13 Aug
Q&A with the creative Mexican designers from Tixinda

When looking through Tixinda‘s portfolio, it’s hard not to get blown away almost immediately. What strikes you first is their talent for conflating the best of Western street culture with Hong Kong street culture, and lacing it out in Aztec and indigenous Mexican cultural influences. They’re dedicated to making this cultural bouillabaisse accessible to all audiences through the creation of toys, clothes, bead design and illustration. But it’s not just a superficial “borrowing” or appropriation of national tropes, but a skillful blending of far-flung cultural paradigms. The Mexican design brand was launched in 2006 by Eric Morales (aka “Dr. Morbito”) and Anabel Vanoni, and was “born from love in times of great quests and spiritual needs,” according to the good folks at Tixinda. Having worked in recent projects with Nike and their own Green Tixinda initiative, the company is not just limited by vinyl figures, t-shirts and illustrations — although they do all of the above excellently. Their authentic ponchos (above) emblazoned with woven characters are the perfect symbols of Tixinda’s raison d’etre, a skillful blending of cultural traditions. Read the interview below to find out what makes them tick…

It seems like your work and creations are very tied in with your mission statement and goals of making Mexican culture accessible. There is a definite conflation of indigenous Mexican or Aztec culture blended in with “western” street art and even Hong Kong vinyl toy influences. What was the inspiration for doing this fusion, and how were you so successful in doing so?
We believe that the essence of any good enterprise must be a strong vision and passion for what you choose to create. The issue of pre-Hispanic cultures, religious syncretism and Latin American folk art is something which the two of us have been working on individually for over a decade, even without knowing. The project has a good impact because it is genuine, because we bring the ancestral in a very modern, fun format.

Creemos que lo esencial de cualquier buen emprendimiento debe ser  un concepto sólido y  la pasión por lo que se elige crear, el  tema  de las culturas prehispánicas, el sincretismo religioso y  el arte popular latinoamericano es algo en el que los dos venimos trabajando desde hace más una década individualmente, aún sin conocernos. El proyecto tiene buena repercusión porque es genuino y porque traemos lo ancestral en un formato muy actual y divertido.

Hit the Jump for 4 more galleries of Tixinda magic…

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“Living in Mexico City  is an inspiration …it is a city where past and present coexist naturally, the magic in the everyday is amazing. It’s not difficult to create conceptual networks in a field so surreal.”

Tell me about the Nike project. How did it develop?
In Mexico City, Nike opened its first Nike Sportswear store in America. To celebrate the opening of this historic project, eight international artists were invited to perform live murals during the opening and to design three posters that reflect Mexico at its own style. The artists selected were Jason Maloney, Joe Ledbetter, Jesse Reno, Bigfoot, Carlos Ramos, Tixinda, Yurievi (Popwhore,) and 123Klan.

Since that time we were also invited to address spaces with murals, conferences, involvement of garments, artoy for RED NIKE etc …

En la Ciudad de México, Nike abrió su primera tienda Nike Sportswear en América. Para celebrar la inauguración de este proyecto histórico, ocho artistas internacionales fueron invitados a realizar murales en vivo durante la apertura y  a diseñar 3 pósters que reflejaran a México en su propio estilo. Los artistas convocados: Jason Maloney, Joe Ledbetter, Jesse Reno, Bigfoot, Carlos Ramos, Tixinda, Yurievi (Popwhore,) y 123Klan.

A partir de ese momento también fuimos invitados a intervenir espacios con murales, conferencias, intervención de prendas, artoy para RED NIKE etc…

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What significance do the characters have to your toys?  Do you build each toy around how you perceive the character?
Our characters have a very specific profile, each one has unique qualities and traits that characterize them… they’re magical and bring the whole story of their ancestors to the present day, we believe to form an entire community that reflects our world and our dreams.

Nuestros personajes tienen un perfil muy específico, cada uno tiene cualidades únicas y rasgos que los caracterizan …son mágicos y traen consigo toda la historia de sus ancestros hasta hoy, nosotros  los creamos con el fin de ir formando toda una comunidad que refleje nuestro mundo y nuestros sueños.

What inspirations did you have from Mexico City, to help with the “urban-ethnic” aspect of your designs?
Living in Mexico City  is an inspiration …it is a city where past and present coexist naturally, the magic in the everyday is amazing. It’s not difficult to create conceptual networks in a field so surreal.

Vivir en México DF ya es una inspiración …es una ciudad donde el pasado y el presente conviven naturalmente, la magia en lo cotidiano es sorprendente, no es difícil crear redes de conceptos en un terreno tan surrealista.

Under “Green Tixinda” on your website [www.tixinda.com], you spoke of conservation methods when making your toys. Tell me more about this eco-ethnic rescue.
GREEN TIXINDA is an adventure to eco-ethnic rescue, it is to share the concerns of caring for our land with ecological awareness — an invitation to become warriors for the fight and defend our planet with enthusiasm, hope, color and much LOVE!

