Q and A with Marika Paz

Posted on September 25, 2015 by Desiree Montoya | 0 Comments

Recently, we had the pleasure of asking the incredibly talented, self-taught artist, Marika Paz a few questions about her life, her love of art, and the inspiration behind her work. Her work encapsulates a love of fantasy and the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. Visit Bridge City Mercantile soon to get your hands on a one-of-a-kind print. 

Q and A with Marika Paz: 
What is the first memory that you have with illustration?

In college, I studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh Scotland. While exploring Edinburgh's old bookstores, I remember finding a copy of King Arthur illustrated by Arthur Rackham. I was so taken with his illustrations and drawings, and before this moment had never considered being an illustrator. I became obsessed with illustrators of the golden age, such as Arthur Rackham, Aubrey Beardsley, and Edmund Dulac. After college, I became serious about becoming a working artist and illustrator.

Who was the first person to recognize your artistic abilities? 

My mother. She has always supported me and encouraged me to create art.

In your artist bio, you say that your mom was a “half-witted gypsy.” How did she inspire you at a young age? Do you have memories of creating anything artistic with her?

Yes! My mother was always creating art around me- she played music in bands, wrote, and was also a painter and artist. Being in such an artistic environment definitely fostered my own creativity. She was always encouraging me and would often work on art projects and draw with me. Many of my first memories are of drawing together. Fun fact, my mom wrote my bio!

What is your creative process like? Do you have daily routines that you follow?

Most of my personal work starts out by daydreaming. I think of the outside, nature and its animals, the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. I usually start out by lightly sketching my idea in a sketchbook- not on the paper I will use for the final piece. I do this to get the 'feel' for the piece- the shapes and spacing. It’s really rough and light. Then I sketch in pencil onto the paper I will be painting on. This sketch is really light, mostly just shapes without a lot of details. I then paint- I am not very strict with following my exact sketch and get more of a feel for the piece as I work. When I am done painting, I then draw on top of the paint. This keeps the ink looking black, instead of painting on top of the ink which washes it out.  I don't have any designated daily routines I follow, but I have gotten into some habits. I try and draw every day. I make lots of to-do lists, I try to stay organized (but most of the time my studio is a bit of a cluttered mess!), and I always have some coffee!

Give me your top five musicians/groups that you listen to while working.

This changes often! Currently, but in no particular order, I am listening to: Noah Gundersen - Alpine - Ben Howard - Olafur Arnalds - Kishi Bashi. I also love listening to podcasts while I work, my favorite is Radiolab.

You mention being an avid reader on your blog. What was the last book that you enjoyed? Do you find inspiration in pieces that you read?

I recently read Uprooted by Naomi Novik. It's a fantasy book that is like reading an old fairy tale; I really enjoyed it. Books definitely inspire me and I collect them, especially antique and vintage illustrated books. I love how books feel and smell. I read a lot of different books: fiction, history, fantasy, to young adult- anything with a great story. I love books of old folklore and tales, which has definitely impacted my artwork. I have been really interested in the occult arts and alchemy and have been picking up any and all books I can find that have to do with alchemy- you can see a lot of these symbols in my work, especially my spirit animals.

What do you hope viewers will get out of your work?

I hope that they connect with it. I hope they enjoy it. I hope they feel something.

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