and data all the time. But, if I have to pick, I’d say dynamic illustrations from the Seventies and Eighties: old school cartoons and commercial mascots. And I studied and worked in graphic design originally, so I’ve looked at a lot of the big names from past eras, like Saul Bass, Alexander Girard, Paul Rand and such.

What’s the purpose of your work?

To communicate the values that are dear to me, to put smiles on people’s faces and bring colour to the world. And to try to make people see the world as I see it: the same eyes I used to see when I was a kid in awe from the bold graphics and the colours of sweet wrappings.

What has been your career highlight so far?

Doing illustrations for Magic Spoon’s cereals boxes – one of my career goals was to create a cereal box mascot!

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