In childhood it was easy to see one thing as another. Back then a cardboard box could be a castle, a tree could be Mount Everest, a pony could be a unicorn, a snoring parent could be a dragon skulking in the shadows. A noise in the night could be a house licking its lips, a cushion could be a boat come to rescue you from certain death. A brick wall could just as easily be the wall of a fortress as it could be the place the world ended. The old lady down the end of the lane could one day be a witch, and the next a superhero in hiding. This was the infinite potential of childhood.
It’s often said that creative people have managed to capture the essence of childhood, to capture this endless possibility and project it into their work with all the focus of a dog chasing its tail. Simply, childish, and utterly fulfilling, Javier Pérez‘s Instagram Experiments have secured themselves a place in the Internet hall of fame.
A half-eaten Oreo becomes a globe, spinning on its axis, some leftover grapes become helium balloons about to whisk away their holder. From Scrabble letters spelling out ‘Hollywood’ on a doodled hillside, to a Burger King ketchup blood bag, Javier Pérez’s Instagram Experiments have spread their cute nifty little quirks far and wide. You can even buy greeting cards featuring some of the designs in our shop here. Celebrating both doodling and the everyday, they are simple but effective. Proving almost unequivocally that minimalism is king.
Through Javier‘s eyes, Skittles transform into a illustrated paint palette with just the flick of a pencil. A grapevine becomes a tree on a hot day, a young boy resting in the shade of its branches. Not just simple, perfectly formed concepts, these mixed-media doodles also pull together threads of our cultural zeitgeist and use them for their own (awesome) ends.
There’s a speech by David Foster Wallace that has achieved much notoriety called ‘This is Water’. It starts with an older fish asking some young ‘uns, “How’s the water?”. The two younger fish have no idea what the feck water is, and the speech, which pretty much covers life the universe and everything, goes on to insinuate, that what we should take from an arts education is to be able to remind ourselves that, ‘this is water’. To always be aware of what’s going on around us, and to see it for its infinite potential, not its drab everydayness. While this speech resonates with me every time I’m at a bus stop, or standing in a queue, it also resounds a little in Javier Pérez‘s work, which shows us the mundane in a new light, forcing us to open our eyes that little bit wider, and look again. These ‘Instagram Experiments’ effortlessly remind us that ‘this is water’, and that we should pay more attention to everything from our leftover lunch to that dainty flower we picked from the roadside on our walk home. Beauty is not confined to the great masterpieces, holed up in galleries, it’s all around us. All we have to do is look a little harder.
Internet culture has become a lot about seeing one thing as something else. There’s so many examples of this, that I feel tired just thinking about it. Seeing faces in things (pareidolia) is all the rage, and ‘stuff that looks like other stuff’ has become the Internet‘s equivalent of catnip. Javier Pérez‘s Instagram Experiments have this same powerful twist, this same something-tinted view on life, the same opening-a-door when there was only a wall to start with, that you can’t help but marvel at his ingenuity, his fetish for simplicity, and his all ’round killer eye for a concept.
Javier Pérez has a gift, the gift of finding beauty in the everyday. His little artworks focus an idea in such a succinct way, that they’re the image equivalent of an 140 character masterpiece. Javier is one of the new generation of Internet artists, and to him a balloon is only a hop, skip and a jump away from being a lightbulb, a Clemetine just a few ink blots away from becoming a pair of lungs.
Can you tell me a bit about your background?
My name is Javier Pérez Estrella, aka cintascotch, I’m a Graphic Designer / Audiovisual Producer and I live in Guayaquil, Ecuador. My work is very simple and minimal. I’ve been working as a designer since I was 17 years-old and during recent years, I’ve participated in several international contests.
How did your Instagram Experiments project start?
I wanted to share all this stuff with people around the world so I created an Instagram account, and as a personal project I decided to keep it updated every week. Using this technique (objects and illustrations) is a fast way to do so.
How do you find art in the everyday?
My main inspiration comes from daily objects; the most common appear as the most attractive to me. My ideas come to me when I am on the bus, walking or eating. I archive my ideas in sketches and then I work on them little by little. A lot of the photos I publish are old ideas that I had archived.
Do you have a favourite everyday drawing?
My favourite is the Victroflower. It’s special for me because I had this idea in my head for some weeks but I couldn’t find a flower which could fit my purpose. One day I found it on the street while I was walking and it was perfect.
How do you photograph the pieces?
I use white cardboard, a Canon T3i and natural light.
What type of paper do you use?
What other kinds of artwork do you produce?
I like to create hand-crafted things. I have another project called ‘364 ideas’. A daily idea over a year (2013).
What’s your day job?
I work on social network campaigns and graphic design.
Why did you use the Instagram handle ‘cintascotch’?
While at school, the professor of literature organised a story and poetry competition, one of the requirements was to present under a pseudonym. I decided to use something that had nothing to do with me or my name (cinta scotch in English is ‘scotch tape’) . During recess, the day of the awards, in front of the whole school the teacher said my nickname because I had won the contest and everyone laughed. From there I decided to use this nickname always.