Barcelona based illustrator Joan Cornellà admits that he’s had an unusual imagination since his early childhood. Labeled as the “king of absurd”, though colorful and playful on the outside, his artwork intentionally oversteps boundaries on topics of race, gender, drugs, and every social taboo imaginable. His images are populated by funny and always happy figures that live in a twisted world of happiness, he says, and they have no time to be politically correct.
Cornellà, whose insanely demented Mox Nox book is featured in our upcoming Volume 39, credits his work as being incredibly diverse, inspired by comedy sketches like Month Python and other artists like Glen Baxter, Helge Reumann, and Spanish cartoonist Molg H. Working primarily in watercolor on paper, his simple images convey all that he finds humorous.
For his current solo show at Spoke Art gallery in San Francisco, Cornellà pokes fun at such topics and cuts to their core with gags and minimal visual clues, illustrating scenes of cannibalism, infanticide, deification, murder, suicide and amputation, used most frequently. He says, “I think we all laugh at misery. It’s the most hilarious thing. And death, we all think about death but we don’t want to talk about it. So if you talk about death in a funny way it can be sort of cathartic.” And despite his no-holds-barred attitude on the internet, he’s gained over 3 million followers to keep him motivated. But he’s not laughing at success. “Nobody laughs at success, success just produces envy.”