Javier Jaén (Barcelona, 1983) is one of the most brilliant and creative minds to come out of Spain. Passionate about his work, he moves with such versatility between illustration and design, which at times blur the lines between them. It’s curious to discover that when he was younger, Jaén’s biggest interest was around sound, as in the world of radio, instead of the visual arts. He even gave some thought about becoming a journalist. Eventually though, he ended up pursuing an arts certificate, which would begin him on his visual path. It was there that he began to forge his peculiar and now characteristic way of framing his projects, tying together those two worlds: the purely communicational and the visual, something that up until now has become his house brand.
Work by Javier Jaén has now hit an international audience. Through a stroke of great dedication and passion for what he does, Javier captures a space for himself in the world of graphic communications. As a great testament to this, a large portion of his commissions come from the US, where his illustrations have commonly appeared in such prestigious outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post and National Geographic. In Spain, his work is often featured in national media like La Vanguardia and El País Weekly. Add to his illustrations in print, his noteworthy book cover designs and also his work as a professor at different design schools, something he affirms to be very important in his life.
Javier Jaén’s primary interest is communication: to tell stories, to comment on things and to make people think. For this reason, he advocates for the need to get up close to each project in order to understand its idiosyncrasies. And still, his projects amaze while keeping on display the constant state of alert Jaén finds himself in, always aware of what surrounds him. Hence his ability to capture inputs, pass them through a sieve, creating new associations, in a process that yields something entirely new. Everything is subject to such influence, and the reason why his work is always so surprising. This, together with his intelligent use of humor and irony, results in an offering that agitates and convulses the spectator in a particular way.
His most personal work –that he fervently defends while trying to maintain it at a distance from his outside commissions – is continuous and presents itself as something intrinsic to his person. It is here we discover the real depths to Jaén, ones that compel him to experiment and play with his own limits. And it’s curiously this most personal work, which ends up perpetuating more inspiring work, work which harks back to his desire to investigate and to take risk.