Mikel Urmeneta was never exactly fond of Xmas, but he could do nothing to prevent himself from being born on the 25th of December. To be precise, in the year 1963. He was born in Pamplona and that seems to fill him with rather more satisfaction. Throughout a childhood that was already leaving some clues as to his future way of life, he did his primary schooling with the Sacred Heart missionaries and at the Cristo Rey School. He failed to stand out for any academic prowess in either of these Pamplona schools. And even less fortunate was his sojourn at secondary school level where he attended the Ximénez de Rada and the Navarro Villoslada schools. In both centers he ended up being expelled and he began to seriously consider that his life should perhaps take some other direction.
Without finishing his secondary school exams, he decided to study Decoration. Needless to say, this aspiration only lasted the duration of the first year course. He began to complete some works – some drawings and design work – for different advertising firms around the city. That income, along with some small loans, allowed him to indulge in one of his favorite activities, to travel abroad. Thus, he found himself visiting corners of all five continents, either alone or in company. Places such as Easter Island and Yamaguchi in Japan and places as different as Santo Domingo or The French Polynesia.
Open character and cosmopolitan outlook
That insatiable need to move about and to discover, along with his open character and cosmopolitan outlook, led him to develop one of his other passions, photography. His many trips, a year spent in Australia as well as another five years in his beloved New York, meant that he returned home with a pile of negatives and an infinite number of experiences snapped with his camera.
It was on precisely on one of those trips that the inklings of what would be Kukuxumusu began to unfold, even if it was in a rather bizarre form initially. It was around 1989 when Mikel began, little by little, to get a clearer idea of how he wanted to live his future. Just a year later the rest of the world would also get the first indications. Because that year, 1990, his drawing for the Sanfermin poster competition was chosen as the winning entry. He also won the competition to select a poster for the Navarra August Art Festival. And to clinch it all, he won Young Artist’s Festival award (Photography) organized by Pamplona City Hall.
Thanks to these awards and the inexorable growth of Kukuxumusu, Urmeneta began to attain both detestation and devotion in equal measure, while his recognition continued to be acclaimed with awards such as the Baztandarren Biltzarrra in 1991, and posters for the Basque Government Tourism Department in 1995. More recently, he has been the author of the logotype for The 2002 World Pelota Championships and for making a pile of drawings for tee shirts at the USA Open Tennis Championship and the New York Marathon.
However, in spite of these individual achievements, his greatest success lies in his involvement with the firm with the unpronounceable name of Kukuxumusu, the firm which he founded along with two other friends in 1989. This company now has fifteen of its own shops as well as two web pages (www.sanfermin.com and www.kukuxumusu.com) and, unless there is some unexpected hindrance, it should sell more than a million tee shirts all over the world during this year.
Now having reached his fortieth birthday, Urmeneta divides his time between his work as creative director of Kukuxumusu – drawings and more drawings – and his hobbies – fiestas, friends, trips and photography, without quite being able to explain how he can keep up his success in all these fields. He insists that this year he will give up his day-to -day work in the firm to concentrate on drawing and traveling, but for the moment this will have to be seen to be believed. Meanwhile, whether it be at The Drawing Factory or at his other activities, he continues to enjoy his lifestyle without excessively worrying about a future, which in any case, he will ensure is designed to his taste.