Esteban Diacono – The Visual Fodder Interview
Esteban Diacono is a motion graphics designer based in Buenos Aires. We first came across his work on Instagram last year and like one of his beautifully twisted creations, our jaws dropped repeatedly as we explored his feed. He’s an absolute genius and also an all round nice guy.
On with the Q&A.
What’s your name?
My name is Esteban Diacono.
What is your Instagram name?
I’m @_estebandiacono on Instagram. Can’t really explain why the “_” before my name.
Where did you grow up and where are you now?
I grew up in Córdoba, Argentina. I lived there until my late 20’s, before moving to Buenos Aires (also in Argentina). I’ve been here for around 11 years now.
What’s your strongest memory from your childhood?
One particular summer (around ‘83) when there was a Circus right next to my house. Three months living close to elephants, tigers and lions is something difficult to forget.
What first made you interested in art?
My mother had one of those huge art book collections that you used to buy sending a coupon and a check by mail. I remember the first time I saw La Gioconda, Michaelangelo’s David and many of those classic art pieces. I was blown away.
What work do you most enjoying doing?
These days i’m really enjoying doing some experimental work. Playing around with new software tools has always been exciting, and these days is more exciting than ever.
Who are your main influences and who would you most like to collaborate with?
Difficult question, since there are so many great artists out there. I guess my main influence in many ways is Stefan Sagmeister, with whom I’ve collaborated many times now. His approach to design (and mostly, to life) has always been a huge inspiration.
These days I would love to work with so many people that is unfair to name one or even a few. There’s so many exciting things out there!
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I used to work with my mother in her grocery store for about 3 – 4 years. It was nice to be in the family business, but having to deal with people all day was exhausting. I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, so those years were not easy. I also used to play in a band, in local pubs and clubs. I did that for about 4 years, with my highschool friends, and it was incrediblyt fun while it lasted. Definitely one of my best memories.
Professionally and creatively, what’s your goal?
Not sure, to be honest. I’ve never aspired to create an empire, or to have an entry in Wikipedia. I’ve always loved this work, and i guess my goal is to continue loving it, not get bored or useless and continue challenging myself to grow as a better artist.
What does your typical day look like? Morning rituals etc…
I usually get up really early in the morning, like 5:30 or 6 in the A.M. I find those early hours of the day insanely productive since there are no distractions and for 4 or 5 hours I can devote myself completely to the work. After 11am, the day starts to get a little less rigid. I do some errands and shop for food, drink very unhealthy amounts of coffee, etc. I never know when to turn off the computer and call the day off, but i try to find some breaks to exercise a bit, maybe go for a run and definitely at some point in the evening go out and get a drink with the wife or with friends.
Do you ever get creative block and if so how do you break through this?
Oh my, all the time. I don’t know, I guess what works best for me is to make the effort to walk away from the problem for a while. Go out, see a movie, listen to some music, etc. The next morning things are always easier than the day before.
What’s your scariest experience?
Looking in the mirror and realise time won’t stop.
What’s your favourite art work of all time?
In terms of classical art, I think Michelangelo’s David. In terms of pop culture and more “modern” art, Spirited Away is my favorite movie, and a fantastic work of art.
What are your top five Instagram accounts.
That’s impossible to say. I follow and admire so many people that I wouldn’t know where to start.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A few years ago I did a self initiated video clip for an Icelandic artist named Olafur Arnalds. It was just a simple visualizer made of music reactive particles based on some readings about synesthesia, but people loved it for some reason. I got amazing responses to that piece. To name a few: A teacher who worked with deft kids and was using the video to enhance the musical appreciation of the kids; a family that was going through a rough time, with a very ill person who enjoyed watching the vides because she found it very soothing and relaxing. One time some folks asked me to use it in a wedding, and other time, some other people asked me to use it in a funeral. Really crazy amazing stuff. Oh, and cannot left out the time I was published in StarWars.com because of some photos I took of myself reading Harry Potter while wearing a Darth Vader helmet.
What makes you (incredible hulk) angry?
When people are irresponsible, the lack of commitment, all the nonsense we see in the world these days.
What superpower would you have and why?
I would love to be able to sleep 8 straight hours.
What is your dream project?
I have no idea. Probably one with amazing collaborators and no deadlines. And great pay. And on a beach. With free drinks every night.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Again, too many people to name just a few.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Uhm, I think Conan O’Brien’s last words on the Tonight Show really had an impact.
“If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
I think it’s a great piece of advice. I’ve even used it in lectures i’ve given.
What couldn’t you live without?
My drive. I can’t think of how my life would be if I wasn’t this kind of maniac, always hungry for knowledge person. I’m writing this answer at 4:30am because I had an idea so I jumped out of bed. And while the PC renders, i’m reading the news and watching a tutorial. And I love it, and I enjoy it, and can’t imagine a life without it.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Just “Thank you”.
. . . . . .
Thank you Esteban!