I first came across Joan Cornellá when a friend shared one of his comics on Facebook. It showed a man pissing on the wall and, right after, being beaten to death by a group of women wearing black masks. The story follows with another man finding the dead body and deciding to shit in the bin next to it. The same man meets the group of violent woman that, instead of killing him, decide to honor him and give him a medal. I stared at my computer screen for minutes trying to understand it. I didn't get it, but it was so funny—and so wrong! The image took me to his Facebook Page, where I was mesmerized by the other comics. I wanted to hate them, but I couldn't. I was in love with the art of a man that draws innocent girls being injected with heroin.
The Spanish illustrator has practically conquered Internet virality with his art and holds an impressive 1 million likes on his Facebook page. Yet internet trolls accuse him of being a potential serial killer, someone with a troubled childhood, a pervert man, or all of the above. But I saw someone with a great sense of humor and felt the need to contact him to understand better the allegedly sick mind behind this absurd – and yet incredible – art.
Artparasites: I believe that every artwork carries the artist's biography, so it's important to comprehend the meaning of work within the context of the artist's life. How does your work reflects you as a person?
Joan Cornellá: I have a proper degree of skepticism about how my work reflects myself. At the moment I can accept or partially accept that I am a cynical, a monomaniac, the best person in the world, an extremely tender person, an old car with smooth texture, a pacifist-fascist and a liar. My work reflects me and all the bullshit I say.
Artparasites: Can you remember your first drawing? How did you learn it?
Joan Cornellá: I can't remember what I did yesterday. So of course I can't remember it, but I guess it was great. When I was a kid my grandfather taught me to draw. He was a good teacher and a horrific painter, he painted the walls of my house with toothbrushes. He was colorblind.
Artparasites: Although very colorful, happy and beautiful, your comics are very gory and violent. It seems that you do not worry about what is considered as bad taste or usually seem as morally wrong. Is there anything that you would consider as a taboo? What would you never draw?
Joan Cornellá: I'm not sure about my limits but I'm sure I would never draw a squirrel talking. And I would never draw anyone blaspheming, fornicating, committing adultery or going on the black path. I am an extremely straight person.
Artparasites: Your comics are extremely sexual, in a very unusual way. You joke with controversial themes such as beastiality and genital mutilation. And despite all of the violence, your characters still seem to be very sexually aroused most of the time. But outside of your art, what turns you on? How is your sex life?
Joan Cornellá: My grandma raped me when I was six years old with an umbrella. Since then I can only have sex with girls disguised as an umbrella and it's so damn hard to find a good umbrella disguise. I mean, there's good umbrella disguises but they are so hard to find. And well, sometimes I realize that some of these people disguised as an umbrella are actually kids trying to have sex with me and of course I always call the police. There's a lot of children trying to fornicate old decent human lives and that must stop.
Artparasites: If you weren't an artist, what would you be?
Joan Cornellá: A homeless guy.
Artparasites: I can imagine that you have to deal with a lot of criticism because of the content of your art. What would offend you?
Joan Cornellá: Some of the messages that I received offend me. Like this one: ''I love you psycho. WTF. LOL.''
Artparasites: Another surprising element of your characters it's that they are always happy and smiling – even when facing death. Do you believe that people can be happy no matter what is happening?
Joan Cornellá: Most of the advertisements I've seen on TV all my life have shown happy people with a smiling face that can be happy no matter what is happening. My characters are like automatons. The kind of automaton you see in advertisements or TV. You can see a lot of smiling automatons with forced poses in actors, politicians and celebrities of any kind.I found hilarious these cynically happy faces. They can be beaten or insulted but they never cease to smile.
Artparasites: If you had a choice, how would you like to die?
Joan Cornellá: Death and love are the great themes. Eros and Thanatos. I don't know, I guess we all think about death but we don't want to talk about it too much. So if you deal with this particular topic in a funny, nonsensical way it can be sort of cathartic.
I would like to die alone, with no money and no friends. Just the way I am today.
Article by Chris Phillips
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