Paul Fuentes is on a mission to make you happy, and his New Pop Art will hit the spot.
Paul Fuentes presents minimal, surreal photography in palettes that’ll make you feel like you’ve entered a candy shop. He frequently combines two distinct elements—such as a giraffe and bubblegum, or a rainbow and licorice—into joy-inducing mashups. In an interview with Cuppa Wow, the Mexico City–based artist shared his inspirations and methods for creating his eye-catching, mind-expanding New Pop Art.
What was your early introduction to art?
I come from a creative family. My mother studied graphic design (and so did I), and my musical dad worked on radio and television postproduction, creating music for commercials. My talents and personality come from both of them. My skills in design and photography come from my mom. On the other hand, I’ve got the patience, spontaneity, and positive thinking from my musical dad. After graduating, I started my first job as an editor for the social magazine of my university.
How did you develop your personal style?
I’ve been manipulating photos with Photoshop since I was 15 years old. If you scroll through my Instagram feed, the first designs I posted on my account are portraits in different and surreal settings. I have tried and seen a lot in the past years, and at some point I noticed the trend of food photography. I got inspired and made it my goal to break your ‘boring’ Instagram feed and bring a smile to your face with my minimal and surreal pop mashups of food, animals, and objects with a twist.
When I took the lock off my account and started sharing my personal work, it was just to get some feedback, perhaps. Suddenly, my designs were reposted. I got interview requests, people wanted to use my designs for advertising, and my following kept on growing. I really didn’t expect this, but now I knew this was my calling: creating images of common food, objects, and animals in a new and twisted way.
I like to say that it’s the New Pop Art. The style is modern, minimal, colorful, surreal photography. I always choose humor. Even the basic needs of a person, like food—it has to have humor. I try to make people laugh, and I like the idea of saying a joke without words.
How do your ideas come to you?
I get my inspiration from everything around me. Travel, fashion, music, but also when shopping in the supermarket. My designs consist of everyday objects and objects that we can find all around us. I just need to open all my senses and keep training my creativity.
How do you open your senses to creativity?
I love to go to a supermarket or toy stores and just open my senses to find something that inspires me to work with. Like coming home with an octopus that I filled with pearls.
I normally use two objects to create a new one, so I start with one and then try to find its other half. This can be by color, shape, size, or use. For me, it’s like a marriage: both objects need to adapt in many ways.
You recently started a travel account on Instagram as well. How have your travels influenced your designs?
I believe that traveling is one of the best things to open our senses. We go out of our comfort zones and view our surroundings and ourselves from new perspectives.
Paul Fuentes Photo is a new project and a colorful lens through which I see the world in a different way. Working with the a similar style, and without missing the pastels, I take travel photographs to a surreal and unexplored place.
Before we go, what’s one truth you’ve learned as an artist?
Creativity is a tool that we all have. Some have it in a visual part, some in music or mathematics.