Chichapu. The richness of the Peruvian culture under the gaze of David Angulo

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With an evocative graphic style that is reminiscent of the balanced equilibium that characterizes modernism, Spanish artist David Angulo brings to life a hybrid synthesis of rectilinear and curved shapes that are directly linked to the essence of the pre-hispanic tocapu graphic style.

In doing so, Angulo re-stages ancestral geometric design, offering us a fresh, contemporary perspective that pays tribute to the vibrant chromatic charafter of legendary chicha poster art, and the technical imperfections that make it a unique and distinctive genre-and one which, due to its ubiquitous presence throughout the urban landscape; offers us a locally-relevant and explosive expression of modernity.

The graphic motifs that Angulo has selected for re-interpretation are the most readily recognizable themes, signs and semaphores that are omnipresent in the Peruvian imagination and imaginary. They are, therefore, those that are also the most susceptible to being shared as global and universally identifiable icons---but with a twist: stylized llamas, traditional Cusqueñas checking messages on their mobile phones, or criss-crossed lines that harken popular religious motifs.

As graphic devices that link the ancestral to the contemporary, the Chichapu realizes a unique cultural and artistic link that seeks to integrate the best of two worlds in a single vision.

And if Angulo has opted to exploit the uni-dimensionality and simplicity of a modernist linear style, it is because it is that which depicts in the most exemplary manner that higher ground where Western artistic abstraction and prehispanic depictions achieve an encounter and establish a dialogue. A discourse which, from time in memoriam, brings together and places in movement the outermost realms of our world and its history.

Rodrigo Quijano. Curator.

David is a graphic designer, graduated from Istituto Europeo di Design (Madrid). He has a solid career, linked to the world of branding and corporate communications. Having worked in renowned companies such as Interbrand and McCann Erickson, he has participated in important branding projects, such as the creation of the new global identity of Repsol, and local projects in Peru, such as the portolio of AJE Group (“Cielo” water), and international projects, including Volvo, Opel or Turespaña, among many others.

What has been the most rewarding contribution to your career after being at La Stanza, so close to our customs?
La Stanza itself. After deciding to take a trip for several months traveling around the world, having this experience allowed me to share knowledge, meet interesting people and learn from other references and cultures.

How did your view about the peruvian artistic references that you had before changed?
Peru was one of those cases in which you travel to a country with an idea, and come back with the feeling of being in a totally different country, with an improved sensation. It was very similar to my culture, and nothing to do with it, at the same time.

The mixture and influences of Asian, Spanish and prehispanic cultures, which also lives in a context of past and future simultaneously, made me tremble with emotion. Although the days in Lima were gray with “donkey’s belly”, the convulsión of cultures is what gave each day a different color.

What representations of our tradition reflected you the past that binds Spaniards and Peruvians?
I clearly saw the union and fusion of both cultures at an architectural, pictorial and religious level. But it’s people’s personality what really made me feel at home. Perhaps, more manners and formal ways when talking to a stranger are still preserved, than it is in Spain.
And that made me feel more than welcome.

What inspire you the most for the development of Chichapu?
As I mentioned, this unexpected mix of Spanish, inca, Asian cultures. Past, present and future, all in one place.

What was the base of the contemporary look that you gave to the ancient geometric design in Chichapu?
My specialty in design is branding. People who dedicates to this tends to communicate through symbols, in the same way that the pre-Hispanic cultures did, through the tocapu.
That’s why I found the most appropriate way to convey what I was living in Peru today, using an ancient code.

Moreover, I used the “chicha printing”, a popular contemporary graphic art, known for the use of fluoride colors in posters, providing that vibrant touch that I felt being there. The final name came from this mix.

What is the most valuable thing you could rescue from your experience at La Stanza?
My work partners. Armando, who was someone inspiring all the time, and who opened the doors of his house and the possibility of developing the project; Eduardo who welcomed me as a brother and countryman, Pau, Maita, Fran, Jupio, Lili … even Panchita, who had my coffee ready early in the morning, always with a smile on her face.

Sounds an easy answer, but it was. After traveling for so long by myself, such treatment is commonplace for many, but for me was an absolute gift.

What did you like the most about the professional mechanics and work in Peru?
I clearly saw two pillars in Studio A-Interbrand that I liked and that I’m sure that are the key of the work quality that takes place there: Armando Andrade leadership and professionalism, and the quality of the team.
If the head of a consulting brand is a leader in the art world, accompanied by a team with such level, the result is a success. All this is happening in a very pretty place, with garden and pool in the center of Lima. It’s impossible not to like this work mechanic!.

If you had the chance to come back and develop another artistic representation, based on the richness of our culture, what would you do?
Definitely, I would like to develop some textile project. The fabric, patterns and prints treatment seemed wonderful, plus Peruvian textiles are now very fashionable worldwide, as a graphic communication and expression support.