The “Track Light” series serves to briefly introduce a number of individuals involved
with the One World Artist Gallery (OWAG) from their various places around the globe.
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Today, I talk with illustrator and designer Jaime García (El Mordi).
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John: Hey Jaime, what’s up? I really dig the DrawBag you recently did.
Jaime: Thanks, John. It was a pleasure to collaborate with you.
John: As you know, the artists involved in the OWAG project are from all over the world. Can you tell us more about the design you drew?
Jaime: My illustration is basically a modern representation of a character from Mexican culture known as La Catrina, which represents death during El Día de Muertos (the Day of the Dead).
John: Now, you go by the name El Mordi, which is different than your birth name. How did that come about?
Jaime: It’s actually a cheesy story. My ex-girlfriend started calling me that after a phone call in which I was eating a sandwich. She asked what I was doing and I offered her a bite by using the first two syllables of the word “bite“ in Spanish which is “mordida“. She thought it was funny for me to say “mordi,” and started calling me Mordi. Shortly after that we started calling each other by the name and I created a couple of characters which represented the two of us: “Mordi & Mordi”. From that moment on I started signing my artwork under this name.
John: What were your first memories of art-making?
Jaime: I started drawing at a young age. One of my first teachers was my older brother. I remember drawing by his side… as a matter of fact, at the beginning I just used to copy his drawings. And I’ve been connected to that early way of expressing myself ever since.
John: That’s funny, I had the same experience with my older brother. And were there any working artists or illustrators that influenced you in your development over time?
Jaime: I like the work of Mark Ryden, James Jean, Alex Ross, Sachin Teng, just to name a few. I think their work is executed perfectly. The composition, colors and technique are remarkable, especially in the work of those first three. I like Sachin Teng’s style because I find it very attractive and modern. But honestly, I really like a lot of artists.
John: I would say there’s a bit of tension in our world right now…
Jaime: Yes… I agree.
John: Are there any artists who are interacting with that tension in a way that inspires you?
Jaime: There’s a lot of chaos in the world right now. I like to use creativity as a way to criticize political and moral aspects of society, and so Banksy’s work is an inspiration to me in that way. I think he expresses a lot in a single image. The contrast within his images combining something aggressive with a positive element and the way he uses the surroundings to increase the impact of his work… that’s what I like.
John: What form is your own artwork taking these days?
Jaime: I’m currently freelancing with my art and before that I was fully into web design. But now as a freelancer I have been focusing on children’s illustrations. I like the world of children’s tales a lot.
John: And what about when you aren’t drawing..?
Jaime: I like watching movies, playing video games, and hanging out with my friends. The truth is I’m pretty ordinary in my interests. I really enjoy playing Street Fighter (ever since I encountered Street Fighter 2 in the arcade) and Metal Gear for its style… and the storyline.
John: Right, right! Same here. With Street Fighter I learned with Blanka but skilled up to Ken.
Jaime: I used to like Ryu, but now I enjoy playing with Ken in SFV. I use him when I’m fighting online.
John: And which movies?
Jaime: I like horror movies, comedy, anime, action. Some of my favorites are Miyazaki’s films, especially Spirited Away. Also Pi, Faith in Chaos, Big Fish… and I remember I used to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street movies a lot.
John: As an art student, I actually went to a school that was in Wes Craven’s childhood neighborhood. The Elm Street he supposedly got the name from was just a few blocks from my dormitory in the first year.
Jaime: Wow! That’s interesting. I think Freddy Krueger is my favorite monster.
John: And music?
Jaime: I also enjoy listening to Radiohead. A lot of times it has turned out to be very inspiring for me. But what I enjoy the most by far is drawing and getting inspired by the artists I follow!