Artists in Motion: María Elina "I always work around the same idea which intrigues me, which is how the fragile and the bestial could share the same scene."

August 15, 2016

Artists in Motion: María Elina "I always work around the same idea which intrigues me, which is how the fragile and the bestial could share the same scene."

Artists in Motion aims to introduce you to our artists and their worlds; to allow you a glimpse of their sensibilities and unique perspectives, and the ideas, experiences, people, and places that help inspire their work. Through this series, we hope to give you an idea of how our artists create meaning through the unique works of art that you will take home.

María Elina

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How did you start drawing?

I think I always drew but it took quite some time for me to realize that this could be my career. My studies were always related to the visual arts, I studied Image and Sound Design, did photography workshops, illustration, and worked in scenography. In this way, I gradually got closer to what I really wanted to do, which is drawing. For me, painting is a journey. I also attended Diana Aisenberg's workshop and that was a very interesting starting point.

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In your work there is a special attention to animals, why?

Books about animals, photography and botany have always been part of my family library since childhood. When working on something, I think there is no way for me to escape those memories. The animals in my drawings have a significant presence, next to the feminine universe and the vegetal kingdom. I always work around the same idea which intrigues me, which is how the fragile and the bestial could share the same scene. The fantastic world of fables had an important place in my childhood, specially the way they personify wild animals metamorphosed with the female body. With that in mind I'm looking for a disturbing result. I think I can get close to that when I combine the delicate and the brutal.


Why did you choose working on children’s books?

One day, when I still was unsure of how to transform my passion in a way to make a living, I went into a bookstore and while looking at children's books I realized that this could be a way for me to develop my work, until then I used to draw only for myself. That day I decided to look for illustration workshops and started attending to each one I could. Creating, for me is as important as looking at what others do, here and everywhere in the world. This helps to become aware of how my own work develops, and be aware of others' work helps and enriches my own. Clearly I decided I wanted to illustrate books but that only addresses my work in one sense, I've also found a lot of other ways to develop my work in this profession that surprised me. All the time new possibilities open up for illustration; its a very large and diverse market.

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What do you want to communicate in your work?

It is difficult to answer that because I think there is not something specific I want to convey. If I have to say something, it would be that every work has an intention to disturb, there is no way I can know if it really happens, and I think it does not matter too much, it is a simply a ludic process.

 What books did you read when you were a child?

In my house there were many books, and I read them all, but I think what was most significant were the photo magazine collection that belonged to my grandfather. He was a photographer. It was a great collection and I saw every magazine a million times: portraits , animals , landscapes abstract images, almost all in black and white. It turned out to be really hypnotic images for me. Today I have those magazines in my house, I think I know them by heart!

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How do you relate words and images in your books?

I can tell you what I would like to happen. I don't believe there is a literal relationship, I would like illustrations to transmit their own authorial mark, and I understand this as personal utterance. This is a kind of guide I try not to avert.

Why is art important for children?

As a child I was, I can say that art always occupied a central place in my life, both as the pleasure of observing and enjoying the creative process. When I was 4 years old I attended the Vocational Institute of Art preschool and I remember absolutely everything I did there. My teachers faces , puppets, paintings and games, that short experience enhanced my creative curiosity in a decisive way and artistic activity was in me forever linked to experimenting and enjoying. In my personal experience , art positively transformed my life making it much happier.

What does influence your work?

Life! What I see, what I hear, what I fell, my kids, love… the list is endless.

What legacy does art transmit to kids?

Perhaps, in my humble opinion,, art provides us with a more sensitive perspective about the world and that makes us better.

What would you say to young artists? 

What works for me is to feel good about what I do, draw more and more , enjoy the process. Not to take too seriously small findings, because everything is very dynamic ... I think enjoying the task is the most important part of the profession.

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                                                                                                        Karina Miller 


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