Who is Maria Medem and what does she do???
I’m a comic artist and illustrator and most of my time I’m drawing or strolling with my utterly handsome dog.
Where did you grow up and what do you call home now??
I grew up in Sevilla (Spain), I’m living here again now but I have mixed feelings about it. I’m going to move out to another city, Granada, in a couple of months and I’m really excited about that! But I think that maybe I’ve Idealised that city.
Did you grow up in a creative household?? Any other family members share the same path as you?
My parents don’t have creative works, they both are psychologists and my father is mathematician as well, but I think their professions did have a big influence on me. Although not having a creative job, they are really curious about everything and I think that’s an important part of being an artist.
Three words to best describe your aesthetic/style?
Mysterious, atmospheric, subtle (at least that’s what I want it to be, doesn’t mean I get it always right!)
Where did you passion for illustration begin?
I’ve always love drawing, I can’t really recall when it started. What I remember is that during studying Fine Arts I loathed it -because my university was really academic- but fortunately I get over that.
Where you always into illustration or did this love stem from another artistic practice???
While studying Fine Arts, I really enjoyed painting and engraving, especially engraving. But now that I think about it, it is practically the same as drawing but using a really nice technique. If it wasn’t so expensive and such hard work I would love to have an engraving atelier, but I don’t see it possible, at least for now.
Describe the creative process behind some of your work?? Your style is beautifully simple yet deeply intriguing, do you prefer the audience to make up their own minds or do you like to give them some boundaries?
Yes, I prefer not to give many clues. I don’t have a rigid process, every illustration comes in a different way. But, for example, lately I’m more interested in creating atmospheres, so I try to recall a certain atmosphere that I’ve experienced and that has had an impact on me. Then, when I draw, I’m keeping it in mind, especially during the colouring part. My aim is to have the very same feeling when I see the drawing that when I recall the atmosphere.
Would you say there are other artists/designers that you have learnt off or been inspired by?
Yes! A lot. One artist that I love since my childhood is Jean-Michel Folon, because of a huge book of his Posters that my father owns, and he uses a lot of gradients and creates very synthetic scenes. Also something that really impressed me was the discovering of Moebius’s art in my adolescence and I think that has stuck with me, although a lot of time has pasted since the last time I read a book of his. One of my favourite artists now is Cody Cobb, which is a photographer, and shoots incredible pictures of landscapes. There’re of course more: Saul Steinberg, Hilma af Klint, Hokusai, Lawrence AlmaTadema or Ikko Tanaka. I love Anna Haifish and Margot Ferrick as well. Something that inspires me a lot is the program Lucifer over L.A on NTS radio, every episode is astonishing, at least for me.
What puts a smile on your face?
Most of the things that I do when I’m relaxed.
One book, one movie, one track?
Book - The Gambler / Dostoevsky
Movie - The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser / Werrner Herzog
Track - Roberto Musci / Claudia, Wilhem R. and Me (Music From Memory)
Aside from art and design do you have any other passions/loves???
I like plants, but I don’t dedicate as much time as I would like to them. Now I’m practicing Aikido and I’m really enjoying it, although it’s quite difficult -i just started three months ago now- and sometimes I feel a bit useless, but I think is good to learn something difficult from the very beginning.
Favourite place in the world? And why?
Theres a few. The first that comes to my mind is a rollerskating rink that is in a park twenty minutes from house. Its a plain cement rink surrounded by trees, and there’re always yellow flowers over its right half -in fact its not very suitable for skating. In that park there’re peacocks walking around - maybe this sounds a bit odd but it isn’t the only park with peacocks in Sevilla. And they seem to like this place, so they're over there, jumping atop of the banks and doing the strange things they do. I don’t know, I feel really good every time I’m there. I’ve purposely never gone to that place in a day in which I know I won’t feel comfortable. For example, with a lot of heath or when it’s raining, because I don’t want to have an unpleasant memory of it, to keep it as a perfect place. Also I’m now recalling another spot! Will be short about this one. It was during the year I lived in Barcelona and it is also park. It was so strange! When I was there for the first time, I had the very strong feeling that I’ve been there before, although it was totally impossible. But it was so familiar to me, like a memory from the childhood. And that feeling never disappeared, no matter how many times I would go there -which was a lot, because of my dog.
Any new projects or work collaborations on the horizon for Maria Medem?
Yes! I’m finishing a zine with Hugo Espacio, i’ve collaborated with him before in Karate Zine. This zine is about continuum and will come with a cassette in loop, because we’re also starting a music project, called Agua del Rosal. Also soon is going to be published a book of short and mute comics, coming from Fidèle Editions in France, I believe that will happen in January. And some time in the next year will start working on another long comic.