María Andrea Miranda Serna is a Colombian illustrator and artist inspired by the minutae of our personal environments. Her delightful artworks are chock full of intricate detail from contemporary life and she has even imagined a wonderful story for the illustration she has made for Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion.
You have said your work is inspired by every day objects and spaces – where do you find inspiration for your intricate environments?
I believe artsits have naturally wide open eyes, I mean we are always looking at the things are around us. So most of the spaces I create for my illustration are collages of things that I have at my house, that I see in movies, in magazines and books, in the internet and basically wherever I go. I’ve realized I’m also interested in achiving that kind of eclecticness on my images, not only because I like it but because I think its important to connect with different audiences. I want my images to work elsewhere the same way they work in Colombia.
How do you like to work?
Most of the time I work at home in my bedroom where I have a table full of things I need to produce my images: paper, pencils, watercolors, brushes, etc. This means that my room is the place where I spend most of the time and it’s always completely full of different other things. Not only the things that I use to draw, as I’ve said before, there are also things from my everyday life, like hair brushes, shoes, my clothes, and of course my bed. Maybe that’s why I’m so interested in objects and details in every of my images, because most of the time I feel exactly like any of the characters of my illustrations.
What is happening in the illustration you have made for my colouring book?
In the case of your colouring book I thought it would be nice to write a story and give the image a kind of narrative sequence. So to answer your question I would like to share the small story I wrote for it:
“Mary’s mom was impressed. She was in the first floor of the house washing the dishes, when she suddenly heard her daughter making the sounds of the animals that she was always playing with. That wasn’t the weird part, Mary always makes those sounds when she plays but this time they were not the same, they were extremely life like. She could even hear the paws and claws knocking her ceiling. But after a few seconds of amusement and a tiny smile she went back to those dishes. What she didn’t know was that those noises didn’t come from her girl, in Mary’s room the pieces of plastic that look so much like the thing they represent were becoming real right in front of Mary’s eyes. In fact, she couldn’t make any sounds, she was just sitting there hopping for them not to turn back to what they originally were.”
Why do you think you are so drawn to images of solitude?
I’m not quite sure but I believe it must be related to the fact that in our generation (or maybe just me) we spend a lot of time alone and specifically in my case I’m always working in my room/studio. It might be because it is the way I relate with space and that is reflected in every image I create.
What was the best thing about your BA in Visual Arts?
Well, I think the one of the best things about my BA in Visual Arts was that the program is extremely open to different disciplines within the art world. In my particular case, especially at the beginning of my career, I was able to learn about audiovisual art and I learned how to think in terms of narrative and in images with full details and characters. Later on I became interested in drawing and illustration, and in the multiple techniques of this discipline, such as screen print, engraving and etching. So I have been able to combine everything to create narrative images full with detail and atmosphere.
How easy is it to make a career as an illustrator in Columbia?
It is not easy because there are a lot of young talented artists to “compete” with and not so many scenarios to show your work. Even if you’re able to publish your work in books or magazines it is not common to be well paid. Non the less, there are new small spaces that are trying to show emerging and young artists and illustrators, so the scene is growing.
How important is it to make contacts abroad for work and how do you set about making them?
I think this question is connected with the previous one due to the fact that the market in Colombia is really small and it’s barely growing, artists like me always have to be pay attention to what’s going on around the world. Luckily for us nowadays that task is much easier since the whole world fits into the little screen of a computer and phones. So I’m always connecting with people around the world through social media and the internet. Just like you and I; you invited me to submit to this project through Instagram.
Can you tell us more about your “dduoo” project? The images you have shared online are beautiful, but very different to your illustration work.
Thank you! dduoo is a project that I founded with my partner and because of this collaboration we try to combine our different styles and interest to have one unique and balanced result. Anyway, I believe that there’s a lot of me and my work, not literally in the images, but within the use of colour and palettes, composition and design. I’m trying as well to explore new and different things: sculpture and 3D objects plus screen printing and textiles.
What other projects are you pursuing at the moment?
At the moment I’m trying expand my BA thesis project called ‘Universos Domésticos‘ (Domestic Universes), it’s more of what I’ve been doing. New scenes, new characters, new situations where I hope people can see a reflection of their own reality, their own everyday life and objects.
Artwork by María Andrea Miranda Serna is found in my new book Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, available now on Kickstarter here.
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