Marta Antelo Illustrator Interview

Marta Antelo

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Can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an illustrator? What were your earliest impressions?
When I entered high school, I met someone who became one of my best friends. She attended extracurricular drawing classes and so did I. We loved everything about art and also crafts. In our spare time, we dedicated ourselves to painting on T-shirts and working on varied creative projects. At 15-years-old, we had our own walk-in shop.

Can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an illustrator? What were your earliest impressions?
It was in my adolescent years that I realized I was going to be an illustrator.

Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it?
As soon as I signed up for a professional association when I lived in Valencia, the Association of Illustrators of Valencia, I received my first commission. It was a two-page comic for the association itself on the rights of illustrators. The second commission was a guide on sexuality; slightly more difficult to approach.

Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
I love working in the studio; in silence and at my own pace, with music playing in the background. I enjoy the fact that I don’t feel obliged to complete a regular workday.

Did you study art in school?
Yes, in high school. The new curriculum allowed me to choose art. Afterwards, I studied fine arts in a university.

Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art?
From anywhere. I live in a thriving metropolis, Madrid, where there are many types of people, so many faces, lots of stimuli. Everything here is inspiring.

How would you describe the process of creating art?
I’ve been creating art for more than ten years. The process has become somewhat methodical. At times, I gather materials such as photos, clothing, plants, etc., depending on the project. I love to use Pinterest. I continue with sketches and finally, with color.

Do you have a favorite illustrator? What is it about that illustrator’s work you like?
Because of social media, I’ve disovered many talented illustrators. My list of illustrators is endless. If I were a millionaire, I wouldn’t hestitate to buy a painting by Paul Klee, or a sculpture by Alexander Calder.

If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
Rock star.

Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
Yes. When I made my communion, a tradition in Spain when you are eight or nine years old, I asked my grandfather if he would give me a paint box. Inside were watercolors, felt tip pens and pencils. It wasn’t the best quality but that box of paints made me very happy.

Do you have a favorite illustrator supply, a favorite method, or favorite location, where you like to create artwork?
I like to concentrate when I work, and music helps me do that. I also enjoy working in natural light. Otherwise, I would work almost anywhere.

If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
I think in everything I do there exists a childlike spirit. Two-dimensionality and my use of color; I guess, some would call my style, naive.

Do you think illustration has the eye of the public or could public awareness of this field be improved upon?
I think illustration is valued, in general. There are many types of illustration, as many as there are people who create it. I guess we also have to know how to appreciate and respect other styles, unrelated to our own.

Illustration, as a figurative art, is easily understood by most people. I think it’s quite simple to appreciate.

Why does art matter to you? Why should it matter to the world?
Art is culture and culture defines a civilized society. That is the most important reason to protect it.

If you could look back or forward a hundred years, do you think the life of an illustrator was or will be better than today?
The internet gives us the possibility to be connected with anyone, anywhere in the world. We don’t even have to move our chairs. That helps illustrators reach potential customers.

For the same reason, competition is much stiffer. In general, yes, the life of an illustrator is easier today.