It arises from the need to take action stance given the urgency of land claims, providing a small seed.

They are mainly used plastic waste materials, containers, lids, bottles, parts of toys, household appliances etc … to create original pieces of jewelry, toys, accessories and more.

TIXINDA VERDE es una aventura hacia el rescate eco-étnico, es compartir las preocupaciones del cuidado de nuestra tierra con una mayor conciencia ecológica, es una invitación para convertirse en guerreros por la lucha y defensa de nuestro planeta  con entusiasmo, esperanza, color y mucho AMOR!!

Nace de la necesidad de tomar una postura de acción ante la urgencia de los reclamos de la tierra, aportando una pequeña semilla.

Utilizamos principalmente materiales de desecho plástico, envases, tapas, botellas,  partes de juguetes,  electrodomésticos etc… para crear originales piezas de joyería,  juguetes, accesorios y más.

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Do you think Mexican design in general is cutting ties with its more primitive and indigenous backgrounds, or do you think that the culture will always outlast the changes in style?
We believe that design usually does not connect with her Mexican roots and creates looking outwards … that’s why we create and believe in TIXINDA who comes to rescue the ethnic-magic and open a different view on this point.

Creemos que generalmente el diseño mexicano no conecta con su propias raíces y crea mirando hacia el exterior… por eso creamos y creemos en TIXINDA quién llega para rescatar lo étnico-mágico y abrir una mirada diferente en este punto.

What were the most successful recent projects you’ve been working on?
The great success is to do the things we like… to be artists of a different world and see it grow is our greatest satisfaction!

El gran éxito es hacer las cosas que nos gustan…ser creadores de un mundo  diferente y  verlo crecer es nuestra mayor satisfacción!!!

Nice, you can’t beat that. So what’s your goal for the future?  Is there a ceiling to success in the toy industry, or is the sky the limit?
Our future goal is to evolve both in space and in quantity and quality of products. And for our project to reach more people so we can position ourselves in the market as an original brand of urban ethnic design, which demonstrates the fusion of our designs along with the talented Mexican artisans and artists who make us an unquestionable highlight of our cultural identity.

There is no limit for our project because we are a concept that translates into different formats that are always changing: clothes, toys, jewelry and more … ALWAYS our limit is the sky TIXILANDIA

Nuestra meta a futuro es evolucionar tanto en  espacio como en  cantidad y calidad de productos para que nuestro proyecto llegue a mayor cantidad de gente y podamos posicionarnos en el mercado como una marca original de diseño étnico urbano, que demuestre la fusión de nuestros diseños junto al gran talento de artesanos y artistas mexicanos,  que nos transforme en referente  indiscutible de nuestra identidad cultural. No hay límite para nuestro proyecto ya que somos un concepto que se traduce en diferentes formatos que siempre están en mutación: ropa, juguetes, joyería y más SIEMPRE más…nuestro límite es el cielo de TIXILANDIA!!!!!!

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Tell me about your home studio — do you keep it clean, or is it always a mess with new ideas coming in?
We’re pretty obsessed with order, but when we get new ideas the home and studio are full of papers, sketches and new material to experiment and play!

Somos bastante obsesivos con el orden, pero cuando llegan nuevas ideas  la casa-estudio se llena de papeles, bocetos y nuevos materiales para experimentar y jugar!

What did you want to be when you grew up? I’m guessing you got your dream job from when you were 7…
We’ve both loved toys since we were kids, and we also built our toys…I think the art grew up with both of us since childhood, and we’ve now given ourselves the ability to create this world to keep playing!

Ambos amamos los juguetes desde pequeños y también nos fabricábamos nuestros juegos… creo que el arte nos acompaño desde la infancia a cada uno y ahora  nos damos el lujo de crear este mundo para seguir jugando!

What was the craziest feedback you have ever received about one of your toys or designs?
We were told stories about our doll “Xagu”, a character beloved by TIXINDA … they told us that they’d leave him in one place and he’d appear in another, that he is very naughty and that has brought them good fortune!!

Nos contaron historias mágicas del muñeco XAGU, un personaje muy querido de TIXINDA…nos cuentan que lo dejan en un lugar y aparece en otro, que es muy travieso y que les ha traído muy buena fortuna!!!!

If you were lost in a supermarket, where would we find you?
We we would find in the toy aisle without a doubt.

Nos encontarían en el pasillo de los juguetes sin lugar a dudas.

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“We went to nature in search of another energy from the city to show all models of the new series of TIXHIRTS, this time coming with lots of color for men, women and some of our most beloved characters: Xagu, Axhul, Calatix, Lluvix, Piramidix and Lunix”

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Credit of T-shirt pics:
Location: Forest Tlalpan.
Models: Lalo Cruz Carpet + Lipstick + Italy + Miyagi Frenestick.
Photographer: Miguel Angel Manrique-MANN.
Photographic Assistance: Bogus.

First prototypes of some new plasticine puppets — “inspired by the magical beings that live in the TIXILANDIA!”

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