In the Buenavista de Sants bar they have framed a drawing of one of their most special clients. It’s a pencil, black-and-white, crappy stroke of a portrait of the protagonists of Eric Rohmer’s movie. Pauline on the beach. The author is Rocío Quillahuaman (Lima, Peru, 1994), one of the last phenomena of the illustration in Spain. Quillahuaman claims he doesn’t know how to draw despite his animated videos gaining popularity, prestige and work. It was precisely the lack of professional recognition that inspired his first creations, a humorous, anguish and crisp critique of the cultural world of Barcelona. Since gaining popularity two years ago, this audiovisual communication graduate has made exhibitions and projects for the Sitges Film Festival, the Primavera Sound or the digital Yorokobu. She is currently the editor ofOperation Triumphand prepares a book about her life experience: the leap from her childhood in Peru to succeed in Barcelona, a city with which she maintains a love-hate relationship.
Question. Many people write to her that she feels identified with her videos. What are they reflected in?
Answer. Especially when having to suffer the cretins of Barcelona. The modern people in this city care more about what you do than who you are. When I was unemployed, I realized that in this creative world, when you talk to someone, it seems like you have to describe your resume, that you only care about the job you have.
P. Is this not the case in other cities?
R. When I go to Madrid, I find people who are more open and warmer. I have friends from Madrid who tell me that this also happens there, but I have only lived in Barcelona. Barcelona is my nemesis.
P. He said that there are few real artists in Barcelona. How can we really distinguish an artist from an imposter?
R. The illustrator and friend Roberta Vázquez, for example, is an artist, because she has a concept, she has a personality, her voice is reflected in what she creates. There are many people in Barcelona who pretend to be artists to have the status of a modern artist, but they have no authenticity. Now I have become one more character in this circle. All those people who criticized, now follow me on Instagram, invite me to parties, see me and say hello. I’m part of them now, and I don’t know how to stop it!
P. He explained that Instagram has contributed a lot; he publishes animations in which he denounces the precariousness of the work he has suffered. Someone who wants to see their creations does not have to pay anything. Is it not contradictory to offer a job in this network for free and criticize that the pay in the world of culture is low?
R. Instagram was at first a way to send videos to friends. For me it was the medium where I expressed myself for friends and then it was for more people, people who connected with me, with things that I thought were crazy and were not. Now I have a feeling that I have to keep contributing content because you are online or you are not. You enter a circle where you are gaining audience and you have an obligation to contribute content. This also makes you lose grace, you lose naturalness. But I feel compelled to continue because I have a feeling that I can disappear from the internet. I would like to call the internet so that they let me disappear for three months and then come back with nothing changed, but this is not possible, and if you disappear from the internet then people forget about you.
P. He spoke at a conference at the CCCB that he has moral dilemmas. Which?
R. When you have no money, you are forced to work on projects that you do not like. If you had money you wouldn’t work for a bank because you have a few principles and you don’t want to work for a bank. There are brands that have offered me more money than those that offered me projects, and the dilemma is which one do I choose? if I have principles or I have no principles. I have rejected many projects, from Vodafone or the like; they are brands that do not represent me. I also rejected a job interview with a bank: just for interviewing in Madrid I was paid what I earn in a month.
P. If you can afford to refuse these offers, does that mean you are no longer a precarious person?
R. Last year was the best of my life, and I was fortunate enough to reject things like Vodafone. I wasn’t rich, but I had other projects, like the Primavera Sound or the Sitges Festival, which I like the most. The job a Operation Triumph I picked it up because I love the format, but I work in an office from eight in the morning to eight in the evening in Terrassa, and I have to go back to Barcelona every day, because I use it to live.
P. Many would like this kind of offer...
R. I know, but I’m unable to be happy. I’d love to love this job. I think I hate working.
P. He said that animations work best when he is angry, but at the same time he admits that he doesn’t like these drawings. Will you end up modifying this style that made it known?
R. Before, I was very angry, very angry, and I naturally transferred my emotional state to videos. But last year, I was really happy, and I had a hard time getting into the room of rage. I foresee that I will have to make a turn, a change of field. It is exhausting to feel anger.
P. He explained in an interview to S Fashion that goes with leaded feet when it comes to political issues. Because?
R. The first political video I did was about a general election election debate. Everyone at Vox came to attack me; they were not even Citizens, they were only Vox. The video had 2,000 comments. I never read the comments they write to me, but I did what should never be done, look at it. Most of the profiles that insulted me were children or false accounts. Then I made a dedication to those who insult Ada Colau, but with this one I passed the criticism. On one occasion, I wanted to make a animated video about immigration, but I found the subject to be great, even when I was an immigrant. I left it for when it is more mature.