Born in Cuba and living in Mexico since 1988 our new Poster Master is an Iconic designer who is best known by his second last name. Antonio Pérez Ñiko has Bachelor of Art History from the University of Havana. He was a professor at the José Antonio Echevarría Polytechnic Institute and the Faculty of Plastic Arts of the Universidad Veracruzana de México. Linked to the ICAIC since 1968, he designed posters of Cuban and foreign films, and political posters as part of the revolutionary campaign of the 60s and 70s.
His work has been featured in many personal and collective exhibitions, as well as in prestigiuos International Biennials. He has published numerous articles and critiques of graphic design and has been a jury for competitions in Cuba and abroad. He was a member of the UNEAC and the International Association of Plastic Artists.
We asked Antonio our “Poster Poster Questions” and this is what he had to say:
1. What does the poster mean to you and why do you design posters?
A poster should be the synthesis of intelligence. It must make you fall in love without any formal complication. The texts adorned with typography can change the meaning we have of the formal. The content becomes lighter appreciating with pleasure that strong message that will surround what you are going to say. And you imprint what you say with charm in order to make the other one think. The evident must be substituted by the suggestive. It’s a commitment with the others, so that what is being said fills the void of the everyday. When we make a poster we breathe emotions, and every part of our thinking is filled with joy. The heart beats in order to ensure that the work designed is valuable. The poster is my life. It’s a way to find out what everyone should have: the time before our eyes, the beauty, what happens around us, filled with passion to create, the images that are presented to give sense and substantiation to change every minute that we need to accept and assimilate; telling everyone else with poetic sense how you have to understand any message prepared to change the world. A poster, I’ve said before, must be a synthesis of intelligence. And I add, of thought itself. It must inspire love without any formal complication. Typography with its variety is the word that whispers us its content. In this way it becomes lighter appreciating with pleasure this message that will surround what you are going to do. Color is the elegant or sober dress of what is said and done. It must be a companion for each and every element that make up design. And finally, everything together in the sequence of shapes and attributes that will be fundamental an indispensable, so that what has been created can be the reality, everything expressed in this instant and always.
2. What would you say makes a poster a good poster?
It fills us with diverse emotions; it puts our intellect to work, making us think, looking for what it’s trying to tell us, gently; it can make us an active participant of the message that needs to be understood. Sometimes it amuses us and makes us laugh. It caresses our comprehension activity; it makes us sail calmly and also scared by the flights that can take us to any topic. It has a big load of art, let it be known that this does not mean any contradiction. Art is charm filled with individuality. Design rushes to be pleasant with those that prefer it, and turns the individual into the collective, because it is made for many. And even though the author shows his or her way of saying it, the indispensable purpose is to be applauded by many. This is why we talk about the art of design, and not of the design of the art. And yet, everything is to design better.
3. What do you think is the role of the poster in the world today?
Make the reflexive accessible for all, making the astonishing with shapes that jump, bringing joy to what we must understand, accept and change. Having a poster in your home is definitely giving it a new dimension. It’s loving and respecting it, make it the treasure of an object that helps change what must be appreciated as a memory, and store in your constant memory. It’s like a backwater of light that fills the habitat, telling you ideas every time you see it. It comes close to your taste, and it turns around so that you feel happy to have it and enjoy it.
4. What is your typical design process to make a poster?
Think a lot, order what comes up from this pursuit, jot down the ideas that appear, do research on the topic that will be addressed, confront it with authors and other posters. In a few words: Fill ourselves with images. I strongly believe in humor. It is a palliative to enjoy what is expressed. I insist in this purpose, generally, always.
Another aspect is the music that accompanies me to make the creation process more harmonious, and what to say about the landscape and the visual environment that are with me in my everyday; my house and my surroundings make the difference so I am able to create. Also, writing about different topics fills me with satisfaction and exercises my imagination in such way, that I feel completely vibrant inside and I finish by showing what I’ve created to my life partner. If she smiles. I have succeeded. If she remains silent, I must keep working.
5. If you could choose a poster in history as your favorite, which one would it be and why?
I have many favorites, from different times and authors,but I would have liked to know Cassandre in person, and watch him make his poster “Pathe” Imagining it is a gift of the senses. It’s perfect and complete. It has everything I’ve said. And the best part, is that I bet he did it without much effort., because it came from his heart, and his reason.
6. What advice would you give to new designers who want to become poster designers?
First, that their main weapon should be modesty. To know how to listen and accept opinions. That they should never be totally conformed with what they do. That they should work, work and work. They should search for the beautiful in life and turn it into posters. That they should not worry too much about the applauses. When it’s fair, they will come. And if you haven’t worked so that you are sufficiently happy to be creators of images, don’t give up on your efforts and wishes. Search in every minute for the desired results. If you are poster designers you will have the most beautiful of life’s gifts. I say it out of conviction and experience. This is how life has been to me and me with it. And with them, the posters.