Paco Quintas is originally from Galicia but has been living in Barcelona for 10 years. A former chemistry student, graffiti artist, designer and sneaker lover (not sneakerhead, in his words), Paco is an autodidact who is interested in processes and who got involved and marked his name in the worlds of music, art, fashion and sneakers. We talked about being in the game a long time, about all facets of his work and even about being close to the creation of the Diadora he had in his foot.
“I’m a creative living in Barcelona. I’m from Galicia and I’ve been around 10 years working in this field. I’m self-taught – I studied chemistry, but I also come from graffiti. Actually, there’s a number of things that make sense, and that’s chemistry, graffiti and graphic design. And what do they have in common? When it comes to Graffiti and Graphic Design, if Graffiti is the conquest of urban space with your name, why not use other media to get your name out across the entire city? Just like what used to be done with the metros and etc, why not put your name on posters and t-shirts? In the end, my attitude towards Graffiti is initially the same as with Graphic Design. I studied chemistry because I came from graffiti and wanted to know how things worked. I think that to have great results you need to know how the process works. If you want to paint well, you’ve got to know how paint is made.
That’s pretty much the story, I came to Barcelona with a chemistry scholarship, which I had to fake to get, and with the money I’d receive from the scholarship and what I earned from graphics, I’d more or less make it work. I then found myself with more work, and eventually moved here. Things here have gone quite well, pretty much in every area I’ve wanted to develop, I’ve achieved it. When I was involved in graffiti, when I was with sneakers, with music and with fashion. More or less, I’ve been able to be in all of these areas in a noticeable way.”
“In my case, my references didn’t just come from graffiti, I love the 80s and 90s culture, especially film posters and album covers.”
You were trying to develop a new ink, a spray or something like that?
pacoI used to live in Galicia and things aren’t so easy there, sometimes they don’t even get there, though now it’s better. We’d paint with tips we’d make by hand, with markers that were supposed to be for shoes, and we’d make do because there wasn’t anything else. I’d read articles on the Internet, and by mixing nail polish and brake fluid I was able to come up with an interesting ink. It was amazing, as far as drying and coverage it was crazy, I think if I’d patented it I’d be rich.
When you were doing graffiti, who were your references?
pacoIn my case, my references didn’t just come from graffiti, I love the 80s and 90s culture, especially film posters and album covers. My references could go from Futura 2000 to Joan Brossa, or from Pollock to 123klan. The whole movement over in Toulouse too.
Here there was a movement that was graffiti with icons, instead of tags everyone just used a single symbol. It really became a thing here: the sucker, the fish, the phone, the hand, the bird; there’s loads of them. I had one too, mine was a pig and I’ve painted it in loads of countries, in all continents except Australia. I’ve painted my pig in places from Egypt to Syria, Mexico and even New York. I’ve kinda let it go now though.
In fact, Dosce Works comes from it having two Cs, which is Coren Crew. Coren is the name of the slaughterhouse in my town, it’s a company that makes sausages and cooked meats. I used to work at some basketball courts that had Coren as a sponsor, and I used to put “Crew” underneath the name.
Did you begin to work with design because of graffiti?
pacoI started to design because I realised it could get my name or my work around to other people without having to leave my house. I’ve done loads of posters for tours, events and parties at clubs. When I’d come from Galicia on the airplane, I’d get to Las Ramblas and up from Plaça Catalunya to the bottom it would be full with my posters. Do you know what it’s like to be walking through the street with someone who has no clue and say “I designed that poster”? It’s crazy. In the end, it’s the same as graffiti, it’s practically the same idea.
You’ve worked a lot with music, fashion, etc. And also had a few projects of your own as well with 24 Kilates How’d this happen?
pacoI worked for a summer at 24 Kilates and was there for a number of launches. I did the visual merchandising and display for the New Balance Epic TR. I did the display for the stores in Barcelona and Bangkok. I did the same for La Bestia, where they launched a pair of Brooks that had flames and a goat stitched on the tongue.
