A conversation with the cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo
August 9, 2016
His Person disappears behind his work, is a shame for an artist is truly nothing of Honor. Only a few are broadcast aware that they are present, in addition to their images of themselves as equivalent total work of art: Dali’s mustache is at least as well known as his burning Giraffe.
Similar to that of Dalí the painter, who set fire to his animals, of course, never is a big Giraffe, usually with the name of the speech. The artist and the man Mordillo, however, does not disappear just behind his giraffe, but behind the legions of white male and female with thin legs, fat bellies and huge, bulbous noses, and bigger than the heads on which they depend. With his droll, surreal drawings based on short cartoons by Guillermo Mordillo has become in the seventies one of the most famous cartoonists in the world. For the photographer can be the elderly gentleman with a flat cap and round glasses on this summer day, however, undisturbed in the middle of a street in Munich, where he visited like every year, his German publisher. Mordillo, just 84 years old, of small stature and friendly nature, and his nose is distinctive, but by no means unusually large.
How to talk to people, you normally Say “Mr Mordillo”? Or just “Mordillo”?
It depends on whether or not they are my friends. Most of them call me Guillermo. But many others call me “Mordillo”. You think it’s my artist name.
Are you fascinated or even obsessed with Numbers. You know how many drawings have been carefully created you in your career?
I am keeping records of my Cartoons. Before the actual Cartoons I make small sketches, and each of them gets a number. Sometimes I write the day and time. I don’t know why, I just do it for me. In total, there are more than 2000 Cartoons.
The figures you draw, it’s called sometimes “The Mordillos” . . .
I forgot to give you a name. This is a shame, because with a name you would be known . . .
Like the Peanuts or the Smurfs.
The most famous Cartoon characters have names: Mickey mouse, Asterix, Donald Duck. In the case of my figures, but the people do not know how to call it. Therefore, they say Mordillos. And my Giraffe is the Mordillo-Giraffe.
Their goal was to create a character that everyone would love.
Every artist would like to create Cartoons that everyone loves. It is a kind of communication. We work so that people laugh. I draw to me the people hate.
Why do you think you became so successful?
Good Question. Maybe it’s because the people have the same dreams as I do. I bring not only Humor, but also a lot of tenderness in the Cartoons; perhaps the people feel that. ANSWER: And I think my characters have Charisma. This is mainly due to the nose. For professional reasons, I watch cartoons, movies on television, and some of the characters there have no nose and the eyebrows in the air. You have Charisma?
Your characters never talk, because you yourself, as you have said change, not a French to be understood, as published in France, their first Cartoons.
The first on 31. July 1966. At the time, I lived for three years in Paris, and I was still learning the language. I had just lost my Job, I was alone, had a couple of friends, but no family, and I had to do something to be able to stay in Paris or I would have had to go back with my tail between my legs to Argentina. A friend of mine, a newspaper cartoonist, and he asked me if I wanted to try that, too. That’s what I did. Two, three months I’ve looked in the various editors. The magazine “Pèlerin” has printed the first Cartoon. They paid me 56 Francs.
Your characters can mention confidently that you have no ears. You would already hear nothing.
And they usually have no mouth. Only sometimes open it.
And you see all virtually identical: they have the same hairstyle, almost never is greater, thicker, younger or older than the other.
I’ll show you also never close, for whatever reason. It is probably something Personal.
You might feel that you do not Believe in individuality was very marked.
(Laughs) I just like characters that are a little surreal. Even as a child I liked to draw realistic figures. You know my Giraffe? Her neck is long, but the Rest has nothing to do with a real Giraffe. So I had found my own handwriting.ANSWER: My characters have developed, I reduced the style. Men and women look the same. Most of the cartoonists to draw real Ladies (indicates with hands a curvy Silhouette), I. The only difference is Breasts are the (shapes with hands).
Whether you are in the jungle, on a desert island or in a skyscraper in a Metropolis-like city – have lost their little man a bit. A metaphor for the Homelessness of the people?
No. You are not aware of what is happening. They don’t realize the danger. I am in my life have been so. I left my home and went to Peru without any idea what I would do. Five years later, I went to New York, from there by boat to Europe. And again, I had no Plan. I’ve done such things as my characters.
They are landscapes of the only black-and-white elements in exuberant colour, also contributes to the lost. You seem isolated.
The I am self. The human being is ever alone. Alone not only in a house, on the street, in the stadium, on the planet – alone in the cosmos.
And what can help us to make the Isolation bearable?
The Imagination. We can think of something. On one of my Cartoons of a man sitting on a small island, and this island is the knee of a beautiful, under the water level of the sleeping lady. This is his imagination.
