Gay geeks and gaymers we have a special interview with Leonardo Gutierrez. He’s originally from Argentina but is now living in Santiago, Chile. He created these amazing bearsionated characters of your favorite video game characters like Super Mario, Yoshi, and Pikachu. He is the founder of the clothing brand OSO Apparel. So let’s get to know him a bit more.
How would you describe your style of artwork?
In general, I’d say it is somewhere between eastern and western influences, simple with some selective attention to detail, and I like to play a lot, I rarely keep a defined structure when I tackle something new. Then when it comes to my most personal work the style is definitely bear pinup 🙂
Are you into anything nerdy/geeky (video games, anime, cartoons, TV shows, comics)?
I love them all, I especially love video games, tv series, and manga – I’m doing almost no reading lately, but I still love them! When I’m not working I’m playing Gigantic on Arc or watching series with my husbear.
What’s your educational background in art?
I’m completely self-taught! I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember. I’ve had special people in my life that I’m really thankful for who helped me grow and learn to make use of my skills.
I would love to study and specialize in something more specific, but at this point, it just feels like a ‘nice to have’.
What got you into art in the first place?
I guess I never really thought something got me into it, as both consuming and making art have been with me my whole life in a very natural way. So I guess art itself did, as cheesy as that may sound!
Noteworthy mentions of your art (museums, galleries, design companies)?
Well I designed the tiny popcorn pet/logo for Popcorn Time, I’ve had a pretty low-key career so I think the best is still to come
For aspiring artists like yourself, what kind of advice can you give them?
Enjoy what you can do now, don’t focus on what you can’t. Keep working, time will make you a master. Keep trying, there’s always someone who digs your stuff. Love yourself, and you will love your art <3
How has your practice changed over time?
Well with time I’ve become more focused and deliberate on my work, that’s what I’m most sure of, haha, I used to get lost in tiny minute details and rarely notice the bigger picture. I know my strengths and my weak points now, and I try to balance them and to learn each time I get down to work.
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood with art?
I remember faxing – yes, FAXING – a drawing of a ninja turtle with like 6 biceps on each arm to my dad, who was in the next room. I can still see the drawing clearly in my head.
What art do you most identify with? What other artists inspire you?
Oh, I guess I’m most attracted to artistic expressions with very defined visions, those where you can tell they put their heart into making it. Technically, Takehiko Inoue will always be my greatest idol, I see mastery in each and every one of his drawings, I’m completely in love with most of Miyazaki’s work (Ghibli) and Mushishi (anime), but even more so with Ursula Le Guin’s Tales of Earthsea, they are by far my favorite books. She makes me feel like she’s telling me stories to keep me warm and cozy, I love her.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Every now and then I get the occasional young guy telling me about the hardships of being gay in their situation – whichever it might be – and that my work has inspired or helped them get through it, or at least through another day; but still, this always gives me the warmest feelings and they inspire me to do more.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Ooh, hard one! I guess it’s “because someone doesn’t love you in the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you”. Either that or some Dark Souls tip xD
Where can fans get more of you (social media, websites, etc.)?
I share my art on Instagram, on Tumblr @bearsionated and @starswithin, and on Facebook too, where I use my real name. Then there’s OSO Apparel, a brand I founded with a friend, where we want to offer quality clothes to fashionable bears and geeks; check it out and help us grow!
Anything you would like to say to your fans?
I just want to thank everyone who loves and/or supports my work, I really appreciate it from the bottom of my heart, and I would also love it if you send me your ideas for other characters and series you would love to see in bear form!