Acacio Ortas is a French Artist living and working in Strasbourg. Acacio is now represented by Gass and working on the look and creative vision for our Midnight Chardonnay Festival 2017. We caught up with Acacio to learn more about him as an artist and talk about his inspirations and current work.
GASS: Hello Acacio, where are you from and how did you get into art?
Acacio Ortas: Hello, I’m from the suburbs of Paris. I grew up in my parents studio where they used to work. My mother is an illustrator too and she did a lot of engraving during the 90’s and the 2000’s. My father is a painter and drummer in garage rock bands. As a kid I was always with my parents and their friends, people living for art with the minimum of money. So that made it really natural for me to live for my passions.
GASS: Your illustrations are unique and very twisted. Sometimes it feels like they are coming straight out of Windows 95, sometimes like it could have been made in the 70s and then some of your work could also be just an upgraded version of medieval painting . Where do you get your ideas from?
Acacio Ortas: Most of my inspirations came from my childhood bedroom, from comics to video games or everyday stuff that stayed stuck in my brain. I’m mixing it with what I see today. I take characters from people I meet in everyday life like a guy in a carpool, I’m trying to imagine him in an universe inspired by traumatic video games and a peaceful children’s books. Of course there are a lot of Artists who inspire me today. When I was a child I had a kids drawing software called “Kid Pix”, I think it’s something which has guided me to today.
GASS: You are French and you are from Strasbourg. Do you think national identity is important to you and your art? How do you see yourself in the art world as a French man.
Acacio Ortas: I’m just living in Strasbourg for my studies. It’s really a great city for illustration. I’m quite happy to live in France, there are a lot of fanzines, festivals, a lot of really talented artists and authors, people in the micro-edition sphere are helping each other. Here I don’t pay for my art studies and the state gives me money each month to help me to live, it’s a really good thing too.
But I don’t think the national identity is so important for me, except for the big art culture heritage. In my stories and drawings I like to use quite generic spaces, clothes and details for my characters. Its not really important to look like a specific country, I just want it to look like an accidental hell place.
GASS: Is music important to you? Do you connect the music you listen to your work ideas? What kind of music turns you on?
Acacio Ortas: Yes, I listen to a lot of music. I’m also a DJ so I spend a lot of time on the internet to dig for music and discover new artists. I’m really into English music, Jungle, Grime, Uk Garage, Speed Garage, Uk Funky, Dub, Bassline etc. I’m crazy for all those funny basslines, it’s quite exotic in France.
I also listen to classical music and video games OST’s. When I’m drawing most of the time I listen to stuff like Brian Eno and Harold Budd but if for example I have to draw sexy girl characters then I’m going to listen to some good cheesy House music. Listening to music like dark D&B or strange Grime beats makes me really see and imagine stuff that I want to draw, but it’s really hard for me to translate it through drawing.
GASS: You seem like a guy who has a wide and colourful fantasy. Do you like to experiment much with different art forms/tools. What is your favorite thing or something you're into and working with / on now?
Acacio Ortas: Yes, I like to think of other medias to develop my universe; films, music, installation or video games. But drawing is the most natural way to express my abilities. I like to draw simply with lines, after which I’m just thinking of the colors for the printing process I’ll use. Recently I used screen printing to print my last book.
GASS: Your work is very animated. It often feels like stills from various cartoon series. Now that you've graduated can we expect you to do moving images?
Acacio Ortas: I’m trying sometimes but I have trouble finding a good way to do it, I don’t really like to draw on the computer anymore; maybe if I buy a better pen tablet. I tried classic handmade animation too, but of course it takes very long. I really want to make more animation soon, mostly because it allows me to use sound and voice and it’s just what I miss sometimes when I’m working on comics, to give the tone and the way characters talk.
GASS: What are you plans for the near future? What can we expect from Acacio Ortas in the next season?
Acacio Ortas: I will continue my illustration studies in Strasbourg for another two years and next year I’m suppose to live in Leipzig for 6 months. I’m working on a point-and-click video game with my friend Nicolas Guine and we’re also going to start a fanzine together. On my own stuff I’m working on a few ideas for new comic books, and the follow up to my last book Zen Park.