(She/Her) • Barcelona, Spain
Mari Fouz was born in Cornellà, Barcelona . She studied graphic design and illustration, and has spent much of her career as an editorial designer and art director. Nowadays, she works fulltime as an illustrator, mostly for editorial and press. She has drawn since she was very young, and she feels comfortable with many media. Her signatura style is the collage technique mixed with analog resources. She shares her workplace with her cats, without whom she cannot live.Read more
New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Fortune Magazine, Wired, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Financial News, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The Economist, New Statesman, L'Express, Le Figaro, Le Monde, L'OBS.Read more
- Laus Award for Graphic Design 2019
- European Newspaper Design Awards 2019
- ÑH Newspapers Design Awards 2020
An interview with
Mari, can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an illustrator? What were your earliest impressions?
I am not aware of what age I started drawing, because I have been drawing since I was a really young. Later, when I began to work, I could not afford spending time drawing, so I just stopped doing it. It was when I regained my stability that I felt that need of drawing again.
Who or what influenced your art when you were young?
Since I was a kid I loved comics and picture books. I used to spend my weekly pay on comics and save clippings from magazines and papers with pictures that I liked and then draw them.
Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it?
My mother keeps many of the drawings that I made when I was little. I think my first “commission” was a brochure explaining the rules of my school library when I was 7 years old. It was super exciting to see them printed, I still have a copy! Maybe one day I will frame it!
Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
I have been working as a graphic designer for many years. A couple of years ago I decided to jump into illustration. Both professions goes very hand in hand. I can say that I feel very happy to dedicate myself to illustration now, because is something that I really love and makes me feel very fullfiled.
Did you study art in school?
No, I did not study art in school. I did an oil painting course when I was very little, but little else. I studied Graphic Design at the university and later I made an illustration degree while I was already working as a graphic designer.
Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art? Do you have a source for your ideas?
I think everything is a source for me. From going out, reading, watching movies, talking with my friends or family, etc. Anything can be very inspiring. Anyway, I can say that music is something that inspires me a lot.
How would you describe the process of creating art?
The creative process is something very relative. In my case, it depends a lot on the type of work. Sometimes everything flows naturally without strange mechanisms and other times I have to squeeze my brain to create. Anyway, the famous and universal brainstorming is something that always works!
Do you have a favourite artist? What is it about that artist’s work you like?
It would be impossible for me to say just one artist. I love many artists from many very different disciplines. In the field of illustration in particular, perhaps Blutch or Tove Jansson in drawing. But in the conceptual aspect I am a very fan of Javier Jaén and Christophe Niemann. And who doesn’t? Anyway I insist, I can’t just keep one!
If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
I would definitely be a musician. I love to play the guitar and sing, but it’s still another way of creating and making art. Or maybe car mechanics to follow my family tradition!
Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
I don’t know which were the first ones, but I do remember the first that I loved: they were magic markers which changed color passing another marker over it. When you are a kid this is something amazing!
Do you have a favourite artist supply, a favourite method, or favourite location, where you like to create artwork?
It is essential for me to work with my graphic tablet (I work with a Wacom Cintiq) and with my inks and my brushes. I usually mix analog things with digital ones. I like to play with these combinations that gives the final art a very warm touch. But an indispensable supply for my creations and my collages is … powdered graphite!
If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
Above all you have to be open-minded. I always try to create visual games, sometimes more or less obvious, but most of it always depends on the interpretation of the reader. So you have to be open, just like with all the other aspects in life!
Do you think illustration has the eye of the public or could public awareness of this field be improved upon?
I believe that for many years the artistic crafts have not been properly considered. For a few years now, all this is beginning to be more valued. At the same time art in general is being “democratized”. That is always good for everyone.
Why does art matter to you? Why might it matter to the world?
Art is essential in life. As a way of expressing yourself and as a way of communicating. With art, things can be changed a lot. There have been many artistic currents (not only plastic) which have changed important things in life. Art can be very reivindicative and empowering. I think it is a very powerful, very direct and above all, universal way of expressing oneself.
If you could look back or forward 100 years, do you think the life of an artist was or will be better than today?
That depends on the environment of the artist! I think there were those who lived very well, and others who unfortunately not so much. In any case, I think that today it is more accessible, and that’s very good news 🙂
Illustrating the future
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