Marcela Bolivar Interview
Tell us a little about yourself:
I grew up both in Brazil and Colombia. My parents have always been cultured and eager to entice me to develop my intellect through music and art. After many painting and drawing lessons art became something very natural and exciting to me, it is now a way to see and live my life. When I’m not creating, I’m reading, I try to discover new music, I love to wander in tropical woods…
When did you first begin to make art?
I would say that I was 16 when I try to develop my own sense of beauty and not recreating another artist style. What attracts me and excites me is always towards dark and surreal imagery, so my art is very linked to those themes, and I could say it always has been that way.
When did you first start using Photoshop and how did you learn?
I started to use Photoshop at 16 after my father gave me a 1megapixel camera back in 2002. I was very frustrated with the performance of this limited camera, so I tried to combine my photos with drawings and to manipulate them in always more complex compositions. I learned by trial and error, no much tutorials. There wasn’t plenty of those with the methods I wanted to achieve, I’m glad to see that now there are plenty of tutorials for any kind of art!
What inspires you?
I am very inspired by the exploration of my own psyche and the recollection of my own symbolic icons. Those help to remember and conquer dark corners in my mind. Dreams, memories, emotions, it all is represented in my work through both anonymous beings or through nature itself. It becomes at the end a visual statement of a struggle between reason and chaos.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I love Gustave Moreau, Bosch, Segantini, Brueghel, Knopff, Böckling, Felicien Rops.
What is your typical process when creating a piece of art?
Yes, I try to have a complete mental map of what I want. Ideas come best to me when I’m almost asleep or in a state of semi-trance (when I hear music or while I’m walking). So I keep a sketchbook next to me.
Where do you get your source materials from?
I try to do my own photos when it comes to personal images. With commercial images if the ideas of the client are to out there I use commercial stock. But I find it better to make my own photos so I have control over the lighting and perspective.
What is your favorite Photoshop trick/method at the moment?
I’ve always loved masks since I discovered them! They are an essential part of my creative process and help me to edit more instinctively my images, it is like painting for me, and I love it.
What is your favorite Photoshop tool or plugin at the moment?
I love the Puppet Warp tool! Since I use lots of gnarly plants, this tool helps me a lot to control their shapes!
What work of your own are you most proud of?
It has to be Hydroponic. This image was very organic for me to make and helped me to overcome an artist block I wouldn’t recognize.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working here and there on some personal images, for exhibitions and clients. And planning on starting at las my master’s degree in Germany.
What would you tell someone who is starting out making Photoshop art?
Search for tutorials, it is the best way to not blocking and frustrating yourself with a simple problem. Technical things are easy to learn, what is most difficult is to develop a personal style and an unique perspective. That takes time, so don’t forget to develop both.