There are many champions of cutesy, contorted cartoon imagery. But staring into character-filled frames of Spanish artists Mar Hernandez (aka Malota), whose eye-popping Japanese-style cartoons and attention to detail earned her a National Illustration Award in her home country in 2008, finds her own niche in the sleek, modern mix of illustrations, doll-making and design.
Mar Hernandez: I knew about Hibbleton Gallery because Ben Pham, one of the owners wrote me a few month ago. I took part of the collective show named surfacing. After this collective show Ben proponed me to prepare a solo show for his gallery and I said yes. This is not the first time I made a solo show but it is the first time in the USA.
Where are you from originally?
MH: I'm from Spain, and my english is not very good, isn't it?
Are there any guiding themes in the Personajes de Colores exhibit that audiences should know about?
MH: I don't like to talk much about my work, especially to people who may not know it yet, everyone can make their interpretation without being conditioned by an explanation on my part.
The nice thing is how each person feels and interprets the work of others.
I don't make conceptual art so I don't mind if they misunderstood some of my pieces.
One of the most important things I want to transmit is joy, to play is something I love to do, so It's all about fun.
You recently won a national illustration award. How did that come about and is that a major accomplishment for you personally?
MH: Yes, it's a great personal satisfaction.
In Spain there are a lot of great illustrators so it is really hard to win this kind of nacional prizes.
Can your art be seen at other galleries in the U.S. or abroad? If so, where?
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MH: Yeah, I have some pieces at Rivet Gallery in Tucson, AZ. I also have a piece at Japanese American National Museum from a collective show about Kokeshi dolls, and I have some pieces at Carmichael Gallery in Los Angeles as well.
How would you describe the overall style of your art work?
MH: Well, I love working with the characters, though I use different issues, the techniques I use are diverse, from screen printing, engraving, painting, watercolor or pencil to simply indian ink.
I like the symmetry is something that is constantly present in my work, I think that symbolizes balance, that balance so hard to achieve in everyday life.