With his talent, imagination and civic flair, Ares ranks among the top visual artists of his generation. Author: Provided by interviewees
I discovered the cardinal importance of graphic humor for the study of sociocultural processes through the discovery of the visual creativity of the French cartoonist Jean Plantouro (Plantu) during my postgraduate research. Having included Plantu’s caricatures in the appendices to my dissertation – along with other very important historiographical sources – I almost involuntarily suggested what reflective power, suggestive power and synthesis ability this manifestation of visual art possessed, the presence of which increased each time. supported in the world of publishing, advertising and academia.
So it was inexcusable not to seek a dialogue with Aristides Esteban Hernandez Guerrero – our esteemed Ares – about the problems of press designers in a universe marked by the omnipresence of the visual.
Although the milestones of his career as a graphic designer were not foreign to me, I discovered – through intuition, a word that has never been used in more joyful terms – Ares’ extensive presence in foreign media, the result of a visit to the media library. French union.
With the sharpness of a psychoanalyst and the cunning of ancient troubadours, Ares satisfied my repertoire of worries. Without hiding his civic sensitivity and precise problematization, our colleague shared his view on the phenomena that cause us concern and, at the same time, happiness that we have survived that period of civilizational history in which we are immersed.
How do you combine art and journalism in your graphic humor?
– Caricature is an expression of fine art that is born on the pages of newspapers, commenting on everyday events. When I am working on a cartoon, it is clear to me that I am doing journalistic work. For this reason and for many reasons, I try to stay informed, every day I look through the news in a variety of media and try to express my vision of certain events: my personal opinion, the result of these multiple readings and my experience and my beliefs.
“But the generation of this journalistic opinion cannot but see in this also the concept of a work of art. When I make my cartoons, I think not only about the message, but also about its formal side, about the physical work that I do. That’s what this pairing is. I just don’t know how else.”
— To what extent did your cooperation with international publications (Le Monde, Courrier International, Le Temps) allow you to overcome the language barrier within the reading community?
— I do not attribute the working relationship that I have established over the years with numerous international publications as a reason; in fact it is a consequence of what I do.
“From the very beginning of my work as a cartoonist, I tried to avoid texts and speak only with images. With this premise, I create a type of work that can be understood without language intervention, and the visuals that I use to establish my “dialogue” can be decoded at any latitude. This is one of the reasons that makes it easy to reproduce my work in any space of interest to them.
“I think other aspects of my drawings that contribute to this exchange have to do with my particular approach to themes, my concern for the aesthetic sense of my cartoons, and the fact that my view is not too local. I always look at my country, but I know that we are part of the rest of the world.
How much did the study of caricature in the press in Cuba contribute to your profession from the first decades of the 19th century to the present day, thanks to representatives such as Ricardo de la Torriente, Eduardo Abela, Conrado Masseur and Juan David Posada?
I am curious by nature, and this interest in the history of caricatures in Cuba comes from a combination of chance with this obsessive personal desire to seek and explore of any kind.
“This process of discovering and rediscovering many aspects of this story has been very helpful to my work and has given me a very personal measure of how the genre has developed on our island. Obviously it has helped me to know and understand a lot of things better. It has also helped me to fine-tune my path of personal creativity by drinking, among many other sources, from those backgrounds, always protecting my personal imprint.
“In short, I think today’s Cuban cartoonists would be nothing without all this history and traditions that precede us and of which we are now a part.”
What level of creative communication do you have with the designers who make up the Cartooning for Peace platform, on topics such as the fight against censorship, social inequality, climate change, or the current lack of communication and disinformation?
—Cartooning for Peace (CFP) is an international organization of cartoonists founded by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and cartoonist Plantu. It brings together creators from various countries, confessions and political views who participate in common projects. CFP organizes exhibitions on specific topics, book publishing and numerous events related to important issues of the modern world. I have been a member of the CFP for many years and regularly participate in many of the activities they host.
“I am in a very mobile relationship with the entire organizational team and colleagues who are part of this organization and I am very pleased to see many of my works exhibited or published in unimaginable places thanks to the promotional work of CFP.”
— How important is it for your career to receive the Ranan Lurie Prize from the United Nations in 2015?
This award is one of the most important recognitions I have received for my work as a cartoonist. Representatives from different countries at the United Nations (UN) act as a jury that vote to select what they consider to be the best editorial cartoon published in the world from the previous year.
“I received this award for a cartoon commenting on the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo humor magazine in Paris. In this case, several colleagues from the publication were killed, with some of whom I maintained friendly relations, for example, Georges Wolinski (1934-2015), who visited us on several occasions and always showed solidarity with his Cuban colleagues, and Charba (Stefan Charbonnier, 1967-2015 ), who was the director of Charlie Hebdo and organized an exhibition of my work in Paris in 2007. For all that, it was an event that I felt very intimate from an affective point of view, and which I expressed in an ink drawing done in a few minutes, which was quickly reproduced in countless publications around the world.
Designed by Ares for the cover of the French edition of Courrier Internacional.
— How difficult is it professionally and spiritually to combine your creative activity with the numerous roles of a lecturer, curator of exhibitions and illustrator of literary works?
Challenges are part of my creativity and my way of working. I have developed a way of doing my work where I think about several things at the same time, producing and creating in different expressions and lines.
“That’s not what gives me problems, although some things require more effort than others. I maneuver and organize my time for all of them, they come out gradually, and there are others who never come out, but only I will know about it. The most important thing is to live.
Source: Juventud Rebelde