Posted on May 31, 2010




Máximo Tuja (Max-o-matic) was born in 1975 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  

He studied economics, quit economics, studied communication and read about Marx&Engels and their followers.  While listening to The Clash and other punk bands, he tells us he fell in love with the fanzine culture and became a true follower of D.I.Y. 

“I did everything by myself and in a year or two became aware of the words “design”, “layout”, “computer”, “absolute nonsence”, “art” and “anti art” among many others. Fanzine took me to design; design took me to books and magazines. Then came internet and all that stuff.”

Since 2002 Máximo has been living in Barcelona illustrating pasting images. 

“I try to create an imaginary world from torn pieces of the real world. I´m learning while i´m producing.”

He has been part of numerous collective shows in Argentina, Spain, UK, Belgium, Russia, U.S.A. and Japan, and had his first solo show in Barcelona in march 2008.  In 2006 he created the Latex for Fun project and edited the project´s book published by Gestalten in may 2007.

His clients include… Nike, EA, Sunday Times Magazine, Beams, Graniph, Gestalten, Telefonica, Pasajes Diseño, Picnic, Voices… etc.

Q.  How did you get into graphic design?

A.  I started through fanzines. I was into writing and made a fanzine with a couple of friends. I was the only one with a pc with PageMaker (software), so I got in charge of “designing” the zine. Five years and 30 zines later i was more into design than writing and got a job as designer. Those were my first steps.

Q.  You also work as an illustrator under the name of ‘Max-O-Matic’, would you define yourself more as a the latter or as a graphic designer?

A.  I feel i´m part of both worlds. Depending on the week, i may be more one or other. But, as they have lots of things in common, I´m not worried too much on defining precisely what i do. I love them both!         

Q.  What do you feel has been your most original and creative work to date?

A.  Hmmm… i´m not really sure. All i´ve done is part of a process where doing and learning is deeply involved, so i feel the latest works are better than the first ones because there are many lessons learnt in between them. I can´t choose one project that stands out from the rest. There are some that are important in my development as designer, illustrator and professional: Aludd (my first solo show), Latex for Fun (my first published book), my collaboration with Nike, Sunday Times, Electronic Arts, Beams Japan (first important corporate clients)… 

Q.  In 2006, you created the project ´Latex for fun´, can you tell us a bit more about this?

A.  The Latex for fun project was a crazy idea that ended up being a huge project. It started in the middle of the “designer toys” fever; I felt it was silly to pay a lot of money for a toy, and that creative people could do it by themselves for free. So Iencouraged my favorite artists to make a toy with only a balloon, a marker and some imagination. The result of this was really awesome; in only a few months more than 130 artists were involved.Then i presented the project to my favorite publisher (Gestalten, from Berlin) and they loved it and wanted to make a book out of it. At the time it was my dream come true. I couldn´t believe it! 

Q.  Last year, The UK’s Sunday Times asked you to build an illustration for them.       How did you come up with the ´Human kind mess´?

A.  Sunday Times asked me to illustrate a story by Julie Burchill called “Human Kind”. It was about a “a chauvinist who gets his comeuppance” (sic) and I had to show this apparently perfect guy who in fact was the most unkind person in the world. The illustration tries to show the character´s double life and moral, but in a subtle way. Illustrating a short story is quite a challenge, you can´t tell to much but you need to say something that invites the reader to dive into the text. This commission was fun, I had a great time during the process and I like the final result.

Q.  Your collages represent an imaginary world made from images of the reality.  Is it to subdue the toughness of the real world?

A.  I´m not sure about it. In the beginning I started working with collage because Iloved the mix of punk and dada aesthetics and I found a powerful language to say what i wanted. So, it started as an aesthetic choice more than a political one. Also the world i often create isn´t much friendlier than the real world.

Q.  You are a big fan of the ‘fanzine’ culture and mention is is a source of your inspiration.  Can you tell us a bit more about this?

A.  I started in design and illustration because of fanzines. Many of the movements that inspired my most showed their work through independent publishing (punk, dada, situationism, pataphysics). Before internet, fanzines are always a direct and fresh way to say something and to create a scene. And after internet things are quite different and fanzines may have turned more into artworks in itself were the focus is not only in what´s being said but also in how it´s said and how it looks. From how I see it, It has turned in a piece of artwork in itself.

Q.  What are you currently working on?

A.  After finishing a series of 42 collages for an exhibition in Berlin, now I´m working on a couple of fanzines that i´m really looking forward to see printed!

Q.  What are your plans for the rest of 2010?

A.  Learn as much as i can from all the things I´ve been doing lately.

Q.  What do hope to achieve in the future and how do you feel Pelime might help facilitate this?

A.  I haven´t got a big masterplan for the future. I hope I can keep on enjoying what I do and that I can keep on living from it. How pelime can help? Showcasing my work and connecting me with interesting people is a good start!

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