Ola Chico! A chat with Ivan Trujillo…

Ivan Trujillo

Ivan Trujillo may be one of the only Columbians you’ll meet that doesn’t like coffee.  While his tea-drinking ways may differentiate him from the rest of the world, that is not the only thing that sets him apart.  He has acquired an education from around the globe – from a B.A. in Physical Education in his hometown, Cali, Columbia, to an Associates in Fine Arts in London, to a BFA in Graphic Design in Atlanta –  and isn’t prepared to stop.  He is currently pursuing a MFA in Graphic Design as well.

This knowledge, combined with his Columbian background and natural eye for art, makes this quirky lad quite a unique and talented designer.  If you don’t know him from his prominent presence in the ATL nightlife, you’ll know is name soon through his work. 

While lounging about on a lovely Saturday afternoon at TWELVE Boutique in Midtown, where some of his prints are featured, Ivan took the time to graciously answer a few questions for me….

What led you to take an artistic path – to totally change what you wanted to study and jump across to another part of the world?  Your first degree in Cali wasn’t exactly art oriented – how did you get to an art school in London without swimming?

I always wanted to do something related to art; however I didn’t have a chance to study that at home.  At home, people look more for the traditional careers, more practical, something that you can make money out of immediately.  When I left home for London, I told my parents I was doing advertising, but I was truly doing Fine Arts.  They would never understand why I would want to be an artist or designer.

You have a background in many forms of art – why did you choose Design as your area of focus? 

Prints featured at TWELVE BoutiqueI chose graphic design because by doing that I could express myself and set my own style – clean with a lot of negative space, something that breaths and flows within the page.  Also I figured out that with paper and print out I wouldn’t hurt anybody.  I thought about doing architecture, but miscalculations could be dangerous for buildings that could collapse and kill people.  I’m not very good with numbers and they bored the hell out of me.

Does Columbia have its own design style, and has it influenced you in your work?

Yes, Columbia has its own design style and, yeah, it has influenced my current design.  I think it is a part of me and wherever I go I still would carry it with me.

Share a little bit about the SCAD MFA program so we Portfolio Center students know what we’re not missing.

SCAD MFA is a mixture of everything.  I had a professor from RISD, Yield University, Cranebrook, and the Art Institute of Chicago and SCAD.  A lot of variety.  Some teachers are very experimental, which I love, and some others are more traditional.  There is a lot of research that has to get done and a lot of sketches.

Who are your design heroes/favorites? 

My design heroes are Phillips Stark and Karim Rashid because they have done it all.  That’s why I call them Renaissance men.

How to you grow coffee?  And why don’t Columbians like it? 

My parents used to have coffee crops; the process is very interesting however it is very complex, so I guess you can Google it.  Columbians love coffee.  I am probably the exception.  I am always different.

Thanks, I never thought of using Google.  Do you think being Latin gives you a unique edge in the design business? Do you ever feel discriminated against? 

Close up of printYes it does give me a unique edge regarding color for the most part, but also since I’ve been exposed to many design styles in different parts of the world, that helps me to get a bigger picture and be more open to ideas and concepts.  No, I’ve never felt discriminated, that is something that I don’t let stick in my head.  I’m a person and that’s all it matters to me.  I’m part of the world as a human being.

What is the best project you have every worked on?

A stack-up calendar to help children in South America, sponsored by UNICEF.

What are the current hotspots for nightlife in the ATL?

Halo, The Globe, Leopard Lounge, Opera soon to be open (old 1150), Fune, Eclipse di Luna, Intermezzo Café.

Mucho Gracias, Ivan!!!

Ivan showing off his Latin Heritage


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