Our latest addition to the Illo roster Mariana Ardanaz - plastacine artist

Plasticine was invented in England over one hundred years ago, by art teacher William Harbutt. He had been searching for an easy to use modeling material for his students and the final product was the result of many experiments. Our latest addition to the Illo roster Mariana Ardanaz has adopted this method, as what better way to spread happiness, by charming little readers with recognisable objects - that you see everyday, but in miniture clay form. The result is far from mundane - and gives you a wonderful, playful world to enrich your imagination! 

When did you start illustrating?
I started working as an illustrator almost ten years ago. First some small commissions for magazines or school books and then more important collections or projects. All that experience helps me to generate better ideas and ways of communicating with the readers.

Who has been the most supportive in your illustration career, perhaps your teacher, family, friends?
I always think how lucky I am, since my parents are my total support, even though they are no related to art (mother mathematician and father veterinarian).
I can also say that my friends have always believed in my talent.
Besides, I went to an arts high school, and many teachers were important during my training. Then, I continued studying at the University of La Plata and in different illustration workshops, where I met many people who gave me significant tools. In some way, everyone of them contributed to perfectiing my skills and professional knowledge.

Did you always think art was something that was going to be a major part of your life?
I'd liked art and its different expressions since I was a child: singing, acting, drawing. And I'd always liked playing, too.
Even now as an adult!
I could say I was sure that art would be an essential part of my life, but it was difficult to take the risk of living from it.

What is your favourite subject matter to illustrate?
The subjects I like illustrating the most are those that surprise me and present a challenge to solve. Topics such as family relationships, or related to childhood that are often avoided for being controversial. I enjoy creating characters that show empathy and sensitivity, by conveying real situations.
I strive to show viewers new ways of thinking.

How would you describe your style?
My work is peculiar because I mainly use plasticine.
My style is easily recognisable because it mixes volume, colour and shape. The aesthetic is attractive and eye-catching.

What is your favourite collaboration to date?

I really enjoyed working on a collection of Latin American books. Then I was able to discover flora, fauna and varied customs depending on each country.
Also, I had the opportunity to work making characters and scenery for an animated documentary movie called “Vicenta” that is close to being released, and presented a great challenge for me.

What interested you about being represented by Illo Agency?
I am interested in participating in Illo Agency because I consider it a teamwork. They are very respectful of each illustrator type of art and try to create networks and collaborations according to the preferences of each artist.
I am very happy to belong to this international family!

Do you have a favourite author, film director, or designer?

My favourite author is Maria Wernicke, from Argentina. She is a very talented and generous colleague. She transmits many emotions in her books.

My favourite directors are West Anderson and Pedro Almodovar. I enjoy the use of colours and compositions they make, as well as the photography of their movies.

Are you working on any personal projects you can share with us?    
I daily work on personal projects where I can be an full author: in charge of both text and image. I am interested in taking challenges and carrying out ideas that need to be discussed today. In addition, there are many book projects that have not yet been published.
Some of them are already finished and others still in process.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you have a favourite?
I am afraid to say that I am not fond of podcasts, I'd rather prefer music.
My favourite singers are Nina Simone and Chavela Bargas. I love their expressive voices. Whenever I listen to podcasts, I like those that have some personal life experience in their content.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact her agent; [email protected]

at illo agency we pride ourselves in representing a collation of global illustrators, distinctly diverse in creativity and uniquely celebrated by like-minded clients across a range of commercial markets.