by Vatsala SethiJan 23, 2023
Lately, my Instagram feed has been besotted by a ghoulish troupe, with grinning devils, glaring anthromorphs and the grotesque revelries of pop culture icons forming the procession. These familiars have been unleashed by Pablo Iglesias Prada, a painter from Gijon, Spain, and they leer and scowl at me with a visceral ferocity that simply cannot be ignored. Having encountered this artist’s work as often as I have, I feel compelled to explore his Instagram page, and, upon doing so, am entreated to a seemingly endless gallery of frightening imagery. I must know more, and undertake this interview with Iglesias’ enthusiastic involvement, so that others too may discover his fascinatingly grim oeuvre.
When asked to expand on the singular intent of his Instagram page projects, which, as his bio quite succinctly lays out, is to capture human evil in his paintings, he was happy to add that he has been “involved in the art world for more than 15 years", and has “always been interested in topics such as illness, loneliness and fear". So, as he continues, addressing the issue of evil simply represents a natural evolution of his artistic concerns. To me, as a member of his audience, this makes perfect sense, as the bleak figures Iglesias draws often seem to be informed by an emotional burden of some sort: be it sorrow, despondence, rage or one of so many others.
I was intrigued about how Iglesias applies these themes and explorations to his creative craft. His response was simple yet enlightening. He said, “like almost all artists, I don't have a rule or method when it comes to working". This was a surprising claim, but, after some thought, certainly stands as an observation I would endorse to a great degree. Whether it is in my own artistic process, or that of the many practitioners I have interacted with, the notion of a strict creative regimen is often a far cry from the chaos of inspiration that strikes when it chooses to. Iglesias continued, “I usually start my paintings automatically, letting myself be carried away by shapes and colours until something "arises" that interests me. The themes of my paintings are usually taken out of my day to day, the movies or series that I watch, the music that I listen to, the books that I read...”.
His thematic influence and creative process had been instrumental in drawing me in, and captivating me; that being the resemblance it bears to the visual artistry I have seen splashed across album covers for extreme music acts for many years now. He agreed that this was a fair comparison to draw, and wrote back to me with this: “you are not at all misguided, you are very right. I love extreme music and I have always noticed the work of artists like Larry Carroll or Pushead. They are a great influence on me.” In my mind, I had drawn a comparison between his work and that of Aaron Turner, specifically Turner’s artwork for the 2008 remaster of American Hardcore Punk outfit Converge’s album Petitioning the Empty Sky. However, the artist’s he mentioned seem far more apt, considering how long Iglesias has been creating art, with Carroll and Turner having worked with older thrash bands such as Slayer and Metallica.
Continuing with Pablo Iglesias Prada’s involvement in creative subcultures, I had noticed two skateboard deck designs by the artist while visiting his Instagram page. Upon closer inspection, I came to understand that these were contest entries he had submitted to a competition held by Creature Skateboards, a skating brand known for its horror and heavy metal aesthetic, and Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine, which is a popular print and digital publication. I asked Iglesias to tell me more about his involvement with skateboarding, and with this competition in particular, “as a young man I was a skater and, as in music, the aesthetics within skateboarding have always seemed wonderful to me. A friend told me about the Creature + Juxtapoz contest and I decided to present myself with a couple of proposals but there was no luck. The level of designs was very high, there were many people who well deserved to win the contest,” he says.
When I asked him what direction he envisioned his work moving in, he responded with the joyful nonchalance that is typical of those who create art primarily out of a love for the craft itself. In his own words, “I do not set great goals as an artist since the most important thing for me is to enjoy the creative process at all times, since it is really what I like. In the future, I hope to continue working on what I like, which is already a lot.”
Pablo Iglesias Prada can be found as pabloiprada on Instagram, where he regularly posts new artworks and enthusiastically engages with his large fan base.