Before working at 24 Kilates, me and some friends had a project called Barna Kicks, where we’d meet up and talk sneakers, and we ended up making a brand. In reality, it wasn’t much of a brand, we’d just get together in my house, laugh a bunch and design a few t-shirts. We also had an Instagram where we would do fake raffles and say we’d be giving away the Alien sneakers, from Reebok, and we did a huge “share this photo” raffle, everyone went crazy and in the end we gave away some paper-craft build-it-yourself ones.In the end Barna Kicks was all about memes and stupid shit related to sneakers.
What do sneakers represents for you?
pacoFor me, sneakers obviously mean good taste. It’s very easy to put on a t-shirt and a pair of paints, but choosing a good pair of sneakers is complicated, and it says a lot about the person and the risks they take.
I really like basketball sneakers, but now I’ve been using running or low ones since I’ve got big calves. But anyway, certain models turn into icons and become part of popular culture. Each sneaker has a story and are released at a point in time, which is why I think they’re so important.
“For me, sneakers obviously mean good taste. It’s very easy to put on a t-shirt and a pair of paints, but choosing a good pair of sneakers is complicated, and it says a lot about the person and the risks they take.”
Was there a moment in your life when you realised “I like sneakers”? Was it a pair of sneakers or a particular moment?
pacoDefinitely when I started to like basketball. NBA was the shit, the players were insane. There was no way you could play like them, but you could dress like them. And when you played for a team, it didn’t matter if you sucked if you had some nice shoes on, you know? That was pretty much it, an obsession of playing with the same sneakers as they did in the NBA, The players nowadays don’t have the charisma the players had back then in the 90s, a lot of the players back then were characters on and off the court.
The first Jordans I had were burgundy ones. They weren’t even like a cool sneaker, but Michael Jordan had them and that was what was important. Obviously, I had the sneakers I used to play ball with and the ones I’d wear casually, like the Airwalk, the Reef, the Air Force and similar silhouettes. Later on came hip-hop with loads of cool sneakers too; in the end, instead of looking at the players you like, you also look at the artists you like – like Run DMC and all that.
Do you consider yourself a sneakerhead?
pacoI don’t think of myself as a sneakerhead, sneakerheads are illuminati. I like sneakers and that’s it. I don’t need any title, I am who I am, and in the end, who is a sneakerhead? It’s the one who has loads of sneakers, or the one who knows everything about sneakers? If you’ve got loads of sneakers, it’s because of your socio-economic situation, which in many cases it isn’t yours, but your parents’. Or you’re a hustler and dedicate yourself on buying and selling, in which now is almost impossible. So no, I don’t consider myself a sneakerhead, I just like sneakers and that’s it.
And to finish, why did you choose the Diadora IC4000 Gold Medal Crew?
pacoI chose the Gold Medal Crew because in a way they mark a point in my life when I was closest to sneakers, as I was working for 24 Kilates and it’s a point of reference in this world. It’s a sneaker that I really like because of its concept, because I’ve always liked this idea of tricks and winning whatever the cost. Pete Sampras said something like that, what’s important is to win, and if it’s ugly, it’s ugly. I like this idea of trying to trick people and break norms, which in the end is like a passive war, tricking everyone and winning.
The guys at 24 Kilates decided to make the sneakers inspired by Ben Johnson because he had his medal stripped for doping. When I worked there, apart from the sneakers being made of top quality kangaroo leather and handmade in Italy (or so Diadora says), the back part had a vinyl with Ben Johnson’s Olympic record. Turns out the sticker wasn’t great quality and would fall right off, but this couldn’t be redone because it would obviously have cost a lot of money. And what happened? Two people came all the way from Italy to rub off all of the shoes. In the bottom part of 24 Kilates there’s a warehouse and office, and a guy and a girl spent two whole days there with some rubbers scratching off the back part of the shoe. I think there were like 500 pairs or something like that.
The branding of the Olympics is also something I’ve always liked. It’s always really cool, especially the older ones. My favorite is the 92 Barcelona Olympics, which was done by Mariscal. Besides, the year the Seoul to Rio sneakers came out was the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Olympics.