Máximo Tuja likes to be called and known as Max-o-matic. Born in Buenos Aires in 1975, Max is a terrific artist creating very innovative and imaginative designs, illustration, and colorful collages. Living and working in Barcelona since 2002, Max is working with such varied media that it’s difficult to say what is his key area in art. Over the years he’s developed a signature style of his own that is instantly recognizable and inimitable. Having his work exhibited in many galleries around the world, he’s worked for some of the top brands of the world. The quality and extent of his work is so rich that we had trouble selecting his artwork images to showcase with this interview. Max is here with us to tell us a bit about himself and awesome art he creates:
Hello Max! Tell us a bit about yourself and things you like:
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 2002 i´m living and working in Barcelona. I studied Communication Sciences. I work as a designer, illustrator and collage artist. I like doing what I do. I like playing guitar and making noisy music. I like playing football with my son. I like lots of stuff.
The journey that took me to art was long and quite random. Skate, punk rock, fanzines, university, music, friends and other various items influenced me and helped me to find my way of expressing myself through art. Milestones… there are many, but maybe the most significant was making my first fanzine in 1995. That was the spark that started the fire.
Do you have an artist statement? How does art affect you as a person?
Art is, from my point of view, a way of telling stories in a personal subtle and, most of the times, illegible way. I see art as action and not as theory. For me art is something to get my hands dirty with. In my personal life, art is the 25% of day time life and a nice way to meet nice people doing stuff that I like.
I love music and I´m always trying to form the next band that rock the world. But, no… haven´t got luck with this yet. So I spend most of the time working on collages…
How do you create your artwork? How much time does it take finishing a piece?
When I start collaging, most of the times I start with a general idea of what I want to transmit. Then I often define the “production rule” that will guide my process; this is a simple rule that I will have to stick to in order to produce that particular series of collages. Next step is to scout for books and magazines to cut. For this purpose I have a personal collection of books and magazines that is always growing. Depending on what I want to say in this collage I will pick one or other book. I do not look for THE right image, but a general feeling of all the images.
Before this process, most of the times I have decided a color palette that I will use and that helps me to find “the book”. Usually I select a couple of books or magazines and I only work with two or three books at a time -I can´t work with 10 books on the table. Next step is starting to cut; i use a x-acto knife and scissors. I cut for hours without evaluating what I’m cutting and what i will do with that. I form small piles of cuts and I always leave the scraps near, in a place where I can easily see them. After hours, days or sometimes weeks of cutting (depending the project) I start composing and finding stories living in all these images that I had cut.
Most of the times my initial idea has evolved into something new. Next step is to glue the pieces. Most of the times I like brutal and expressive gluing. I love seeing how the glue is present in the piece; when I want this I use regular liquid glue. And if I want to keep it neat, i use the good old UHU stick (or Pritt, that´s most common in Spain).
Time? Don´t know. Sometimes minutes. Sometimes months. Sometimes I keep adding stuff and working on one piece for a long time. Other times, things just get in the right place quite fast and I know that that piece is finished.
What is most challenging for you as an artist?
The balance of having an own identity as an artist and being fresh and spontaneous at the same time is quite a challenge.
Your style is very unique and distinctive. How did you arrive at such a style?
I can´t see where my style is different or similar with other artists. I´m not an analytic type of person; I´m not comparing other people´s work with mine to see similarities and differences. My style is just me; it’s how I am. I didn´t developed it consciously. It just appeared after hours and hours of work. I work hard and that defines me, my work and my style.
For digital collage: Photoshop and Safari. For paper collage: scissors, knives, glue, magazines and found stuff.
Tell us about your achievements and clients:
I´m quite proud of being able to show my work in more than 40 galleries around the world and curating almost 10 with my friend and partner-in-crime Rubén B and the Weird Show crew. Making great friends in the collage world seems like a real achievement.
Clients? Nike (Netherlands), EA (USA), Wired Magazine (Italy), Fast Company (USA), SAP (Germany) Sunday Times Magazine (UK), Beams (Japan), Gestalten (Germany), SAP / Euro RSCG (Germany), Telefonica (Spain), McCann Erickson (Italy), Pasajes Diseño (Spain), LAV Records (Spain)… and many more…
What are your future plans and projects?
Keep on doing the things I like with nice people. Projects: Publishing books, curating exhibits, making collages, learning guitar, running mid distance races and being the best dad I can.
Tell us about your sources of inspiration, favorite artists and things you do to stay motivated:
To know about my favorite artists, check www.theweirshow.info and check all my posts. There are all my favorite artists. I never thought about how I kept myself motivated. I just like what I do.
All art images used with permission. Please do not copy or distribute without the approval of the artist.