In Conversation with Jose Flores


We got to chat with the amazing illustrator and animator on his work,
his constant evolution as an artist, where he gets his inspiration, 
and his plans for the future.




Jose Flores

“If you don’t evolve, you get stuck.” This particular phrase from Jose perfectly describes his approach to both his work and his creativity. Jose Flores (@josefloressvelti) is an illustrator and animator from the Dominican Republic, whose work encapsulates his constant evolution both in terms of style as well as in terms of taste. Throughout the years, the young artist has dabbled with multiple mediums, from grafitti and stencils, to screenprinting and painting. Nonetheless, his main focus has always been on his illustration, and more recently, on his animations. Ever since moving to Madrid in 2019, Jose has been heavily invested in improving and honing his skills in animation, which has in turn led him to merge his particular illustration style with the flexibility that 3D animation allows. The result is both inspiring and surprising, as it challenges what most of us have come to expect from a typical 3D animation in terms of simplicity and originality.

Although his professional career started in the advertising industry, his artistic endevours started with street art. When he was younger, Jose would search the city of Santo Domingo for spots in which he could practice his use of spraypaint and stenciling. Eventually, his constant curiosity led him to explore illustration more in depth, which made him realize his passion for expressing himself through creativity. Ever since, Jose has embarked on a number of projects as a means of exploring different ways of finding an outlet for his ideas.

The secret behind Jose’s constant stream of work is his willingness to explore whatever catches his interest. His curiosity leads him to try out any given medium that seems interesting to him, which gives his work a sense of wonder and innovation that has become characteristic of him. By channeling his curiosity into his work, Jose has managed to stay original despite foraging into new mediums for himself. He is always exploring, and experimenting through his work. He is also constantly growing. This growth is visibile in the progression of his work and his individual style, always pushing the boundaries of what he feels comfortable with for the sake of artistic evolution.

Animated self-portrait

We got a chance to have a very interesting conversation with the young illustrator and animator on his evolution as an artist, where he gets his inspiration and how he approaches both his work and his creative process. This is what he had to say:

First off, let’s talk a little bit about how your interest in the creative industry started. Have you always been interested in illustration? When exactly did you decide to dedicate yourself entirely to illustration and animation, and what led you to make that decision?

To answer your question… Not really. I haven’t always been interested in illustration, or at least not as a serious career path. If you asked me in back in school, I couldn’t have told you I’d be illustrating today. I never thought I’d be an illustrator or an artist per se, it just never crossed my mind. No one in my family had artistic pursuits, so I wasn’t surrounded by art when growing up. This made me think taking this certain career path wasn't really a possibility.

But the truth is I’ve always loved and felt the need of working with my hands and create stuff. I simply decided I had to trust my gut and do what felt right. That decision led me through a certain path of exploration; of trying things out to know what I like and what I don’t.

“That decision led me through a certain path of exploration; of trying things out to know what I like and what I don’t.”

To answer more precisely, though - I decided to devote all my time and energy to illustration and animation while studying advertising. I first started studying marketing, and while studying marketing, I got hooked with the graffiti scene. I started making my own posters and stencils and experimenting with my own illustrations. As time passed, I realized I desperately needed some creative outlet and marketing just wasn’t doing it. You know the cheesy quote: “do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life?” That day it kind of made sense. It became my goal to merge fun and work, to enjoy the time I spent. In the end, time is the most important currency of all, so why not do something you truly enjoy doing?

I decided to switch careers to something more creativity-fueled. Since I didn’t identify myself as an artist (I think I still don’t - It probably defines what I do but I just don’t like the ring to it), just a creative person in need of exploration, studying fine arts didn’t cross my mind at the time. The closest and easiest thing for me to do at the time was to switch careers to advertising. From then on, as I worked as a creative and graphic designer, I became more acquainted with the creative industry and all its possibilities. And without realizing it, I was trying to include my own illustrations into most of my design work. Further exploration and sheer curiosity made me want to give life to my own illustrations and that made me start learning animation

“Without realizing it, I was trying to include my own illustrations into most of my design work. Further exploration and sheer curiosity made me want to give life to my own illustrations and that made me start learning animation.”



I know that you started your professional career in the advertising industry. After you started, did you notice any effect in how working in a certain industry affected your creative process? Did you feel like it helped you be more creative, or did it hold you back and somehow limit your creativity when trying to satisfy a certain client?

