welcome to Aetheriopolis - the city that can't sleep!


As a kid I dreamt of becoming an old school painter. In my head it was a romanticised mixture of what historical renaissance painters like Boticelli did - that is, crafstmen at the service of the wealthy and the Church who decorated palazzos and illustrated the Bible for the analphabets - and what later, modernist painters like Monet or Picasso did, which was art in the service of self-expression. Good paintings tend to be more than a snapshot - they tell stories. They have narrative. But even with the best composition, there's only so much you can tell. I really like telling stories, and single paintings are just not the best medium for that. So I turned to making comics at some point!


Cambalache is an old project by this point. I wanted to get into writing comics, and this was the first story I came up with. Because of that, it has all the pitfalls of someone who's trying to figure out what the medium is like as they go along. It's not perfect by any means! But I find the characters so good to work with.
The story started initially as a potpourri of different genres, hence the name, which in old argentinian slang (lunfardo) was used to refer to a sort of brick-a-brack shop - that is, a shop where you can find literally anything, and is always messy. I wanted to write an adventure story, include loads of fantasy elements, but still have a real-world setting to it. I had long flirted with the occult and had just started to get very serious into my practice, so I introduced many elements of real-world occultism in the story (note I hadn't read Constantine at that point! But I do feel there's a similar spirit in the story).
The story itself, although it mutated several times, ended up being about escapism. I was at a point in my life, and I feel like a lot of people my age, millenials, probably were/are in the same page, that I was disilussioned, that I felt there wasn't really any point to anything. Stuff like comics and movies and tv were just stuff you turn to to forget how utterly meaningless everything really is. Occultism fits in the same category by the way. There's no way you're getting into it unless you are really bored or you live in a haunted place.
But it's not just that. That's just where the story starts. Then you fuck up, then you get caught up in real world things, and you end up living all those adventures you sought. At least that's what happened to me. A lot of the background things happening in the story are things based on real people I've met and things I've done as a result of me being like dumb ass Gualicho and seeking out the thrill of the supernatural just out of pure boredom.
Anyway, if you're reading this and you still want to check it out, here's all the trigger warnings you might need: it's cheesy, it's full of guilty pleasures of mine, there's vampires, some graphic gore (well there was back a few years ago when the internet was not as PG as it is now), and other nonsense. Proceed at your own risk etc etc

Cruz Diablo!

Cruz, Diablo! was born out of my growing appreciation for argentinian folklore (that is, a style of music!) and its constant flirtation with mythology. I have lots of thoughts on the role of the devil in my culture. While being quarantined I had finished with a number of ilustrations for a game partly based on Cambalache and was a bit tired of digital illustration so I felt like doing something traditional with watercolours. I put myself a challenge by trying to keep all the one shots to only 10 or less pages (I only have so many hours in the day!), hence the short nature of this project.
Another big inspiration for this project was the folk horror genre. I feel like transporting some of the tropes of the genres to gaucho culture in rural Argentina is not just easy but also kinda makes sense. A match made in heaven!

If you want to listen to some of the music that inspired this, check out this spotify playlist.


Cities is the result of homesickness and psychogeography. I grew up outside of the city of Buenos Aires, in the suburbs. Because my parents didn't particularly like it, it was only in special ocasions that I'd go inside, so for me the city always had a mystical quality to it. When I was 18 we moved into a neighbourhood in the south of the city, and I fell in love with the neighbourhood and the city.
I think Buenos Aires is super charming. It's a city that unlike european capitals, feels lived in rather than a tourist hot spot. Every neighbourhood has a distinct identity, symbols of their own. Walking around it, taking the bus or the subway, it was almost like conversing with it. I'm going to be cheesy and wax poetic for a bit because that's how much I am still enchanted by it: if you ever had the chance to spend a saturday biking in the city, the smell of asado (barbacue) in the air with the distant drumming of the murgas preparing for Carnaval, it's really, immensely magical.
Sadly, it was not my place in the world. I just never felt like I fit in there. For other reasons I ended up moving to Dublin, and past the initial month or two of being awed at the differences, I started feeling really home sick. I went for a trip to Paris, and out of the experience of walking these two cities I made that comic. I do feel like cities are almost like living entities of their own; they have personalities, it's easy to imagine what they'd be like as humans.
I should probably make a follow up because I grew to hate Dublin, and after 3 years I moved to London.

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