The Madrid-based, Segovia-born artist Jorge Tabanera creates striking illustrations and lettering that incorporate food imagery throughout. His quirky drawings of a man eating a burger, a rugged sailor holding a popsicle, and a fish being gutted are vibrant and arresting.
But it’s his incredibly intricate lettering—which spells out phrases like “Sweet Love” and “We are what we eat”—that first caught our attention. The lettering is composed entirely of food images—everything from cupcakes to bacon to fried chicken to cheese. We chatted with the artist about his inspiration, day job, and affinity for food.
I see a lot of food imagery in your illustrations. What attracts you to food as a subject?
Food is one of my sources of inspiration. I am passionate about anything related to food: cooking, eating, learning new recipes, discovering new products—and I’m also a huge hamburger fan.
What is your creative process? And how long did it take you to illustrate the ‘Sweet Love’ lettering?
To create illustrations such as “Sweet Love” or “We are what we eat,” the first thing is to find the topic that I want to talk about—in this case, food. After, I look for the best way to express my vision. More or less I could be working for one to two weeks on these works.
Have you released your illustrations as part of a book, or only online?
Although I have published some jobs on paper, almost all my work has been published on the internet. I have been working in online media for many years, it allows for more people from all over the place to view my work. A week ago I opened my online shop at Society6. The first product I’m selling is the “Sweet Love” illustration.
What’s your day job?
Apart from working as an illustrator, I work as Creative Director at an advertising agency.