Spanish artist and illustrator Claudia Torán splashes life, colour and vibrant energy into her iconic posters and illustrative work.
Having made the move from her home town of Valencia to the creative hub of London, Torán likens the city's 'enriching and inspiring' life to an 'amusement park' where there are "many things going on, many things to do, places to discover and people to meet".
These influences and inspirations are clear to see in her lively creative style that has seen her quickly establish herself as an emerging artist in the scene. Whether it be making album covers, creating zines and publications, or working on passion projects with her father, Torán's work is diverse and endless as she constantly explores new paths and adventures, 'feeding on the energy' around her and always seeking out the next opportunity to learn.
Throw into the mix an impressive academic pedigree to boot, including a degree in Fine Arts at Universitat Politècnica de València and Leeds University, plus an additional Masters Degree in Illustration and Graphic Design, Torán is an impressive young artist to keep an eye on. We no doubt expect bigger and brighter things to come!
When did you first get into illustration?
I can’t remember when it was… I guess that it has been a process I have been developing all my life, in different ways and from different paths. And drawing a lot, all the time.
But I think it was more or less in my first year at university when I started doing some commissioned work, collaborating with some friends and bands. Then slowly I started to get involved with publications, magazines and books, little by little.
And last year I completed a Masters of Illustration! Which was great because it allowed me to lay the foundations on everything I had learnt over the years, and really gave me a great appreciation and understanding of illustration as a profession.
What are some of your major influences?
I have so many! There are a lot of young illustrators and artists doing amazing work right now. I like the style of Thomas Slater, Misaki Kawai, Lauren Humphrey, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Firenze Lai, Miroco Machiko and Atelier Bingo to name just a few.
Apart from illustration, I also love painting, abstract art and am very much interested in composition and colour. I also appreciate the work of cartoonists and tattoo artists.
I also need to name Jean Jullien, as I never get tired of his everyday universe, so direct, fun and inteligent.
And I admire a lot the work of some artists (particularly women) with a dark and visceral vision of the world, working in a very raw, poetic, and often critical way. Some names that come to mind are Marlene Dumas, Frida Kahlo, Angela Dalinger, Aleksandra Waliszewska or leaving the borders purely pictorial and graphic I will mention Marina Abramovic.
But I think this answer is too long… I better stop!
Have those influences changed over time?
Of course. At first they were more the classics, especially the painters like Picasso, Van Gogh, Kirchner, Hockney, Saul Bass or Egon Schiele.
But over time I have expanded my horizons naturally, but nonetheless, those iconic names are always there inevitably.
If you could collaborate with any artist right now, who would it be?
I have a very long-standing pending collaboration with my friend Mario de Santiago AKA Yimeisgreat! He is so talented and we always have fun drawing silly things in notebooks or napkins… but we want to do a proper collaborative project. Hopefully soon!
Also it would be cool to collaborate with the collective Nous Vous. I love the art of Nicolas Burrows, Jay Cover and William Edmons and together they are doing great work.
And just the other day I found out that we are actually in the same studio in East London, in the same building. I was so excited! I will go knock on their door some day (maybe).
"London is so enriching and inspiring... it is like an amusement park!"
What’s it been like making the move from Valencia to London?
London is so enriching and inspiring. In terms of art and music it is like an amusement park! There are many things going on, many things to do, places to discover and people to see.
I think the most important aspect is the multi-cultural environment that you can find here; all the opportunities and the freedom that makes you learn a lot all the time.
I’m trying to feed on that energy, learn and have fun along the way. I feel I am where I need to be in this moment of my life.
On the other hand, I do miss my family and friends a lot which is the hardest part. And the city is so expensive, which makes it difficult to start an artistic profession, particularly when you're working as a freelance!
Now I’m working in a takeaway bar making wraps to pay the rent of my studio. But I feel happy anyway.
What’s one of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on to date?
I’ve recently illustrated my father Daniel Torán's first book, “Subir hacia abajo”, which has been really special to me. The process has been a big challenge, and so self-demanding!
But I got to play and experiment with a lot of different materials and I enjoyed it so much.
It has been his first book, very introspective and sincere, and working in the illustrations has been a present, like a treasure to me. I put all my respect and love toward it.
"For the first time in my life I really don’t know what’s next and I don’t have long-term plans - and I love this feeling!"
In five years time I’ll be…
I'm not sure, I don’t even know where I’ll be in 5 months time let alone five years! Everyone is asking me about my plans for the future, but the truth is that for first time in my life I really don’t know what’s next and I don’t have long-term plans - and I love this feeling!
Anyway, if a witch could see my future in a crystal ball, it would be nice to see me being a professional illustrator or artist, working on exciting projects. I just want to keep doing art, travel a lot and see what happens!
After a long days work, I like to unwind by…
Going to a pub with friends and listenening to live music. And if I’m lazy, having cereals for dinner in bed and reading a book.
Right now I’m listening to…
I’m learning harmonica, so I’m back to Walter Horton, Sonny Boy Williamson, James Cotton, Little Walter and friends. I have too much to learn and I’m taking it seriously.
Also I’m listening to many old podcasts of a great Spanish radio show called El Sótano, all about dirty rock n' roll and hidden treasures.
And “She was a boy” by Yael Naim is a nice album to enjoy with the first spring of sunshine.
The last great book I read was…
“The Last Sultan” by Robert Greenfield. It’s about Ahmet Ertegun's life, and is very interesting. A friend lent it to me and I need to give it back by the way!
My top three films are…
Hard question... I like all kinds of different cinema, so I’m going to say a super weird mix (maybe and probably they are not my top 3, I don’t know) but today I will say: “Motorcycle Diaries” (Walter Salles), “Ray” (Taylor Hackford) and “Vertigo” (Alfred Hitchcock)
If I wasn’t doing this I’d be…
Oh, a musician, for sure. That’s my frustrated dream.