Jelly Presents: Mariana Rodrigues

Mariana Rodrigues’ rich and magical illustrations are inspired by her love of nature and its surreal forms, real and imagined. Her narrative worlds depict magical gardens, surreal plants and extravagant animals. She brings to life places and gardens that live in her head so the viewer can walk into and interpret these worlds in their own way. By deconstructing things and reassembling them, she is able to create intensely intricate and symmetrical patterns. Employing a combination of techniques including pencil, ink, watercolour, digital manipulation and digital colouring, she builds detailed layer onto detailed layer.

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Your style is very opulent, how did this develop?

With a lot of practice, try outs and mistakes. Through the years, I’ve played around a lot in my personal projects — with techniques, styles, colours, etc — until I found what was really me and what made me happy in my work.

It was really important for me to stop looking at others and keep comparing myself and just do what is meaningful to me. Detail plays a very important part in my style.

What draws you to your rich colour palettes?

I’m more into rich, deep and darker colours as I think that kind of palette is a way for me to transmit opulence, craftsmanship, luxury, finesse, etc.

Are you more drawn to/inspired by flora or fauna?

I always like to incorporate both in my illustrations but I guess I have a soft spot for flora. The shape of a flower or a leaf can be so inspiring, I feel like I can do infinite things with it.

Your recent project for The Pinnacle required a lot of research into the local wildlife, do you feel that keeps an element of realism in your often dream-like designs?

Definitely! Actually, most of the elements in my illustrations are often inspired by real fauna and flora which then I like to transform and play around with and give them a surrealist twist. But sometimes, depending on the project and the client, it’s important to keep things more real and recognisable.

What is your favourite part of your creative process?

I’m more into the stage where I start colouring and see everything come together. Building detail upon detail. It's very satisfying.

Your work has been featured on products, print and in interiors, do you enjoy experimenting with your style and has that led to a natural evolution that you see continuing?

Yes, I think so. It’s very important for me to keep pushing myself and my work. If I look at my portfolio, my style is very different from what it was 8 years ago and I hope to look at it again in 8 years and keep seeing an evolution. Evolution is an important part of growing as an artist.

Your work has a finish that’s crafted and detailed, can you tell us how you keep the patience for the intricacies?

I don’t know any other way! Haha. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do simple. I love details and intricate designs way too much. It’s actually quite the opposite for me, I get restless and itchy if I feel like it’s not intricate enough. To work on details gives me an immense pleasure.

Your designs for The Other House were part of a complete brand identity and were used in a range of applications from wallpaper to online, did this impact how you approached the design of the artwork?

It was a very open brief — I needed to create a design that bridged the gap between modern and classic, using natural elements such as plants and animals to build mythical lands that are not country specific — and having the format of a wallpaper was my only constriction. The benefit of working with a pattern is that it’s a very easy, adaptable format that you can apply to anything and even pick out specific elements to create other things.

Your work is immensely detailed without feeling overcrowded, how did you develop your compositional skill? Was this a skill you had to develop when it comes to working on commercial briefs?

I have a degree in graphic design so I guess my compositional skills and awareness of space comes from there. And of course, with time and practice these skills got better and I feel more confident in my work.

What kind of music gets you into the creative flow?

My biggest influence is Bjork. Her words are pure poetry and so visual.

Do you have any dream clients?

For sure! I would love to work with a big fashion brand like Gucci or Hermes or do a Christmas campaign for Isetan in Japan.