Mikel is no kid (wouldn’t he just love it if he was) but he draws like an infuriated schoolboy critical of the tiresome stench of the adult world. Despite the fact that he is not very conventional, it is difficult to find a person who can hold back a smile at the ironic and subtle absurdities to be found in his drawings.
He himself is neither a bull nor a cow even though his initials make up a MU and despite the fact that in his sketches these two animals stand out in a better light than the humans do. He is neither a visionary nor a seer but his truth is expressed in his drawings.
He is not a fashion designer, although his drawings appear in all sorts of places and he keeps a beady eye on what is in fashion so that his drawings are in constant evolution, and above all, that these drawings fit in perfectly with the T-shirts, sweat-shirts, caps and bandanas that are being produced. He is certainly no clairvoyant, because he had no serious long-term intentions when he first started putting his drawings onto T-shirts back in 1989 in Pamplona/Iruñea just to sell on the streets with his friends Gonzalo Dominguez and Koldo Aiestaran who still remain his partners to this day.
In no way could he be considered a serious person, but neither is he irresponsible when it comes to sitting down to draw between the legs of his beloved Kukuxumusu Drawing Factory. It would not be true to say that he is a punctual and steadfast character, but, on the other hand, he has never failed to attend his work meetings on time nor has he ever failed to deliver his drawings within the stipulated time (there have been nights when he has produced up to 20 drawings which then promptly and mysteriously disappeared from the shops). Nor can we precisely classify him as a tireless worker, but within his pathological slothfulness – of which he is proud – it must be said that, when he has a sharp pencil and a blank sheet in front of him, as he sits in his cowhide-drawing chair, his deft fingers get to work with firm relentless strokes.
During the 204 hours that make up the Sanfermin Fiesta (the world-famous Fiestas in Iruñea/Pamplona where the bulls chase after the lads every morning in the bull-running) he goes on a round-the-clock binge. Although he never lets up on the continuous partying, neither does he cease from dawdling down some rough sketches on the nearest roll of toilet paper at hand, which will later become transformed into the funny colorful upside-down drawings of the Kukuxumusu world.
And while he is not a person who has much patience with the superficial and clichéd images of the people and places, he does enjoy highlighting the real folklore and traditions of those different regions where his creations are sold.
He does not go looking to provoke or mount any kind of public scandals in the press or media, but he has a sharp tongue too, and when something jars in his madcap head, there is no stopping him, however controversial the idea may be. For that reason he never fails to satisfy the onlookers. He does not see himself as a strange bird nor as an example of a free spirit even thought he has gone off on more trips than American Airlines, and he manages to work at what he likes doing, and in general, has never fallen into any kind of routine with his life. He doesn’t identify with anything or anyone and he never looks beyond what the immediate day will bring him, yet nevertheless he already has the collection of drawings for the winter season taking shape in his head.
He doesn’t know what ADSL means, nor the tag of a HTML nor the web of a search engine, but he created his Kukuxumusu.com web page six years ago and he also has his Sanfermin.com web page, which receives three million friendly visitors throughout the year. He has no hang-ups about laughing at himself or of producing a T-shirt with a drawing of a pile of turds with flies whizzing around it with the caption: “Kaka-xumusu” the Shit Factory.”As you will have probably realized by now, he does not have a very standard conception of marketing, but even so the gurus of commercial graphics are keeping a beady eye on him all the same.
And perhaps in conclusion it should be pointed out that Mikel Urmeneta is not one of those artists who is believes in “art for art’s sake.” Neither is he a commercial artist. Contradiction reigns and perhaps lies in his personal style where this cartoonist has managed to make his intelligent drawings find acceptance by all those who look for something more than simple garments with an attractive design on them.
In this way Mikel Urmeneta is what he is not. The jesting sketcher who is to blame for the funny yet audacious designs that people the creations of The Kukuxumusu Drawing Factory. A firm which sold more than 1.000.000 T-shirts last year to fit all kinds of bodies in its 16 official shops and its Online Shop (www.kukuxumusu.com) as well as in over 1000 outlets spread around Europe.