The tradition persists in the Malaga Film Festival. In the cinematographic meeting of southern Spain, for 24 years, designers from all over the world have been summoned to create a poster alluding to the event. And this year, to everyone’s surprise, the winner of the contest was not Spanish. Ramiro Guevara, a 53-year-old from Caracas, set Luz de Málaga as the official poster of the festival that ends on June 13.
“The image is constructed from a set of concentric white lines that partially delineate a first sphere. This first flash is a starting point from which successive rings of colors, shapes and contrasts are released, until the area is surpassed, giving the sensation of an effect of lights that transcends space and time. This projection generates the visual experience of a Light of Malaga, unique, continuous and infinite, which is expressed with animated lines of multiple colors, movements, sounds and rhythms, recreating a space that grows without borders, that speaks to us of diversity, of celebration. and meeting ”, wrote the designer about his proposal.
On March 29, it was publicly known who had won the contest. For Guevara, who already knew the verdict, it was his star moment. “At the Cervantes Theater there were journalists, personalities from the cinema, museums, the jury, representatives of the government and the festival. And then I was on a huge screen from Miami answering questions, a little nervous, but excited. They give this a lot of importance because it is the image of the festival ”, says the winner, who received 3,000 euros as a prize.
The Spanish saw materialize, once they discovered who was behind the poster, the idea of plurality pursued by the Malaga Film Festival. “Venezuelans are part of that diversity that, now, is stronger than ever in the world. We do good things too. They are always speaking ill of Venezuelans, but there are many doing extraordinary things inside and outside the country. One always keeps in mind what the cartel represents, but it goes further because it is almost always related to Venezuela. There is a great responsibility because I give a message with every job I do ”, says the designer.
The final decision was unanimous. Among 135 proposals, the jury was captivated by what the Venezuelan teacher and graphic designer had raised. But it was not easy to get to Luz de Malaga. The contest rules warned that the posters had to be colorful, in addition to other technical requirements, but the idea was still too abstract to execute. He must have thought carefully about his proposal.
“At the festival they don’t want to represent anything specific, the concept is very open. I was able to look for classic elements, like a tape, but that now does not make sense, we are not talking about a nostalgic cinema. But yes, that light starts from Malaga. And for me it was also like a projection. Just like in those old cinemas where, if you looked up, you could see the light, with its colors, from the projector with its respective dust particles. I wanted to put all of this on the poster ”, explains the graphic designer.
To create the work he went through an intense study phase. He reviewed the winning posters from past editions to decipher the profile, the common line that the works keep. He looked for information about the city of Malaga and always went back to the bases to make sure he complied with them. Then he began to shape it, he opted for the graphic route through a vector program and, between intuition and reasoning, he made three sketches. They resembled each other, but there was one in particular who wanted to finish. And once he got it, he sent it to the contest without much expectation.
Color was the key and Guevara thought first of the Malaga light, but also of its two main references: the teachers Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesús Soto. “Some of them got into the work, for example, there is kinetic influence with the projector, with the light (in general) and that led me to the idea. With color I wanted to convey the diversity of all the projects that go there. They come from everywhere and there are different formats: movies, short films, series and documentaries. It is a festival that is projected to the whole world ”, he adds.
Perhaps from experience or ingenuity, but the designer always went one click further: he already knew that, in addition to the poster, what the Malaga Film Festival was looking for was an image for the festival. In fact, he sent all the files in vectors so that they could be manipulated and hung in any format. Thus, with the image of Guevara they created all the pieces for the twenty-fourth edition of the event.
“I don’t know if they are going to print the poster. They’ve done everything: animations, movie introductions, car wraps, and banners. But I don’t think we see a poster taped to a wall. And in that sense, I always thought that the poster was conceived for an audiovisual festival and I wanted that graphic to be animated, I already imagined it in motion. I wanted to give them a project where they knew what the next step was, ”he points out.
The designer considers himself a perfectionist and recognizes that the public will notice if something is wrong. And with this in mind, it is difficult for him to close a job, because he can always do more. However, for this particular project everything was ready, even the tiniest detail attended to before sending the final version to the jury. Generally speaking, the poster did it fast. But most of the time it was directed at final adjustments. And it was very natural for him because the contest went hand in hand with audiovisual production that is intertwined with graphic and communication design.
Like any other, the Caracas designer spent the pandemic locked up at home. And, between his work and family life, he began to look for contests and proposals where he could participate. Suddenly he came across the Spanish film event and didn’t think twice. In October he sent the project and continued with his life and work. So when he got the call in March, he was absolutely shocked.
“When I answered the first call I was excited, I had not finished assimilating what was happening. It was when I calmed down that I began to feel the emotion rise within me. I told my daughter that I had won an award, it was there that I realized how excited and encouraged I was. Then the artistic director called me and the conversation was a bit more relaxed. They were very attentive to me. Every step they took, they were commenting on me; The pieces that were being put together were also sent for him to see. I mean, it was always a very cordial treatment. Everything was cool, “he says.
From a very young age, Guevara’s father introduced him to graphic design. “My dad had some companies and he would put me next to him on a drawing board with Chinese ink, electric erasers, all by hand. He made images that others worked on and made the final composition of posters, logos, postcards or press announcements. Looking back I understood why I had studied design. It was something he did from a very young age, he would be about 14 years old, even under pressure. I liked it and I still like it ”.
Despite his experience, educational training was indispensable for him. That is why he studied Visual Communication at the Caracas Prodiseño Association between 1990 and 1994. Later he was a professor at that institution and was part of the board. There he gained experience in making posters and graphic design pieces. Later, he worked as a teacher at the National Experimental University of Yaracuy between 2009 and 2012. Today he misses his role as a teacher and remembers with great enthusiasm all the commitment that involved teaching, interacting with his students and helping them with their projects.
Guevara founded the communications company Ideograf in 2006, he was art director of the Alejandro Otero museum between 1995 and 1996, art director for the companies Preámbulo and MetaPlug; He has worked for projects with the Andrés Bello Catholic University, the Central University of Venezuela, the Science Museum, the Polar Foundation, the Jacobo Borges Museum and the National Art Gallery. He currently works as an art director (freelance) for a company in New York and another in Dubai.
He also worked with El Nacional, made the zero design of the Eme magazine, a model on which the other editions are made. He participated in some anniversary editions and created inserts on various topics (science, health, sports) that people collected. “That was a very beautiful time. But the most sympathetic work we did in El Nacional was Con todo, a page that came out on Wednesdays on politics and Caracas issues. It had an irreverent tone that wanted to be youthful, but with serious themes. That page was run by José Carvajal and it was just great, ”he says.
Regarding the situation of graphic design in Venezuela, Guevara considers that it has deteriorated significantly. He says that currently the institutions work at a slower level and that many schools have closed; others have lost part of the budget that came from private companies and state agencies. However, he knows that there is talent in his country. “In Venezuela there is a lot of knowledge due to the tradition that exists. Many designers have created a strong foundation that projects onto other designers. This transmission of knowledge continues to happen and I don’t think it will stop ”.
He lives in the United States with his family. They have been living in Miami for three years. Migrating was a process that he had in mind, he wanted to know other countries and expand his knowledge. However, he would like to return to Venezuela. In addition to the affection he feels for his country, he still has his home and a workshop in Caracas. While at the Malaga Film Festival they reproduce Luz de Malaga, Ramiro Guevara is working on the project of a chair, an industrial design, for a competition in Italy.