Take one step inside Raul Urias‘s Mexico City studio and you’ll feel as if you were transported into his colorful mind. Ernie Ball had the opportunity to partner with Raul on the most recent 2022 Slinky campaign — launching all-new Zippy, Hyper, Magnum, 7-String Skinny Top Heavy Bottom, and Hyper Bass Slinky artwork. Urias, with the help of our creative team, created intricate and beautifully detailed posters to go along with each new gauge combination. The illustration artwork for the campaign has been a hit since its launch with Slinky fans and customers asking how to get their hands on the art.
Raul Urias is a visual artist and illustrator currently based in Mexico City. His pieces have been part of several group exhibitors and one solo show. His work as an illustrator has led him to collaborate with different advertising and entertainment clients from all over the globe.RaulUrias.com
We had the opportunity to speak with Urias about his background, creative process, and his inspiration behind the latest Ernie Ball Slinky campaign.
Q & A with Raul Urias
EB: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get your start in the art scene?
RA: Like all children, I drew since I was little but I never stopped doing it, I kept drawing until in high school I took it very seriously and I wanted to be a comic artist, this led me to study graphic design and this is when I combined art with design and I began to specialize in illustration, a combination between school and living with many people who helped me train as a professional artist.
EB: How has being based in Mexico City influenced your craft?
RA: Mexico City is an incredible city, I made a very strong connection with my culture and my roots and I better understood the way to take my work inspired by my context, I grew up in the north and we are a little away from the pre-Hispanic roots and give me an account of how important we were in world history is very inspiring, also the creative environment is very inspiring of my friends creating incredible things.
EB: How would you describe your artistic style?
RA: It is a combination of my tastes, my context, what I love, what I hate, I think that style is as changeable as our own person and it changes as we feed our being.
If I had to describe it, it would be modern popular timeless Mexican illustration.
Raul Arias on his artistic style.
EB: Talk us through your normal creative process.
RA: I am always seeing and getting inspired by everything so I think everything starts with the references, then comes the sketch stage which is where the pieces are really created, where I have the most fun creating the possible ways to accommodate the elements and decide in general what will happen. After this, either personally or for a client, and the final sketch is decided, the rest is very technical, creating and defining the final drawings and creating the color palette for the project. Here I think my work already has a very similar look and that is why everything I do from a few years ago to now has my style because it complies with this very personal process.
EB: What is your workspace/studio environment like?
RA: I usually work alone at home, it is a space with many things that I collect, toys, books, antiques, and many things that inspire me, I also usually work when I travel and I have a laptop and tablet for that. In general, I like to have the things that inspire me at hand that I need when I work.
EB: What was your first initial reaction to Ernie Ball contacting you to work on this collaboration?
RA: I already knew the brand and knowing the weight it has in the industry is always exciting and at the same time a challenge, being able to collaborate with such important projects.
EB: What was the creative process like for you when coming up with the 2022 Ernie Ball Slinky campaign? What inspired you?
RA: For this project, talking with the brand team, I liked to propose that it be inspired by the most iconic elements of its brand mixed with the classic psychedelic posters of great artists of that time and also with my personal touch, it is a sum of several things that I think they make this project so good.
EB: What does music mean to you as an artist?
RA: For me, it is life, in my day at work, which is very lonely, music is an essential part of my process, it is a total inspiration to create.
EB: Do you play a musical instrument or have you had anyone close to you in your life who plays?
RA: Personally, I always focus very strongly on graphic arts and do not venture into music, but I do have many musician friends and we have talks that are very similar in terms of our processes.
EB: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to jumpstart their career as an artist?
RA: That they do it with passion, everything else will come by itself, when one is passionate he does it with love, investigates, sweats, battles and gives his best. Success is a consequence of good work, not an end.