Manuel Arriaga and the presence of animals in his cartoons
Interview by Francisco Puñal Suarez (Journalist)
In 2020, this Spanish cartoonist has won two international awards, one in Romania and the other in India, with his works on this theme.
“I love drawing animals in my cartoons, it's my favorite subject, and I think it shows. I think that humanizing animals has always been funny and you can also be ironic with their behavior lessons. Someday I will try to publish a book that compiles my works where the use of anthropomorphism is present, that is, the attribution of human qualities to what is not human ”- says Manuel Arriaga (Ciudad Real, 1954), a plastic artist with a sparkling line and humorous ideas.
This year that is ending, Manuel was awarded at the Humodeva Cartoon Contest, in Romania, for the cartoon with the humorous gag in which a row of jungle animals is seen giving condolences to Chita and Jane because Tarzan has died. And at the International Cartoon Contest Jai Jagal, from India, he was awarded First Prize with an editorial work against the death penalty, which full of irony shows a crowd looking at an executed by hanging, while passing by there a dog and his son who he covers his eyes so that he does not see the unfortunate event.
Now that Arriaga is retired, he has more time to draw. "I draw practically all day," he affirms, "I make sketches of ideas that I then put in a folder, to later use some in a final drawing. I like to start early in the morning, after taking a walk, and then go into my attic - I study for two or three hours. Inspiration comes to you at any time and in any place, although many times it is difficult for you to get a good idea of a specific topic. It is not so easy to give birth to a good vignette. Contests give you the option to submit works that range from white humor to the most critical and corrosive caricature. Personally I prefer humor that is not too offensive, but sometimes you have to get a little acid to pillory the injustices that surround us ”.
Arriaga is a graphic humorist with an outstanding career recognized internationally, which has earned him mentions and awards in Holland, China, Spain, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Romania, India, Belgium, Mexico and other countries. His graphic work is permanently exhibited in the Museum of Graphic Humor of Fene (A Coruña), Museum of Graphic Humor of El Toboso (Toledo); Quevedo Graphic Humor Museum, in Villanueva de los Infantes (C. Real), and “Fernando García Garreta” Museum of Graphic Humor in Beas de Segura (Jaén).
From his recent ironic caricature with the presence of the absurd, of the bull that is arrested by the police, Arriaga states: “The issue of bullfighting gives a lot of itself to make critical vignettes. I do not like bullfighting at all, I am against the suffering of the bull in this show and others, although I consider it a deeply rooted tradition (less and less) in Spain. Nor do I like evil with rogue rejoicing on social media when a bullfighter dies in the plaza. In this cartoon I am ironic with the arrest of the bull after goring, in legitimate defense, the bullfighter. I'm trying to get the humor out of this party ”.
I ask him: What do you think of how man is exterminating animal species? The wolf, whose natural habitat has been destroyed by man, for example, is massacred, and yesterday they gave the news that two bears were shot dead in Huesca and Palencia ... The hunters had permission to kill "problematic" species. . The shots were for wild boars and ... they shot bears!
“We are capable of the worst (also the best, without a doubt). I have gone hunting two or three times in my life, always after a rabbit. That was more than 30 years ago. But hunting an elephant, a giraffe or a rhinoceros for the pleasure of hunting I cannot conceive, even if it is "legal" hunting. I don't even tell you about poaching anymore, so between them, the future of the animals is quite uncertain. Hunting, in certain aspects, is still necessary, because it controls some species such as wild boar and rabbit. The case of the wolf is more complex, because we don't want him to be eliminated, but we don't want him to hurt either. It is a unique animal. Those guys who were authorized to kill wild boar and loaded two bears, give them a nice cane.