Captivated by her magical animation Marching Creatures, we didn´t hesitate to approach illustrator Marianna Madriz, to discuss about the references of her work, the process to create her fascinating characters and about her upcoming projects.
O&U: Tell us a bit about yourself.
MM: My name is Marianna. Born in Valencia (Venezuela), I moved to England with my family when I was fifteen. This move gave me the opportunity to study many subjects I was interested in, until I finally decided art was the right path for me. Now I am 21 years old, and I'm in my third (and final) year in my BA in Illustration in the Arts University Bournemouth.
O&U: The influence of art in your daily life.
MM: I find art in everyday things! Like the odd shape of a tree I see on my way to university, strange characters I see in the street one day or clothes I wear that are full of pattern, just to list a few examples off the top of my head. I automatically create an archive of the things I see and feel, and that ultimately feeds into my drawings.
O&U: Your artwork has a very rich narrative content. Tell us about the stories in your drawings.
MM: Thank you! It's a tricky question, as most of the times I draw without a specific story in mind. I think many of my characters look playful and mischievous, as if they were about to play a prank on someone else. Some just show the boredom and normality (sometimes it could also be the occasional fun!) of every day life, while others are more fantastic and can be easily associated with folkloric tales. That's what I feel anyway, a mixture of old folk tales and the stories we encounter daily.
O&U: You make GIFS and your animation Marching Creatures is amazing. What attracts you from animation?
MM: Marching Creatures was my first ever attempt at doing an animated short as part of a university project, and it was so enriching! It's just great to be able to see your characters move and come to life, and moving image has the wonderful effect of engaging masses of people. The process itself can be long and tedious at times, but all is forgotten once you see the final result, and it's such a great payoff. Hopefully I'll be able to do a second short soon.
O&U: Your characters often wear very particular costumes. Does fashion design affects your artwork? What is your vision of fashion?
MM: I believe that designing apparel and fascinating clothes is an art in itself. I'm not really a big follower in fashion design, but every now and then I see pieces of clothing that really get my eye. My favourite clothes are full of pattern, shape and colour, so I guess that sometimes I dress my characters in clothes I'd enjoy wearing myself.I also love fashion and costumes that are folkloric, or resemble something folkloric: Yeashin Kim's 2013 collection, the costume designs in the Japanese film Princess Raccoon, or the traditional Tehuana dresses famously worn by Frida Kahlo. Those are a few fashion/costume references that really inspire me, and have probably have made their way to inspire a couple of images I've done.
O&U: So, you like making lists. Could you tell us what was your most recent list?
MM: I'm off to Mexico soon to spend Christmas there, which is really exciting! My most recent lists included a selection of places and museums I want to go visit during my stay. Lists might not always be the most fun things to do, but it helps me clear my mind a bit and put things in order.
O&U: Are you creating something right now? What upcoming projects do you have in mind?
MM: Right now I'm taking a break after creating a lot of small projects- from posters to apparel and my first attempt at laser cutting a couple of fun wooden puzzles-. I think that in the next couple of months I'll focus and work in a small story, and make it into a book. That's the plan anyway, but my mind tends to wonder off and decisions could change drastically. Maybe I could create toys, or another animation, who knows! As long as I'm doing something fun and that people enjoy, it's all good with me.