Colourful, evocative and ever-evolving: the intuitive illustrations of José Roda

An illustrator and designer born near Barcelona and currently based in Madrid, José Roda's colourful and evocative work is instantly recognisable. But he doesn't feel his style is etched in stone.

"I don’t like to think about my style as something closed or complete," explains José, who works using acrylic paint, coloured papers, scalpels and his computer. "My work is constantly taking me to new places and my way of drawing is definitely influenced by this.

"There are elements which do repeat themselves in most of my work, but I am not interested in doing the same things the same way, or else I wouldn’t learn anything. My influences are Eduardo Arroyo, Mariscal, Léger, José Pérez Ocaña, the Bauhaus, Haring, Alex Katz, Maruja Mallo, Miller Goodman, Saul Steinberg, Malevich, Girard, Hockney and much more."

Creative process

Nor is his art something that is meticulously pre-planned. "I think my work is born from intuition and obsession," he says. "I believe I have to draw something because that is how I feel it because I feel like doing it and that is when I obsess about it and cannot stop until I get it right.

"If it’s a commission, something which nothing has to do with my personal oeuvre, what I try to figure out is how to take something that doesn’t belong to me into my own terrain. I like these challenges."

Collaboration and travel

José recently got some extra inspiration from a week in Antwerp in the company of D.A.T.E. (Discover Antwerp Through Experience), a project that brings together international creatives to discover the city and collaborate on an exhibition (you can see what he created for that here).

"The city was beautiful and clean, my companions, the places we visited…everything was incredible," he explains. "Getting to know Antwerp was very stimulating and I wouldn’t say no to going back right now or even living/working there for some time.

"It was a very intense week, but now that I think of it from a distance, it was too short and I want more Antwerp!"


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