Both. In a way, it does help you stay creative and on your toes, since there is a lot of competition and pressure to create the best work and win over clients. Everything moves so fast in advertising, that you must always have ideas roaming around in your head. But at the same time, this fast-paced industry can take a toll on your creative output. Over time you may feel burnt out and not completely pleased with your work.

Also, working with clients is no easy feat. There are certain things you have to keep in mind when working with a brand and must be willing to accept things that may be well out of your control. That’s why personal work is so important to creative people, it’s a way of creating the work you desire to, with no one but yourself to judge. There’s nothing like creating work for yourself and your inner critic.

“That’s why personal work is so important to creative people, it’s a way of creating the work you desire to, with no one but yourself to judge. There’s nothing like creating work for yourself and your inner critic.”



In the time that I’ve known you and your work, I’ve noticed that you’ve experimented with various different styles. In terms of your creative process, is the style you use dependent on a certain idea for your work, or do you decide what to illustrate depending on the style that you want to use?

If you ask most people, I think they’ll tell you style should be dependent of the idea and not the other way around. But for me there’s a catch. I’ve given the idea of style a certain amount of thought and for me, style is a combination of what your skills allow you to comfortably do and what you think looks best aesthetically based on your taste. So, what I personally do is try to bring the idea into my own world. Communicate the idea in the best possible way while at the same time creating an image that I’m fond of and feels right to the eye.

“For me, style is a combination of what your skills allow you to comfortably do and what you think looks best aesthetically based on your taste.”


I know these last few months you were living in Madrid. I was wondering if you noticed any difference in your creative process while in Madrid in contrast with your creative process while living in the Dominican Republic. Do you feel that setting is an important part of the final product of your work, or the way you conceive an idea? Or is this process something that stems strictly from you and what you want to achieve through your work?

Even though setting is extremely important to me, I don’t think there has been an actual change in my creative process when working from one country or another. I just need a comfortable chair, materials, a spacious desk and silence to produce work. Being in a quiet place, where I can be alone with my own thoughts is essential. But still, living somewhere else that is not ‘home’ can be incredibly rewarding and inspiring. You’re learning new things every day and seeing things you’re not accustomed to. It’s the kind of fuel any artist or creative needs in order to stay inspired and keep producing interesting work.

“You’re learning new things every day and seeing things you’re not accustomed to. It’s the kind of fuel any artist or creative needs in order to stay inspired and keep producing interesting work.“




Most of your work so far has been in illustration, but lately you’ve been working more and more in animation as well. Is there a difference in the way you approach your illustrated work and the way you approach your animated work? Do you try to approach both mediums in terms of your personal style, or do you feel your style changes depending on the medium you are working on?

My goal is to play with human emotions while creating beautiful imagery. For it to be symbolic, visually pleasing and in many cases, not necessarily narrative. I try approach any medium, be it be illustration, animation or painting a canvas, with that idea in mind. I’m not trying to stay fixated on a certain style. I’m currently approaching all work by what feels natural and right to me, while enjoying the process. So, I’d say in a way, and in terms of style, I’d approach any medium the same way.

“My goal is to play with human emotions while creating beautiful imagery. For it to be symbolic, visually pleasing and in many cases, not necessarily narrative.”

But each medium carries a different aspect that one must take into account. With illustration, one must communicate a thought, an emotion or an idea in a single frame and that’s it. It must be clear; you only have one shot. Similarly with painting. But with animation, you have things such as movement and time that you have to take into account and try to play in your favor. You basically approach it as a director would. The only true thing is producing animation work is far more complex since it requires a lot time, attention to detail, and above all, patience. There’s this whole process behind creating animation that people who aren’t familiar with or don’t understand animation take for granted.



As a creative, I feel that it’s extremely important to expose yourself to as much creative work as you can, be it music, art, writing, or anything else along those lines. I know that music is very important to you, both within and outside of your work. How do you feel that the exposure you have to things such as music affects your work? Does it merely help you concentrate, or does it affect the way you develop an idea as well?

In my opinion, you should try to expose yourself not only to art, music and literature but to everything. Pay attention to your surroundings and you’ll find something interesting worth talking about. It may sound broad, but inspiration can really be found everywhere. Of course, looking at how other artists you admire interpret the world is always inspiring.

“Pay attention to your surroundings and you’ll find something interesting worth talking about.”

