Anyone with a dark sense of humour and a love of brilliant illustration will surely be a fan of Joan Cornellà.
Earlier this year the Catalan artist had a celebrated show of his dystopian takes on the ‘everyday’ in London.
Now, to mark the success of his New York show, Keep it Real, the enfant terrible of shareable illustration has designed a limited-edition screen-printed skateboard deck that was on sale at the GR Gallery in the Bowery in Manhattan.
He’s also launched his new book, the chirpily titled Everyone Dies Alone, a collection of works made between 2012 and 2019 including comic strips alongside an “unsettling set of works on canvas and paper”, as the publisher puts it.
Barcelona-born Cornellà’s work is smart, surreal and frequently unsettling, offering a worldview quite unlike any other. The unsettling qualities lie in the fact that on first glance, the images seem like those from children’s books—all bright colours and simple character design—but on closer inspection offer absurd takes on everything from social media to abortion, addiction and gender issues.
“I think we all laugh at misery,” says the artist. “We must start from the idea that when we laugh, we laugh at someone or something. With empathy or not, there is always some degree of cruelty. In spite of that, I am aware that if one of my cartoons happened in real life I would not laugh at all.”