césar tezeta: the art of persuading

By Sebastián Gámez Millán

César Tezeta throws hooks to the unoccupied readers, and if they are sufficiently accomplice, they bite these with their curiosity and enter the dialectical game and try to decipher the visual artifact (which hides ideas about the world where we live). As an example: Tezeta illustrates the art of persuading with the following image: a man seems to be interviewing a woman. We do not know what she says to him, but we observe how an archer who detaches from her words knows how to direct the arrows to the center of the man’s head-target, to whom provokes a pleasant smile.

If it had not been an order from the magazine Retina, which is in charge of analyzing and evaluating the digital transformations of the world, from El País, one of the most prestigious newspapers in Spain, I would dare to say that it is a self-portrait. Or, if you prefer, an accurate visual metaphor of what the work of an artist’s or an illustrator consist of: knowing how to produce certain sentimental, cognitive, affective and communicative effects in the reader through silent images that, nevertheless, interpellate us and speak very eloquently.

One of the main artistic virtues of Tezeta lies in his ability to awaken with his images the sense of humor as well as empathy and sympathy: it is the smile of recognition. To get this, he usually introduces characters in caricature style and in whose face or gesture we intuit the intention, and with whom we can identify ourselves thanks to “mirror-neurons”, which according to the neurologist Giacomo Rizzolatti, allow us to put ourselves in the place of the others, understand them and act in a more rational a reasonable way.

“Emotional intelligence” skills are put into play here, because it is about identifying emotions correctly, becoming aware of oneself and others through images, developing self-control and intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence. Tezeta performs illustration, animation and poster work. His method of work is based on the meticulous analysis of the text and the orders he receives until little by little he discovers by digital means an image with which he suggests his perspective on the subject, image whose function is often not only illustrate but also enhance the sense of the accompanying text. Therefore, although they are different access doors to reality (words and images: while images cannot say what words say, words do not know how to show what images show), they should not be off pitch, but rather dance together, so they do not step on their feet interpreting a waltz while the other a tango.

César Tezeta studied at the School of Art 10 in Madrid. He did his training at El Mundo, another of the most important national newspapers in Spain.

Among his main influences include Pablo Amargo, Javier Jaén, numerous illustrators of The New York Times and the aesthetics of the animation of the 90s. Nowadays, among other projects, he is busy in the reinvention of Tarot cards under the suspicion that «if we can change the cards, we can change the destiny.» I do not know if it’s another rhetorical resource to persuade me. The philosopher Schopenhauer said that «fate throws the cards and we play them». Will we know how to play them properly? In any case, we should not lose hope and smile in case fate brings back the smile.