As for music, it is definitely an important part of my life and creative process. I personally put on some music before getting to work to get the creative juices flowing and turn it off (I might leave it on if I’m listening to some ambient record) when I have to really concentrate on what I’m doing (such as when animating). But there is something about listening to great music that’s just indescribable. Something I tend to do when listening to music it to a wander off and create images in my head that could match what I’m listening to, and often times it leads me to an idea worth exploring.

Also, another thing I often do is go beyond and actually learn something from what I’m listening. Whether it’s learning about the life of the artist or the meaning of the song, how it was composed or what inspired the artist, or simply trying to get a glimpse of what the artist thought or felt when creating such work. I’m simply curious of the background that gave life to the story I’m listening to. When I learn about something I find interesting, I’ll definitely get inspired to make stuff of my own, so in a way it affects my own personal work. Discovering new music and sharing it with people close to me is something special. Talking with my friends about music often makes ideas pop into my head that might lead to something interesting.

“Something I tend to do when listening to music it to a wander off and create images in my head that could match what I’m listening to, and often times it leads me to an idea worth exploring.”



Your work as an illustrator and an animator is, in my opinion, very impressive. You’ve developed a recognizable style, which is not an easy thing for a creative to do. However, I know that you are always interested in exploring new styles and incorporating them into your work. Do you feel that it’s important for an artist to never become comfortable with how they approach their work and to always try to continue evolving and learning? If so, why do you think it’s so important?

Thank you! I don’t know about the recognizable style though. I think I’m on my way and I’ll always be, and I’ve made my peace with that. It has a lot to do with the answer to your question, which is: if you don’t evolve, you get stuck. This is something that applies to any creative, no matter the industry. You need to always be learning and evolving to progress and become better. And yes, becoming a better and more skilled artist is a great thing. But that’s not the main reason why creatives choose to try new things. For me, creative people are curious by nature. Trying new things is just a way of quenching that curiosity. In my particular case, experimenting and learning new things not only satisfies my curiosity; it also serves as creative fuel. It helps me stay motivated to keep creating. It is an indescribable feeling when you try something new and you actually like it.

“For me, creative people are curious by nature. Trying new things is just a way of quenching that curiosity.”

This is something you can clearly see this in the music industry, for example. There are artists that can’t stop creating, always experimenting and innovating themselves and their work, while there are others that live off of their one hit wonder. Who do you think is more creatively fulfilled in this case?



As a creative, I understand that part of the work is trying to express yourself through creativity. In this regard, are there any other artistic mediums you’d be interested in exploring in the future?

I’m always up to trying different mediums. I’ve painted on canvas even though I don’t consider myself a painter and I’ve made silkscreens even though I’m no screen printer. And that’s the main reason I got into animation. I thought: “What if I could make this illustration come to life?”

Many of the decisions I make are because I’ve made myself a question beforehand. And it’s no different when choosing a medium. If I want to try something out, I’ll do it. Even if it means making a mess and getting disappointed with the end result because it’s not what I was aiming for. But I’ll be happy I tried something new and cleared the doubt. I’ll probably try it again some other time.

“If I want to try something out, I’ll do it. Even if it means making a mess and getting disappointed with the end result because it’s not what I was aiming for.”

I’m currently learning 3D software. I’d also love to do more frame by frame animations. And I’d love to be able to make some kind of ambient music to accompany my own animations. So much to do and learn, so little time.



Finally, is there any artist, from any medium, that you feel everyone should know? If so, who would that be and why?

I follow so many great artists it’d be hard to pick just ONE, but for the sake of the question, I’ll go with James Noellert. Everyone who knows me, knows I’ve been hooked with his work for some time now. He’s an illustrator based in Detroit, Michigan. Apart from being incredibly talented and having a really distinctive style, what I dig the most about him is his way of approaching his own personal work. He doesn’t have a rigid time frame for his personal projects, instead he works until he’s truly satisfied with the result. He describes this as ‘largo’ (which in music means a very slow tempo). He doesn’t let his personal work take pressure from this fast paced world. I personally identified with his type of approach, as I’m very critic of myself and the work I try to produce.

For anyone interested in animation, he’s currently working in The Space Explorers 2, a short animated sci-fi film. Consider donating to him on Patreon! He posts really interesting inside content on how he’s creating the short film and also stuff like his thoughts on design, illustration and art in general. Also, The Space Explorers 1 is available in his Vimeo page, be sure to check it out if you’re curious about his work. (Here’s the link in case you want to give it a look)


We’d like to give a special thanks to Jose for taking the time to answer our questions.
For more on his work, you can follow his instagram at @josefloressvelti
and visit his website as well.