You feel somewhere in your home?
Hm. In The Cosmos? I don’t know it.QUESTION:
Are you a romantic?
Of course. Even as a child, I looked at the moon and the stars. I have chosen even a star, is my. I think it is Mars, it is a pretty red star.
You have not once said that love would last forever, but times twenty, sometimes thirty, sometimes forty years. They have been married for . . .
ANSWER: 1969. Since 47 Years.
What we have to do it for you?
Oh, I’m not going to talk about my private life (laughs)! No – I don’t know if you are married, but things change. You can see everything more realistic. When you get old together, then this is perhaps even more than love.
As probably the largest nose and the experts of the cartoonists, I would like to ask you to rate a few other Comic noses. What do you think of this?
This is great. Loriot has given to all men and women these lugs. It is a Loriot-nose, Mordillo-nose is larger. Loriot you don’t know very well in Germany, but outside of the country. His humour is very English. I liked him very much.
Here are two other nose of Asterix and Obelix.
Albert Uderzo. These lugs are of Loriot are very similar.
What is with this?
I don’t know. But it is funny. These characters are all sympathetic.
Then I have this nose . . .
I like that, too. The eyes look so similar to mine. But my nose is bigger!
And finally, this here.
One of the seven dwarfs from Disney. It was 1937, I was five, and in the cinema I saw it with my mother’s “snow white and the seven dwarfs”. For me, that was the beginning of everything.
Mordillo is not always to have been only art, but also a lot of Merchandising. Over the years, houses, mountains of Mordillo Puzzles and calendars, Mordillo-stuffed animals and much more found themselves in the purchase.
That’s true. Without the Merchandising of my characters would not have become so well known. I focus but on my Cartoons. It are my Partner, you bring it to life and part of everyday life for many people – whether as a calendar, game, clock, or bed linen.
You have earned a lot of money.
Of newspaper cartoons alone, you can’t live. Some of the signatories, to refuse, as Bill Watterson, the cartoonist of “Calvin and Hobbes”. And he went into retirement, as he was still quite young! Also Gary Larson has ceased. I don’t understand. If I stop then I die. I breathe in my Cartoons. You are my life, maybe a little too much.
The Merchandising article of Mordillo have been replaced in the shops, in the meantime, to a large extent by other. Is it true you sad that apparently the taste of the time has changed?
If you paint as a child a picture, then go to your mother and say: Look what I made. Me, as a signatory it is the only way. It doesn’t me the money, sorry, I would like to show my pictures.
Five years ago a movie with Mordillo was announced-figures. What has become of it?
We are working on it. I hear this often, that in the case of animation, the preparation of films takes so long.
They now live in Monaco. Why?
It was a professional reason-driven decision-making. I worked at that time in seven countries, including many in Italy, France, Spain and Germany. This required a lot of travel, which was from Mallorca quite cumbersome. The Côte d’azur had the advantage of a Central and well-connected. And I didn’t have to give up the sea.
And as it is in Monaco: boring?
Boring I would say. But: almost boring. It is a quiet, safe place, and if you’re over seventy, it is a good thing. As a younger man I would never live in Monaco. Next year it will be twenty years that I live in Monaco, and in all the years never has anyone there made an Interview with me. You ignored me.
Has reported, at least, the Prince of time?
We have shaken even the hands, as I was a member of a Jury. But he didn’t know who I am.
Comic art still seems to be not widely recognized.
Perhaps you will recognize in the future how much help Cartoons to the people. I could not live without a sense of Humor. Imagine a life without a sense of Humor. Especially in these times! Humor is the tenderness, the fear, this is a sentence I have said already thirty years ago. And now the fear is everywhere. Therefore, I can’t stop. We are signatory to, need to help – no matter what happens.
Born on 4. August, 1932, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as the son of an Electrician and a domestic staff. With 16 years he bought a draughtsman-diploma of a school of journalism at the age of 18 he made his first illustrations for children’s books. Citizens of the world: Five years, he lived in Lima, Peru, three in New York, after 17 years in Paris and 18 years in Mallorca. Since 1997, he lives in Monaco. Famous throughout the world for his Cartoons with funny giraffes, and other animals, as well as with small, thick men and women, all of them huge bulbous noses, and to find in the seventies and eighties were everywhere: in magazines such as the “star”, in books, on posters, Puzzles and post cards, as well as in trick films. This ran not only in television, but also the waiting time on numerous U the condensed stations-railway. Since 47 years, a son, a daughter, married. Loves football and Golf. Mordillo-calendar and Puzzles regularly appear in the Heye-Verlag.