Cosme Fernández is a freelance illustrator born in Ourense, Spain who has managed to work on big international projects such as the famous piece of art directed by Mandible Claw «Spirit Quest» or making the graphics of the well-known scene of Ricky Oyola vs The Street Cleaner for Traffic Skateboards, between others beautiful projects. Today we get in touch with him to talk about his journey on the skateboarding graphic design industry thanks to some friends in common.
Hi Cosme! How are you man? You still living in Barcelona or did this crazy lifestyle kill you already?
Everything is going well, thanks. I’m afraid I’m still alive though – my days are pretty dull and also I’m not living near the city’s centre. I’m 35 minutes away by train. Not crazy at all over there. More on a quieter small village vibe.
You are from Ourense but you had been living in London… and now you moved to BCN. Worst/best things about these places according to skateboarding and the life in general?
Ok, Ourense is my hometown and I lived there for the longest time – the best thing is that I know exactly what’s going on at any given moment in all the little corners of town, worst part is that what’s going on in those corners is usually absolutely nothing. Love skating there though, I know all the the spots and it’s super easy to spend the day out not only skating but also revisiting the past. London was definitely easier than I thought it was going to be – I learned to enjoy exactly he other side of things, not knowing anything at all about what’s going and to abandon myself to the immensity of the city. Truly loved it there. Started going by myself to the classic spots and everybody was always nice. Then I met these guys that introduced me to the most perfect curbs just ten minutes away from my place in Peckham, they became real good friends and that spot became home, miss it everyday. Nowadays in Barcelona is kinda weird, I’m getting old so I’m starting to enjoy more the urban exploration aspect of going out skating. I go on solo sessions around here and I have found amazing spots that look like they haven’t been touched. If I venture into the heart of Barcelona is usually to meet friends from back home and chill at a spot. I definitely prefer cruising and exploring by myself. Still trying to get in the right mind frame to not end up becoming a hermit.
Working as a freelance illustrator sounds hard. Working in the world of skateboarding sounds impossible. How it all started? Do you remember your first jobs? And maybe do you feel that some of your work is a bit “underrated” in Spain?
Not sure that being a freelance illustrator is that hard or difficult. I guess that after Art School that seemed like the logic thing to try. But I knew that it wouldn’t happened right away so I’ve always worked regular jobs in different things while doing small commissions and trying to build a nice portfolio I was happy with. Then I also worked in agencies as a graphic designer which helped me to be more versatile and to have a wider experience of the industry – and, more importantly, confidence. Enough confidence to try and show my stuff to the brands I was interested in working with. I was really lucky that Josh Stewart liked what I sent him and we started talking about developing a deck graphic for Theories first and then some more stuff for Hopps and Traffic and that was it, we got along pretty well and kept working together since.
Spirit Quest the masterpiece of Colin Read is on the top of my favorite skateboarding videos of all time. You made the animations that looks like Colin and you had a fully creative connection as if you had read his mind. Can you tell us how you lived those days and how you see everything now after all this time?
Oh, thank you very much, I appreciate it – I’ll let Colin know. Well, by the end of the project we both were absolutely connected, but that took some time. I remember I had just moved to London and was sleeping on my friends living room in Camberwell when he got in touch and told me about the overall concept. We started working on the animations soon after and kept going back and forth for a whole year. He knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it, everything was super clear in his head. But it wasn’t easy to fully grasp, I felt the same way that the skaters in the video felt while filming, most didn’t understand what Colin was going for but trusted his judgement anyway. My main fear was for the animations to get in the way of the skating and distract from it. Once we found the proper way to do it then the process became pretty straight forward. Lots of hours but worth it. Definitely feels like a blur now. Best part was meeting Colin at the London premiere and watching it for the first time. I knew it was gonna be something good skating wise from the clips I had worked with but it blew me away nonetheless. Definitely a very special project and I’m really happy for been able to contribute a small part to it.
How was the premiere of Spirit Quest and how did you feel the feedback of the spectators?
It was honestly amazing – but I’m talking about the London one. Not the actual premiere in NYC some days before. Colin travelled to a lot of places that September and the first stop was London. I had to travel back to Galicia for a few months and just got back to London around the same time. So it was a mix of feelings, not only it was great finally meeting Colin for the first time but also meeting again my friends from London and other Spanish friends that lived there.
I knew it was gonna be something good skating wise from the clips I had worked with but it blew me away nonetheless. Definitely a very special project and I’m really happy for been able to contribute a small part to it. Venue was packed and honestly I was a little nervous. But once the thing started I was in awe just like everybody else there. Cheering the editing as much as the skating. Also during the interlude pause the Isle boys surprised Chris Jones turning him pro and the place went crazy. All in all an amazing night in Hoxton.
Are you working in a big project right now? Or you want to keep it secret?
Nothing secret, just the usual stuff I’ve been doing for Theories of Atlantis for some time now – working on new graphics for the next seasons of Traffic and Theories brand, also just finished the titles for a Dialtone clip that should be about to come out. Some commercial animation stuff as well and I dunno, that’s basically it for the next month.
Thanks for everything Cosme! It’s a pleasure to have an artist like you among these weird pages. Now you got the super-power of the last words of your interview!
Many thanks to you Rafa, my pleasure. Keep it weird!