How many times have we wondered if we are really doing things right or going the right way?
My name is Jonathan Cortés Cañamar, I’m thirty years old and I’m a Mexican illustrator living in Montreal, Canada.
Since I was a child I was a very witty, spontaneous and hyperactive person. Thanks to this, I practised different sports for many years along with other activities such as music – this remains one of my greatest passions along with painting and illustration.
I don’t consider myself very good at expressing myself through words, so through the years I’ve been looking for the means to transmit emotions and feelings. Illustration crossed my path; call it coincidence, destiny or need… I like to think that I was born for this and better yet, I’ve began to believe this.
From a very young age I always liked to colour, collect stamps and imagine worlds and stories. Though it was not until the age of twenty-four when I realised that I really wanted to and could live from this. I am one of those people who think it is never too late to start something.
I made the decision to study the career of Digital Multimedia as it encompassed a bit of everything and I thought that at the end I would have a greater advantage in finding a good job. But, you know what? I learned that everything depends on me. I am responsible for my success. Ideas and barriers are a product of mindset. All is mental. Of course there will be failures and falls, but this is part of life.
‘I am one of those people who think it is never too late to start something.’
Mexico is a beautiful and privileged country because we have practically everything in one territory, from beaches to deserts to snow. Not forgetting the beautiful and exceptional culture and its food and language. The negative aspect I find in Mexico is the lack of interest in art. I think we still need to promote art more to be on par with other countries.
‘I think we still need to promote art more…’
I am a person who loves to travel. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than getting to know other cultures, traditions, foods, architecture and above all… art and history. Nothing comes close.
Everything, absolutely everything that surrounds me motivates me to create. What moves, blinks, shines, laughs, flies; I think life is beautiful and fascinating. The fact that each individual looks and perceives their environment through a different mind, and you can see this through art, is simply unique and astonishing.
Before starting a project I feel nervous, because I don’t know if the client will like it or not. In my own experience however, what I can guarantee is that you must do it your way. Of course you have to adapt to certain parameters and requests, but that’s what makes it more interesting. If a client is looking for, or commissioning you, it is because he trusts your work and likes what he has seen and what you are capable of doing. Sometimes retrospectively, I surprise myself with the types of work I’ve done. I’ve doubted and questioned my work, thinking I could not illustrate. This fear is normal. Each new project is a path to discover, but seeing the project finished is simply exceptional.
I can’t define or limit my style since I’m a person who suffers from anxiety and I like to constantly be experimenting and trying different approaches. What I simply cannot miss when illustrating is a good album or playlist that matches what I want to reflect in the illustration I’m working on. Music makes me create in a much more natural and direct way. Overall though, in the end, I think that if you like your work, it makes it yours.
Something very peculiar happens to me when I’m working on an illustration. I usually show it to a family member or friend and if that person tells me that they like it or they love it, I will still usually change it if I feel the need.
‘In the end I think that if you like it, it makes it yours.’
This is because I must ultimately be the one that is happy with the end result. I still appreciate that everyone has their own way and opinions when it comes to illustration, and that’s great. However…
… I must always be on the right path.
Jonathan Efrain Cañamar is a freelance illustrator from Mexico, currently residing in Canada.
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