OMG! Here comes Ale's actual response to the questions I asked her, unlike Sara who just redirected me rather than taking the time out to think about the questions I posed to her, lets see what she had to say:
I am back, I was taking a late honeymoon at the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, hahaha, finally after 3 years of being married :) I finally got one!
I've taken some time to reply to your questions, here they are
1. What are your inspirations?
I am originally from Mexico City, so I grew up in a culture filled with magic, surrealism, and very colourful traditions such as the "Day of the Death" (have you heard about this holiday?) So, growing up surrounded by this culture obviously affects how I see the world. So, as I go through my normal day, the most common, or trivial situation can become a story for a painting or a comic. Sometimes I am not doing anything and some great ideas will come into my head, but if I don't write them down immediately I forget them quickly. I find for me it is more difficult to actually sit down and start and finish a project, than actually generate ideas for them. I have books filled with little notes and fun stuff, I just need the discipline to sit down and actually create them into finished pieces.To answer you questions more specifically, I am mostly inspired by humourous situations, cultural mythology such as "the Day of the Death Celebration", characters, animals, magic and feminine power.
2. I understand you left your permanent job recently, how much passion do you have for your subject? And what drives you?
Yes, after I graduated from Illustration I encountered the reality that I was good at many things, but did not have a specific strength. For example, as Illustrators, we can do Graphic Design, and we might be good at it, but we were not trained as Graphic Designers. We can also do animation (sort of the animation you see on MTV channel, fun alternative stuff) but we might not necessarily have the specific skills to work in an animation studio. And the full-time illustration jobs, as almost non-existent. Pretty much solely as an illustrator we are almost meant to be freelancers.I worked at a couple of companies as a graphic artist, which in reality you do not get to express your creativity at all. These companies only want you because you know the software such as photoshop,, illustrator and corel draw and, you are basically a production monkey, getting paid minimum wage. So I got tired of these situation. Since I quit, I have been helping my husband with his business and designing his promotional material, such as flyers, website, business cards, etc. I have done a few design, illustration and one animation project for some clients as well, but to tell you the truth I am struggling with my finances.At the moment I am looking into the possibility of joining a multimedia animation studio, just because I would be thrilled to be surrounded by creative people working together :), and also because there would be more financial stability as well. But I would never give up on continue developing my personal business.You know, when people ask me, "why do you paint?, why do you want to do this?" I say, because it is who I am, it is inside of me and it wants to come out, I am the happiest when I do it, I feel everything is at peace when I do it, when I don't do it I am in a constant state of stress.
3. Would you class yourself as an Illustrator or a fine artist?
The way I define it is, I am an illustrator, whenever I create art for someone else ( whether its an advertising company or whether its your uncle) So basically you are creating an image, based on a specific or non-specific description of what someone else wants, and you get paid for it.I am a fine artist when I create art for myself, it can be a series of paintings for an art show, or paintings to explore a certain subject, but I paint something that I want. And someone else can buy it if they like it. As a fine artist you exhibit your work to the public through galleries susually.But surprisingly, we, as artists/illustrators are also some other things as well! We are business people, I pretty much write my own contracts and negotiate my payment rates and schedule. I also get to research how to protect my art and my copyrights, and how to become a better seller. You can also get an agent to do this for you as well, but it is simportant for you to know how it works.Also recently, I opened an online store and I am looking into a retail perspective for selling my art. So, as an illustrator or fine artists, you are targeting companies and art collectors to hire you, but as a retailer, you are looking the average person to buy your art as it is printed in products such as bags, t-shirts, etc
4. Why? As explained above
5. Who do you aspire to be like, if anyone?
This is a tricky one :) I do have several illustrators whose work I love and I usually visit their sites for motivation mostly. They are, Dave McKean, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Anita Kunz, Joe Vaux and Alyssa Deville. Alyssa is actually a recent graduate, the other ones are established illustrators.I would say I aspire to be like them for their success as illustrators and I admire their styles. There is something inside of you that either connects or doesn't connect with art. I strongly connect with their images and their narratives. But every one is a world on itself and I would say I aspire to be successful with my personal style and develop it to the point that it allows me to be an established illustrator with my own work.
6. When you are stuck for ideas, how do you dig yourself out of the 'hole'?
As I mentioned before throughout the day I am bombarded with ideas for personal projects. I usually get stuck when I need to create a piece for someone else, hahaha.So I invented these little process for myself. a)As soon as I get an assignment, I sit down and write anything that comes to my head related to it. I usually use bubble format and connect words that are related. Then I proceed to do little drawings of anything that comes to my mind, no matter how silly they seem. And it takes discipline, but I just sit down through it until I empty my brain and I do not know what do draw or write anymore. Then I take a break and go do something else.b) After I 've done this, I do research on the subject and maybe look at how other people have illustrated it. I do this as a second step, that way I make sure I do not get influenced by what I see for my first and original ideas.c) I sit down and look at my initial ideas and at the research I've done and basically I try to pair up the best stuffm or draw any other ideas that come into my head . I usually select about 3 - 5 of my favourite ideas and clean them up a little bitd) I narrow it to the to best ideas and redraw them a couple of times. Sometimes there is absolutely just one perfect idea and I only work on that one.e) Create the final piece.Now it is important to say that I follow a different approach when I am dealing directly with clients, because you will find that is often more important for them to be specific, clear and fast.So my process with clients is as follows:As soon as the contract is signed, after doing a) and b) of my personal process, I supply them with 3 - 5 thumbnail sketches, unless they require less or more ( it depends on the client you work with) and then we work the final from there. Sometimes if you give your clients too many options they get indecisive and confused. So make sure you show them your bestest and most clear ideas, and do not change the drawings once they have approved of them.There is a really good little book I got from my brother called: "A Technique for Producing Ideas" by James Webb Young, and basically describes a process similar to the one I invented for myself, its a good one, I recommend it.
7. What do you think of collaborations? And is it something that you would consider?
I've done some collaborations in the past and I love it. Just like life, sometimes art is better when its shared and I love how other people see different things in my art that I do not see, and when we collaborate we share new and different perspectives.Yes I am open to do a collaboration, if you have something in mind let me know! Also if you have some of your art online, let me know, I would love to check it out!
And, I have to ask, will you be doing any exhibitions in England anytime soon?I do not have anything booked yet, but hopefully I will. Is it ok for me to add your email to my mailing list. I usually send no more that 1 update a month about new work, online store and any news.
Thanks for writing Chloe, hope you are enjoying your studies!
How sweet an email? She sounded genuinely interested in me and my work and took the time out to write some good lengthy reponses opposed to one word answers. Thanks Ale, I will most deinitely be in touch in future :)