Thursday, July 5, 2012

[Un]Discovers: Maruka Caleis

Maruka Caleis is a very special illustrator. It was the ladies she illustrated caught my first attention. Then, when I look at her works again, her photography element has really brought freshness to the illustration pieces. Today, I am going to bring you into the world of Maruka Caleis by asking her some interesting questions.

Hello Maruka, it's my pleasure to have you on à la mode today. Let me start off the interview with the following question. What made you want to be in the illustration industry? Were you under any formal training before entering this industry?
I had been wanting to draw since when I was small, but I was trained in Law and spent many years without picking up a pencil. I thought it was too late to think about a creative career, but my interest in transpersonal psychology and active meditation took me back to drawing about two years ago. Since then, I started to draw and showed my works to the world. Now it has become part of my life.

From law to illustration, that's a big change and I am glad you are actually an illustrator now since your works are pretty amazing! So, within these 10 years, which illustrators do you look up to and have they influenced your works?
I've always had devotion to the classics like Gruau, Benito, and Leyendecker. In the current Illustration world, I am in love with many different artists: Richard Gray, Gildo Medina, Berto Martinez, Laura Laine, Gary Fernandez, Jeanne Detallante ... I can´t say that my work is influenced by them, but to follow their works motivates me to illustrate more images. They are all remarkable for their enormous talent for drawing and great personal style.

I am a huge fan of both Laura Laine and Gray Fernandez as well, their styles have blown me away! Now, let's get back to you. How will you describe your illustration style? I realized some of your works involved photography as well, how did you come up with this concept?
One of my good friends once said this to me about my style and I want to share it with you: " Caleis proposes a stylized figuration full of references of all that inspires her particular universe. Fashion, interior Design, avant-garde Art, Art decó...are some of the themes and languages usually found in her illustrations. Her works are sophisticated graphical pieces totally handmade, where nostalgic and contemporary experience are encouraging playful and full of twists."

The use of photography through magazine cuts is a mere support for the message of the work. it´s there to complete the image visually, or because of a curious or funny contribution to the composition.

I really like the addition of the photography element because it makes the works more surreal. I feel like the women you have illustrated are very classy and elegant. In your own words, how will you describe them and in what era do you think they belong?
These women are unreal, fantastic, but sometimes aloof and even arrogant in a good way. They have a strong sense of personal style and very sofisticated. I wouldn't know what era they belong to, despite they are heavily influenced by fashion. Usually for my works, I look for a timeless result, an aesthetic that does not lose freshness in just a matter of months. There is a retro spirit prospective to these women and some of them could be in the 30's or 40's era, but with an intentionally contemporary look.

I can see these women are coming from the 1930s and 1940s eras because of the attitudes you have injected to them. So out of all the works you have done so far, which one do you think is your best work? Why?
Right now, I think it will be the " Eve Excess". It is an editorial about excess, and looking for something very feminine and appealing. I loved how I was snapping images of the jewellery and I was taking reference from Eden as well. The girl is very provocative. She looks into your eyes in an almost insolent way, and I just think she is very sensual as well.

If I were you, I would have have a hard time picking my favourite piece because each one seems to be representing something different. Last but not least, if you could work for a fashion house to create its F/W 2012 illustration look book, which brand would you choose? Why?
This coming winter I would choose Miu Miu. I want to bring a luxurious sense of freedom and intimacy with high attention to detail and quality. I loved those male suits, the oversize blazers, shimmering effect, optical prints, shirts, colors, the retro spirit. I would also like to pitch a very funny proposal to Basso & Brooke, with that fantastic patchwork games..!

Now it's time for trivia questions!

Gucci or Viktor & Rolf?
Viktor & Rolf, the brand has more character.

Triangles or Circles?
Circles, is the most essential form, indicates the most vital aspect of Life: the final completion. Carl G. Jung explores this theme in his latest book, the circle is everywhere, symbolizing the union of opposites, the whole psyche.

Red or White?
White lights!

Water Colour or Acrylic?
Water colour.

Wine or Beer?
Red wine.. Rioja, please ;)

Christmas or New Year?

Spring or Autumn?

Classical or Pop Music?
Classical, and American roots music of the 50's, 60's and 70's ..

Flowers or Snow Flakes?

Milan or Paris?
Paris for Fashion, NY for the rest.

Thank you so much to Maruka for taking her time to answer my questions. All images are courtesy of Maruka Caleis and you can see more works from her on her Behance Gallery.

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