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Javier Mariscal

Javier Mariscal

Spain (1950)
Headshot of designer.

It is difficult to categorize Javier Mariscal's work: his creative endeavors cover the gamut of material and conceptual media. Working solo, in collaboration, and since 1989 as principal of Estudio Mariscal, he has had a hand in the creation of the corporate image for the Barcelona Zoo, TV and Internet animations, textiles for Nani Marquina, furniture for the Memphis group, comic characters such as El Señor del Caballito and Twipsy, illustrations and stories such as Metrópolis, retrospective exhibitions, an Olympic mascot, the Acuarinto playground at a Nagasaki theme park, and the theatrical production Colors. Some of his most provocative projects have been multidisciplinary in which art and humor–mingled through words, images, and acting–conspire to send subversive, witty, and occasionally controversial or personal messages.

While the artist has been dubbed the Peter Pan of Spanish design for his work's simple, dreamy, child-like qualities, that label can be misleading because it disregards the presence of an underlying social commentary. However, to extend the metaphor, Mariscal, like Peter Pan, is at home in the alternate realities he creates. In Barcelona since 1971, he has drawn inspiration from city life for small projects, such as the postage-stamp sized pen and ink illustrations for Barcelona Un Dia, an anthology of stories about the city, and larger, more environmental installations like El Gran Hotel (1977), an exhibition of his own work set against the backdrop of an imaginary hotel from the 1950s that included a reception desk, bar, lounge, bedroom, bathroom, radios, televisions, and furniture from that era. He introduced Cobi to the world and created the Olympic corporate identity for the 1992 Barcelona games. More recently in celebration of his own fiftieth birthday he produced Colors (2000), an ambitious multimedia play about the history of color and visualization.

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