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Subsign Spotlight #113: Jose Elgueta.

Subsign: First, can you tell us a few things about yourself?

Jose: I am Chilean and live in Santiago. I am 39 years old and studied graphic design. From the very beginning of my career, I have been dedicated to illustration, working on various projects, from animating children’s animated series to advertising. In the past couple of years, I have been able to fully dedicate myself to my artwork, which is based on the esoteric and shamanic Latin American world with a contemporary touch, primarily reflected in the use of color and shapes.

Subsign: What was your childhood like? Do you think your childhood experiences have influenced your present creative endeavors?

Jose: When I was a teenager, the world of urban art was a turning point in my journey. It fascinated me and perhaps was what motivated me to continue in the realm of drawing to this day. The colors and shapes come from that world; letters were never my strong suit, which is why I naturally shifted my focus towards muralism.

Subsign: What did you want to be as a grown up?

Jose: I’ve always wanted to be an artist; I’ve never had another path in my life. Perhaps I had to adapt with some jobs at times, but my goal has always been to be an artist.

Subsign: What does your workstation look like?

Subsign: Do you have a work style? How would you describe it?

Jose: My working style is entirely based on the esoteric and Latin American themes. These are the subjects that captivate my attention the most at the moment, and I have been focusing on enhancing my message in this area for a long time. Additionally, I strive to achieve a commercial aspect to my work, as I believe this will enable me to reach the widest audience possible with the message I am passionate about conveying.

In a way, I attempt to find a middle ground between what I enjoy and what may resonate with people. My intention is to connect with individuals and encourage them to contemplate the world.

Subsign: Can you share with us how your creative process works?

Jose: This process always begins with me seated, reviewing the internet, books, and sources of inspiration. Afterwards, I curate diverse interests into Pinterest albums, from which I draw references (symbols) that appeal to me. Following this visual journey, I sit down with my iPad and start sketching, which then leads to creating digital illustrations. These illustrations serve as the foundation for my paintings, toys, or ceramics. I always strive to engage in a variety of activities that keep my creativity flowing, as each discipline offers something new that enriches my art, which is my most important focus.

Subsign: What is your favorite work you have done so far?

Jose: The soccer field I designed for Adidas is my most significant milestone to date, both in terms of the client and the challenge it presented.

Subsign: Who do you follow for inspiration?

Jose: This topic is extensive. I draw from a plethora of references, including pre-Columbian ceramics and sculptures, books with alchemical drawings, and contemporary artists. James Jean is one of my favorites; I admire how he approaches his work not only in a pictorial sense but also in adapting his style to different mediums. This adaptability is profoundly important in my own work, as I greatly enjoy creating across diverse mediums.

I could mention significant names that have influenced my career: Jamie Hewlett, Neo Rauch, Aryz, Mike Mignola, Stanislav Szukalski, Katsuya Terada, Katsuhiro Otomo… the list could go on all day.

Subsign: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the creative field of work?

Jose: This question is asked of me constantly, and it holds great significance for me because I thoroughly enjoy imparting messages to new generations. I’ll start with the most common mistake: expecting the good to come too soon without putting in much work. In my view, the idea is to work, work, seek opportunities, and understand that time and hard work will unquestionably yield good results. Along the way, if you feel disheartened, which is natural many times, well, you feel down and then you bounce back and continue, but do not give up because what you want to achieve will inevitably come through your own efforts.

Subsign: If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Jose: Definitely, it would be to be invisible. The possibilities that exist are unimaginable.

Subsign: Can you recommend a book, a song and a movie, for our readers?

Jose: A book would be “Journey to Ixtlan” by Carlos Castaneda, a song “Lationamerica” by Calle 13, and a movie “Fight Club”.

Subsign: If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what special occasion would you choose?

Jose: I would find a venue where various disciplines I admire could be showcased. I would invite my top influencers and offer them the chance to engage in a creative and conversational setting, driven by the motivation to get to know them better. I would choose to do this on New Year’s Eve for the sense of a fresh start, filled with merriment and joy.

Subsign: What famous people would you invite to the party and why?

Jose: I would invite the foremost experts in their respective fields. Firstly, James Jean, in order to learn about his creative process and understand how that mind, always brimming with ideas, operates. Next, I would invite Jamie Hewlett; I am very interested to know what it felt like to work on such a significant project throughout his lifetime.

After that, I would invite Picasso, just to experience what the mind of a genius can offer me. Takashi Murakami would be another one of my guests to share his experience working with major brands and how to handle projects of that magnitude. En Iwamura would be the guest I’d invite to delve into the world of ceramics. I’d like to learn more about his contemporary vision of ceramics. Lastly, I’d invite Aryz to understand how the fine art world and giant murals function.

Thank you, Jose, for being a part of our Spotlight!

If you know an artist that should be in the spotlight, contact us at

For more of  Jose‘s work, you can follow his work on the links: Jose on Instagram, Jose on Behance.


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"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard."

Guy Kawasaki