We visited José Antonio Roda in Madrid and had a very good time, he showed us how passionate he is about his work and about life. He draws what he really loves, which is what makes his pieces so successful. At the moment he is going through a “purification” process in his work due to his self-criticism, what do you think about his work??
He currently has an exhibition in Barcelona in Wa’kü store&gallery, it is on until the beginning of may, so you can enjoy his “MUJERES”!!


José Antonio, I love your portraits. Although I am not a pop fan, I find them beautiful and quite eye-catching. After studying Audio-visual Communication in Barcelona, you have established yourself in Madrid by moving forward with your drawings. It might have been difficult, but you are being rewarded, aren’t you?
Thank you so much for your perception of my work, María. I have been in Madrid for a year and it is really tough due to many reasons; however, I am aware that I am moving forward inside the labour market. Little by little, unthinkable things are happening to me.


You make portraits of famous people, would make a portrait of someone who is not famous? Could I make an order for myself? What would you need to make it?
Of course you can! Actually, most of my portraits are not of famous people. I only need some good quality pictures where I can identify characteristic gestures and faces, a deadline and all relevant information for the portrait itself.


Currently, if someone wants to buy any of your portraits, how can they? Through your website?
It depends on what they are looking for. A the moment, in the online shop there are some “objects”, such as plates and mugs. I will soon upload some portrait prints I made for an exhibition in Barcelona next April. From time to time, I upload some original paintings but that is quite unusual. If the client wants an original work, they have to contact me by my email and we will discuss everything.


Tell us about the design process, do you draw each illustration by hand and post-produce it on your computer? Do you do everything on your computer? Everything by hand?
It depends on each work. Usually, portraits were always by hand; however, I am getting more comfortable at working on my computer. All new portraits are finally done with a computer. I am quite a changeable person, so I don´t really know if I will decide for one way or for all of them.


What would be your advice to someone with a “steady job” but with the aim of dedicating to drawing?
Each person should follow their dreams. I would tell them not to be afraid, but they would need savings, patience and tenacity.

Could you imagine yourself six years ago?
Not by any stretch of imagination. In my 20′s I was in the middle of my studies and I imagined myself married, thin and working at the cinema. Neither of them have come true. I never thought I would earn my living through my drawings and my products would be sold in stores. Never.


You also have a collection of mugs, plates and bags, are you hoping to expand this ceramic collection further or do you still want to focus on your portraits?
I like both. I enjoy growing up, improving and testing myself. Working with ceramics is a magical medium, besides it is trendy. Though I don’t know if my partnership with ceramics will last. I would love to develop two different ways of working: graphically and physically producing decorative objects. That’s my plan.


What will be your next project?
Paying my next month rent. I have several up coming projects. A self-exhibition, a collective one, some collaborations with other artists. It goes on.

What do you think makes an illustration successful?

Which is your most successful illustration at the time?
A figurative illustration with two people hugging had a great approval. Talking about the portraits, some of not famous people had been quite popular


How long does it take you to create an illustration?
It depends, it always takes hours, from two hours to five days or even a week.

Which of your past illustration works do you like the most?
I am not paternalistic about my drawings, however, which finger would you cut yourself without being hurt? I prefer my recent works and I would throw away the old ones. Although, I am aware that I couldn’t have produced my recent ones without the previous experience. Moreover, my current choice will be no longer the same in a few months.


Which are favourite websites and magazines?
Youtube gives me life. I am not a magazines consumer. Do you remember at the beginning of this interview, when we were talking about the difficulty in jumping in the deep? I had to sacrifice many things, magazines included. Anyway, publications like FUET or APARTAMENTO are stunning. At an international print run, of course I would choose l TOILETPAPER MAGAZINE .

Which would be your ideal project?
I would probably pick up something that fills me with enthusiasm, related to people I admire and well payed.

Tell us about your regular day at work.
I wake up early no matter what, I go out for breakfast and then, I come back home where I work until night. I always carry my agenda with all my weekly duties, so in a regular day I just keep crossing out done tasks. I usually go for a walk once or twice a day, it is for free and helps me to keep my mind and energy steady by changing the scene. I work with music but without TV from monday to sunday. As I am quite constant and I take it seriously, if one day is unproductive, I try to rest and switch off until the following day.


Which have been your best and worst moments of your professional life?
The most difficult aspect is the amount of filters an illustration has to get through, where mine is the most severe one. It is also complicated to bet for e-commerce when you can’t afford it or assuming selling your handmade products in a store with all the difficulties in Spain. What I like the most is having the satisfaction of creating beautiful products, things I myself would buy, and the affection I receive from the clients. What really shocks me is when they send my pictures of a plate, a mug or a portrait at their homes. There are some people I don’t personally know who send me such nice and charming emails that they make me cry. I can’t really believe it, I am not so aware. Some weeks ago during a sunday walk through the most impressive decoration stores at El Rastro in Madrid, a salesman stopped me just to tell how he loved my works. I couldn’t believe it. My drawings made at my dinning table, go out from my home, become known and touch hearts, that is amazing..

What is your dream for the future?
My dream is making a living with my work instead of surviving with it. Improve myself, grow, owning a workplace, making things in a better way and returning to 28 size trousers.