When it comes to work by Miami-based illustrator Gabriel Alcala, you are guaranteed pieces fizzing with colour, paired with an often silly but equally relatable humour. We’re always bowled over by Gabriel’s use of a subtle but brightly vivid narrative, and his latest book published by Corners sees the illustrator’s distinct style reach a colourful new peak.
Titled Suspended Animation, the book folds out multiple times to reveal new storylines conjured up by the illustrator. Each singular piece is inspired by something relatively normal, a fire hydrant, a strawberry or an airplane for instance, tangibly illustrated with a twist. “I like to explore the nature of objects in my drawings,” Gabriel explains of his approach. “For example, I’ll start experimenting with the different qualities of a toothbrush with toothpaste. I’ll become interested in the way the toothpaste sits in a swirl on the bristles. I’ll then start exploring other things that have that same quality, like a coiled snake.”
By pushing an everyday object to surpass its ordinary use, Suspended Animation is a collection of drawings that don’t make a lot of sense, but are just a joy to flick through and titter at. From a skeleton hugging a human, the grim reaper sitting on the loo or a tiny ghost trapped in a jar, Gabriel says that once he realises the “unlikely relationship" between two objects, "it becomes really fun to create the image,” he explains. “The narrative just writes itself after that.”
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.