Gabriel Frugone’s restless nature has led him to carry out the most diverse activities and also to move several kilometers from his native Uruguay. Based in Mexico City, he has just won a literary award for his work But what @ # ∞ happens to my coffee pot ?!, a book starring the Florentine penguin, who likes to dress up as an aviator even if he is not.
Meanwhile, prepare the second season of Space Dog, the animation that, after succeeding in the Pitch me Anything call, was broadcast by Cartoon Network.
Of his various projects and what remains to be done (such as achieving world peace), he spoke with the daily.
What memories do you have of your participation in the magazine Guacho!?
I remember it as a great space for creation, freedom and experimentation. I always set out to do something totally different from the previous issue, and also have multiple styles within the same issue. I think very interesting things came out of that experimentation that the magazine had.
You live in Mexico. How did you get there?
At one point I felt that I had to continue the search for growth and artistic challenges. I had always liked how (little) I knew about Mexico: wrestling, the fascinating and powerful visual culture, the Mayans, the skulls, the pyramids, Jorge Campos … pieces were arranged and the destination became clear.
You have done everything. Was it out of necessity or because of being restless in nature?
Both. And it continues to be so. I like to be involved in every area of what I do and learn from everything. Of course there are things that I prefer to delegate, or not do at all, but I always end up getting involved.
How was giving the pitch from Space Dog to Cartoon Network and be the winner?
When the call came out I began to review ideas and individual notes, and rummaging around I found a small note of a very small story. A very simple little joke, a scribbled image of a heroine dog. I liked her and rescued her. I showed it to Jessica, my girlfriend, and she also saw the potential right away, so I decided to make it animated and present it to the call. Jessica and her brother put audio on it.
The project liked and was among the finalists, so we went to pitch in person at the festival, in Cuernavaca. I left the meeting very happy for about 15 minutes, because everything flowed very well; everyone present laughed a lot and it was clear that they liked the project. The next day they gave the results, and everything was happiness and canine galaxies.
How was the work process? Because it took a while to see it on screen.
These processes are long in themselves. Animation is a laborious and sometimes slow process. Added to that were bureaucratic issues, contracts, team search, etc., in addition to specific issues of the moment. The start was a bit complicated, but they were very happy with the result. And when we present a trailer at the festival Pixelatl, the response from the public was very good. We felt that everything had been worth it and that life is beautiful.
How much did you delegate on this project?
In the first chapters I delegated the most laborious part of animation: you draw some backgrounds, secondary characters … Although I directed and did everything, too. And all the audio design was done by Jessica and her brother Jonatan with me.
For the new season we work with the same animation team, but with much less participation from them. I got much more involved in the process and I was animating and drawing a lot more. In the scripts this season I also had support from Jessica and Kabir. The audio was made by a studio, under the direction of Jessica and me.
How did you get into this second season?
When they saw the first short episodes on Cartoon Network, they liked them a lot and immediately offered me to do these one and a half minute chapters that will be seen soon.
Are we going to be able to know more about the protagonist?
Yes! We are going to know more about Perrita del Espacio, her life as a heroine and her personal life and … Sentimental? Shhhhh !!!
You recently won the Apila Primera Impression Award with your work But what @ # ∞ happens to my coffee pot ?! What does this recognition represent?
The Apila Prize is opening the door to the publication of illustrated books, something that I had not dabbled in until now and I really enjoyed and want to continue doing.
The book arose specifically by and for this call, although, as with Space Dog, the basic idea was written before in some note random. When I finished it, I felt that it was a book that deserved to be seen, regardless of the outcome. I showed it to Jessica and she told me the same thing: “This book has to come out, if it isn’t here, somewhere else, but it has to come out.” And you see that the Florentine penguin radiates that, because the jury also thought that the story deserved to see the light.
What’s left to do?
Publish more books, do more animated series, shorts, exhibitions, movies, world peace, discover the secrets of the universe and the absolute truth, and have a few mates with Genndy Tartakovsky and Dan Harmon.
Influences, by Gabriel Frugone
As a boy I liked him a lot Asterix and I read all the numbers they had in the neighborhood library, which were almost all of them. I’ve always looked for old comics and books of all kinds: children’s, science fiction, western, humorous, wrestling, horror … all.
From animated series I was influenced a lot at the time by Robot chicken. I enjoy watching Rick and morty, Pickle and Peanuts, Gravity Falls. Weird things I find out there, like Nikita diakur, Jack Stauber, Dear Conchi, Jonathan pillows, etc. Almost everything from Cartoon Network from years ago: The cow and the chick, Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls. And also of his second golden age, with Adventure time, Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, and, of course, the ultimate universal genius and absolute wonder: Chewing gum. One of the two best animated series of all time. The other is, of course, Samurai Jack. Perfection made series. Genndy Tartakovsky has always been a huge influence and inspiration for me.
As for comics, I have some references from the below American, like Robert Crumb, Charles Burns and Daniel Clowes. Of the iron, the magnanimous Esteban Podetti, Pablo Fayó and Max Cachimba. Fabio Zimbres and Jaca, from Brazil. Then, and especially today, the indescribably talented and brilliant Chris Ware. And cartoonists, to name a few that I have long admired, I would say Mark Ryden, Jack Kirby and Gary Baseman. Although, well, the list of creators that I admire grows almost literally every day.