'Ojo Jaguar', a label inspired by the Oaxacan mysticism around mezcal

César Canseco is an Oaxacan illustrator and graphic artist. He started his artistic project in Mexico City where he seeks to communicate his personal insights and the impact of the day to day. Mezcal Verde represented his canvas to capture all his memories of the senses, aromas, sights and sounds from Oaxaca.

How does your interest in art and illustration sparked?

Since childhood, I have been naturally attracted to graphics: volumes, shapes, color, etc.; visual experiences and the appreciation of space shape a large part of my intelligence. Mixing everything up with the context in which I came from and the access I had to art archives back in Oaxaca. Making the decision to become an illustrator has been a very erratic path for being self-taught, also for falling short of role models in my early years.

How does your project as César Canseco started?

I am at a stage of my work in which I am assuming both professionally and personally my artistic nature. This new stage of my project began here, in Mexico City in 2019, and I owe it to the artists with whom I have connected in recent years; I owe it to the city, and I owe it to my creative restlessness that was often diminished by my personal insecurity and that now heals as well as me. At this stage I leave behind the pseudonym that I used for several years and I became the project in progress.

What is the most joyful part of your work?

Self-conscience is what fulfills me the most. The exercise of learning new ways of solving an image, quick sketches, or huge analog or digital studies. My personal work satisfies me emotionally / spiritually and is the foundation from which I build the rest, namely the way I sell my work. Without the first there is no second.

Which are the techniques you use the most? 

Talking about my work as a business I will always prefer digital files. My main tool is Photoshop, then Illustrator, the reason is that these files allow me the non-destructive editing of a project, and consequently a better workflow with my clients. Related to my personal practices, I allow myself working with formats such as pencil and paper, ink and paper; one of my favorites is gouache and paper because of the shape and texture that the pigment leaves when you leave it resting.

Which are the subjects, narrative and statement of your work?

The most regular subject in my personal work is diligence, live by creating. I am afraid of dying with the idea of "what could I've done". Within this path the somatization of my emotions has also always been present, I have lived without knowing how to put words to my feelings, so I made the act of drawing my catharsis. At the same time, there are many things in everyday life that feed my visual curiosity, such as music, sculpture, food, architecture and even human relationships and the exchange of knowledge.

Which was your inspiration behind this label for Mezcal Verde?

‘Ojo Jaguar’ is a personal vision of the Oaxacan mystique that exists around mezcal. The mask is the face of alchemy; the eye, the door of perception that the substance opens. My inspiration is the weather from Oaxaca, his dry heat and the dust that sticks to my face. The color of the ground and the smell of rain. The music and the dance that comes out of nowhere.