Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís are a photographic duo living in Valencia, Spain whose work is featured in our January 2019 Edition. With a background in architecture and design, the couple has been collaborating since 2013. Their site-specific and performative artworks are comedic, touching, and absolutely delightful.
We are very pleased to be sharing in print two of their clever photographs, which have gained an enormous following online and international recognition.
Sign up today to get a gorgeous surprise print from them this January!
Tell us about these images
We like to create pictures in which the subject completes the image. So we’ve created a series of works based on this idea. In all of our work we mix together two things: a location and an idea. We often use props to create these kinds of images and we are always looking for beautiful locations to work with, but we also need a concept to play with. If we’re missing either one of those things, then we have nothing to work with.
Each picture only makes sense when the human aspect appears. It’s visually humorous. We are not trying to be profound. For us, it’s really about coming up with fun concepts and brightening people’s days. That’s important for us.
Art is always related to a feeling. We take humour seriously, so we want to make our art fun.
What inspires you?
We are inspired by the era of silent films in which there were few resources, no dialogue, and the storytelling was simple. It appealed to an international audience and we want our pictures to do the same. Buster Keaton is a big influence in our work.
What is your creative process?
It is difficult to pinpoint which comes first: the location or the idea. Usually, they happen at different times. We might go out for a walk and come across a new building we’ve never seen before. Or maybe we’re travelling and find a cool place. But we always need to have an idea. Usually that takes a little more time. So we go home, think about the location, and start to play with some concepts that only make sense in response to that place. If you took away the location, then the image wouldn’t make sense. For us, the architecture is like another subject of the image.
We start every image by making a tiny sketch. It’s easier to share the concept through a drawing rather than words. From there, we start to play with the scale, props we will need, and the type of light we want to use. We plan all of this in the drawing so that when we arrive at the location we already have everything figured out.
Sometimes we come up with an idea first and then save it until the right location finds us.
Tell us about your collaboration.
We met during our third year of architecture school. That was eight years ago. We’ve been working together for five years. Between us, Daniel is the more technical part of our duo. He trained as an architectural photographer, and he likes to work with the camera and computer. Anna is more creative, trained in design and illustration, and likes to work with her hands.
You can see both of us when you look at the images. The ideas are playful and creative, but everything is carefully composed and pixel perfect.
We take our work very seriously, but we want people to have a smile on their face when they see it. We suffer a lot to make these images. We stay up all night making props, painting objects, and figuring out clothes. But at the same time we want it all to look like it’s effortless, like a simple sketch that might only take five minutes. However, the truth is that some of these images take weeks to make!
How do you make a living?
It has changed over the years. In the beginning, we had jobs that paid us and a hobby of making photographs together. Now, things have reversed. What were our professions are now our hobbies, and we make a living from our more creative photography, which doesn’t feel like a job.
What do you like about Valencia, Spain?
It’s always sunny. The weather is like California. We are close to the Mediterranean sea. The people are friendly. The architecture is a little traditional, but very colourful. We love our city.
Where do you make your work?
To be honest, the city is our playground, our studio. Because the kind of work we do relies so much on the location, all of our images are shot in the street using natural light. Sometimes, when we have to, we do computer work from home or a co-working space.
What has being an artist taught you?
Art is really important. Most of us are not thankful enough toward the people creating stuff. But art is a big idea. We often see the artist as really being into their own thing. You have to get deep into their work to find the deep messages they create. But not everyone is like that. We love the work of Rodney Smith, who made these beautiful, whimsical images. There is nothing intimidating about his work. He makes us realize that we can have fun while doing our job. Sometimes with other artists you don’t get that, you see something more serious.
Whenever we present our work at a conference or keynote, we always show behind the scenes, which can be in truth quite messy. But what is most important is that you enjoy making what you create.
What do you think it takes to make good artwork today?
You have to touch people and connect with them. Art is always evolving. It is a big word. A big idea. But art always has to connect with people. And we try to do that with a smile.
We live in a strange moment for artists. Social media networks have changed things. While scrolling through images of your friends drinking coffee or walking their dogs, you can stumble across an image that just blows your mind. Then, you discover the work of an artist who completely changes you. Maybe you live in a place filled with artists, but maybe you live in a place where these people don’t exist and the internet introduces you.
While taking a break and looking at your phone you can discover your new favourite artist. That’s truly fantastic for the audience, but it’s also great for the artists who get to make and share new art each and every day.
Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís are our January 2019 artists. Subscribe to Paprimass by December 31st to receive one of their beautiful prints!