Klosterstraße 36, Berlin / Spandau "Mágico Berlín“ by Sr. Papá Chango
With the Eyes of a Child
The work of Sr. Papá Chango comforts us and turns us back into children
Juan Carlos Mendoza
One of the most fascinating abilities of the human mind is imagination: the capacity to portray things perfectly or create new ones, to conjecture something based on certain indications, to invent or create something, and to conceive of something by fantasizing. This allows us to daydream and to invent places, people, or situations that in reality would be impossible, like a unicorn or vampires.
Our imagination opens the door to creativity, and no-one knows this better than Javier Meza, better known as Sr. Papá Chango, a Mexican illustrator and muralist who has devoted himself to breathing life into the little beings that inhabit his mind and to recreating them on posters, walls, prints, and notebooks. Creating characters primarily for children, Sr. Papá Chango gives them large eyes, gentle smiles, and colorful coats that also make them attractive in adult eyes.
One of his most famous murals is Mágico Berlín, a beautiful view of Berlin’s Klosterstrasse at night. We can see a teddy-bear who is floating in a cloudy night sky. He is looking upward and carrying in his left arm a sweet little dog, whose gaze is fixed on the central character, a small fox who is walking between some buildings at the same level as the little bear’s stomach. Our attention is drawn to the fox, which appears to be irradiating light, with the result that we can see the big eyes of the bear, which are full of surprise.
Mágico Berlín is a work that tells us a story, almost akin to a goodnight story, in which despite the darkness there is nothing to be afraid of or that might shock us.
A graduate of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), Javier Meza aka Sr. Papá Chango is one of the most famous Mexican illustrators of children’s books because his colorful style, full of textures and details, creates loveable characters that make children’s eyes light up.
In 2013 he set up the project Studio 7 vidas. This gave him the opportunity to refine his work, which in a clear and simple manner expresses themes such as inclusion, the joy of reading, friendship, and fundamental values with a view to making children stronger.
In 2016, Sr. Papá Chango won a poster competition of the Feria del Libro Infantil y Juvenil in Mexico City, one of the country’s most important children’s book fairs; the poster shows Little Red Riding Hood reading her own story so as to encourage children to experience stories in their own imagination.