Maria Corte is an artist from Barcelona who creates illustrations using a combination of geometric shapes and textures. Her work has been used in book covers, posters, advertisements, and more. Read this interview and learn more about Maria Corte.
Hello Maria! Let’s get to know you better. Can you tell us more about yourself?
I was born in Barcelona in 1983 and I’ve been living here ever since. My parents are Argentinians who were exiled as a result of Videla’s dictatorship, though, so we’ve always been aware of our roots at home. Furthermore, they’re both psychoanalysts, so I was introduced to Freud’s theories from a very early age. This has influenced my conception and interpretation of facts. I grew up amongst tangos, good literature and Sunday’s roast. I’ve never been keen on sports and I used to go with my father to expositions, many of them of abstract art, which at that age, I couldn’t understand
I must say that you have great illustration work. What usually inspires you to create?
My work is informed by many factors, personal experience, places visited, the impressions I absorb from the city…Everything that surrounds us influences our work in one way or another.
How did you discover your love for illustration? When did you start to draw?
I probably couldn’t exactly say when I first started to draw, but I can say that one of my first memories as a child involves having a pencil on hand and a piece of paper in front of me while sitting on the living room’s floor and trying to draw what I could see through the window even with a balcony and some flower pots standing in the way.
From there on out I can’t recall any time period when I wasn’t fantasizing about drawing, until I decided it was time to take it seriously and I studied illustration at the Escola Massana de Barcelona.
Is there any artist that you look up to and inspires you?
Influences are unfathomable, they come from your own experiences and mannerisms acquired from images you’ve seen and stored in your subconscious throughout your life. Pictorial-wise, I’ve been unquestionably influenced by Cubism, represented by Fernand de Léger and Roger de La Fresnay and their breakdown of space through geometric shapes.
I must also mention the excellent work of Richard Linder and Tarsila do Amaral. The way they picture the human body is simply fascinating, distancing it from stereotyped standards of beauty and convention. I’ve been keen on Le Corbusier drawings for some time now, and I always bear in my mind the indelible memory of the wonderful wire images of Le Cirque de Calder.
Ben Shahn is one of my favorites in the field of illustration. Right now, I’m completely amazed by the work and talent of Pablo Amargo.
What is your work process? How does a concept come to life from start to finish?
Once I get the order and the briefing and get in touch with the customer, I start doodling. At the beginning of the process I keep making dozens of small drawings on a sheet of paper, writing down ideas, linking concepts. I nearly always start using graphite and color pencils; the tools I feel confident with. Once I’ve hit upon different ideas that explain the same subject, the step is redrawing them in a more elaborate way until they do the talking themselves and reveal which is the good one, the one I must stick to until the end. With my light box as an essential support, I redraw until the volumes, the composition and the lines are well-balanced and the illustration complies with the order requirements. If the coloring is by hand, I work with stencils and paint, while I scan the drawing and start working with Photoshop if it’s digital.
You have a very distinct style. How did you develop this?
Style and its own evolution isn’t something you can lead forcibly. It keeps coming naturally over time and with the amount of working hours spent. The world around you and your life experiences exert an influence on it, as well as all the images which keep swamping us on a daily basis and, particularly, the ones you happen to be interested in. Many make an impression on you because of their substance but not because of their form. In any case, it’s the mixture of all those ingredients which results in an individual essence that sets you apart from others (equally unique) and will keep varying as times goes by. You never stop learning.
The Plant Journal
“Misogyny” is an interesting piece. What was your inspiration for this? Is there a story behind this work?
As you can see the representation of giant women and sexuality are two topics that often appear in my work. I was just sketching a woman and suddenly the concept clicked. There was no premeditation. The secret is to always be drawing, the pencil is the extension of our mind.