Dive Into Surrealism with Fran Rodríguez
Surreal artist Fran Rodríguez is @lacabezaenlasnubes (spanish for “head in the clouds”). His work is marked by his early fondness for surrealism and psychedelia. The “normal” perception of things has long ceased to interest him. He firmly believes that what we perceive through our senses is only the tip of the iceberg. Discovering what lies beneath the surface has become the closest thing to a life project he’s ever had.
Now, many of Fran’s works are featured on album covers and concert posters across the globe. Working with artists such as Weezer, Bearings, and Free City, he has mastered his craft while striving to grow and learn more. We talk to surreal artist Fran Rodríguez and ask him just how he started working with bands and how his work came to be featured on top selling albums internationally.
Q&A with Fran Rodríguez
How long have you been creating album art?
- I did my first album art in 2014.
Did you envision yourself creating album art when you first started designing for a living?
- No, not at all. Not even in my most optimistic dreams. The first 10 years of my career as a graphic designer were light years away from what I do now. All I did back then was marketing rubbish. My professional life took a u-turn 7-8 years ago after a personal (not too severe) breakdown. I looked back at what I had done and I wasn’t proud of anything. It was a sad feeling. I knew something wasn’t right. I was 32 and I realized I needed to refocus my career.
Do people reach out to you for album covers or do you reach out to them?
- Six years ago when I first started doing album covers I used to spam all the bands I like with messages offering my services. Now, luckily, I’m getting exposure and many bands and artists reach out to me, but I still contact bands I love, of course. It’s a great way to get your work out there. You just have to not be too annoying, be nice, humble and if someone likes your work, things happen.
Where do you find inspiration for an album cover if a band commissions you to create one?
- I usually ask the band for things that inspired them when they were making the music. Songs, films, books… Obviously the band’s previous music is a great source of inspiration. I spend hours, days, browsing the internet gathering images, videos or songs, texts, that help me create a mental atmosphere, a mood. Some times I envision the artwork in my head really quick, I know how it’s gonna turn out. I know it sounds paranormal-ish, but yeah, I “see” the cover in my head before I even start to design. Then sometimes it all flows really easy creating the actual artwork. Other times it can be a pretty stressful process, but in the end, it’s worth it. The “Eureka” feeling when you end up with something you’re happy with is amazing. Magic. Like a good drug.
Why does your art work so well for album covers?
- I don’t know. I try to create memorable images, images that create a mood, that tell a story in people’s minds. And I love music more than anything, maybe that has something to do with it.
Who has been your favorite band to work with?
- It’s hard to say. I don’t work with bands that I don’t like, so I kind of like all the bands I’ve worked with.
What is your favorite genre of music?
- I listen to a wide range of music genres from twee and dream pop to ambient music and post-rock. Everything that has a dreamy, atmospheric feel.
Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?
- A couple of records by Spanish artists. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is going to slow down for a few months, so I will focus on personal projects. The most exciting upcoming project? I’ll become a dad in June!