© Jaime Cabrera

Pepo Moreno (Tortosa, 1985) began drawing and painting in his childhood and has since retained his naive style. Creator of a world where everything is gay and a friend of his inner demons, his artistic delirium fuses fantasy with the eroticism of porn from the 70s to the 2000s. He says that does not know how to draw and that the less he likes something, the more he thinks about it.


2021 / 06 / 15

What’s not gay?

In the play “Everything is gay” I never intended to make a list of what was and was not gay, but to show the cracks between what we understand to be gay and what is not. Actually everything is gay and everything is not gay. It was kind of a fantasy creation. As an LGBTQ + person you grow up with the norm of being heterosexual. It is a binary world, where there are men and women and where alternatives do not exist. The alternatives are deformations. For me it was about creating a world where the norm was to be gay and how a binary heterosexual person would feel in that world. What is gay and what is not gay? I don’t know because the heterosexual or more normative world has ended up introducing more “gay” things and the LGBTQ + world has introduced more normative things.

But now it seems that the concept of “queer” is in vogue when a few years ago it had a more marginal connotation …

Being more visible does not mean being accepted. In the last three, four years there has been a train, a trend, which is diversity, in which everything enters; skin color, origin, sexuality, identity … And here, the queer, which encompasses many things, has also come in and I think it has been capitalized in some way, but I would like that it was more real and less aesthetic. Look at what is happening in Spain with the discussion for the repeal of LGBT laws in Parliament … No matter how much companies want to take this move to make money, we are not so socially advanced either.

“The worst thing that can happen to you in life is to end it without knowing you, and part of that knowledge is your demons”

I guess these are some of the demons you paint … But they’re not exactly scary, they even look innocent. Are these your inner demons?

I saw that demons were part of my inner universe, but it also has to do with my childhood, because when you are little in Catalan folklore you hear the devil, but he is not a scary character. He is quite naive and humanized. And then I also went to a Catholic school and I am interested in the history of mysticism and Catholicism because they talk a lot about us. The first devil, Lucifer, is actually a fallen angel. He rebelled against God’s laws and wanted to be free. The reading I do is of someone who wants to be free, who has conflicts and internal needs that force him to break with the established and follow his own path.

So aren’t your demons afraid of you?

Demons don’t scare me because I think we need to learn to embrace them as a metaphor for your own conflicts and once you understand them you’re much better off with yourself. I always say that the worst thing that can happen to you in life is to end it without knowing you, and part of that knowledge is your demons.

“I don’t know how to draw. I think I have my own way of doing things and expressing myself, but I’m not a virtuous of pencil or brush”

And not only do your demons look naive, your art in general has that style, but at the same time it’s erotic as well.

I started drawing and painting when I was little and now I have recovered things related to my childhood. I remember when I was a kid a lot of people used paper to draw erotic scenes. What children do is draw genitals, breasts, naked people … And I think I’m left with this delusion. I mix a more sexual part, but without getting into a dirty part. Even I can have messages that are a little less comfortable to see or hear, but since the form is passed through the filter of something more naive, I think it hurts less to see them.

And is there a lot of error proof in your art?

Totally, I continually fail. The less I like what I do, the more I think about it.

Would you say you know how to draw?

I don’t know how to draw. I think I have my own way of doing and expressing myself, but I’m not a virtuoso of pencil or brush. I know very little about technique, but I have my own and I think it’s the most important thing.

The word also seems very important in your work.

I studied scriptwriting and that’s why there’s a lot of storytelling in what I do. It’s important to me because I don’t like to go around.

You are direct …

I’m not looking for an interpretation of things, I like the message to be clear. For me there is one very important thing that I speak from my perspective, which is that of a gay, white, cisgender man. Then I will never be able to speak from the perspective of a trans person or a woman or an intersex person. It is impossible, I have mine, to approach me because we are obviously an empathetic community and we can come to understand, but I speak from my artistic production, from my position.

And do you feel comfortable with labels?

I am not an expert in queer history, but representation is important to the collective and also to society in general.

Putting labels to feel represented …

You need to see references, have your space and be respected, because until now there were very homogeneous blocks and society is not homogeneous, it is very heterogeneous, very different and we must respect the spaces of each one. But I dare not speak because I am not a sociologist or an anthropologist, but it is important for representation.

“I like fantasy and the past makes me more fantasy than the present”

And as for your references … Are they more homogeneous or heterogeneous?

I’m so naive and so new to the art world … I try not to pollute myself too much to have my own way of doing things. I’ve always really liked comics, since I was little and the darkest art gallery painting. I love Greco, Velázquez, Goya … which is a weird thing because what I do doesn’t have the virtuosity or obscurity that these authors could have. I’m also very inspired by porn from the 70’s to the 2000’s. I’m not interested in porn today.

Well, they seem to be quite heterogeneous …

Yes, and I also like ancient photography, history, ancient civilizations. I like fantasy and the past makes me more fancy than the present.

And a movie, series, book and record that you would recommend?

My all-time favorite book is Truman Capote’s “Praying Prayers.” I read it every year. Series, “Adventure time”. It’s a series of drawings that I would have liked to see as a child and that’s why I’m looking at it now. And film… I really like Passolini’s  “Salo”, which is so animal. It is the most amazing movie, with the most amazing casting in the universe and where the most beastly things in the world happen. In other words, it’s a super beautiful, beautiful film, with the most beautiful people in Italy, but of course there are some animal scenes that you can’t even believe what you’re seeing. And a music reference would be the album “Gran turismo” by The Cardigans because I think it’s super well done and I can always listen to it.