Bristol-based Marta Zubieta is a Spanish artist, muralist and illustrator. Her brightly coloured, surrealist works explore pop culture, social media, psychedelia and nature. Marta started selling her prints and merchandise on CREOATE 8 months ago, whilst also creating designs for various brands and other artists, celebrating female characters & social realities with a strong psychedelic influence. We chat with Marta about her inspirations and journey until now.
Hi Marta, please introduce yourself! How did you get into illustration and graphic design?
It all started when I was asked to create posters for my music band in Bristol, I had previously done fine art and graphic design in Spain, but I wasn’t working on it when this happened. Merging tropical references and colours from my music using my art experience created the explosion of characters and palettes you can see in my art nowadays!
How would you describe your art style, and what would you say your biggest inspirations are?
My art is a pink milkshake of cartoons, 90s nostalgia, pop culture and psychedelia. These days I'm working on my animation skills to merge my ideas with storytelling in movement.
How would you say the culture you grew up in and experienced has influenced your work?
I grew up in the splendour of consumer culture, watching a lot of cartoons and horror movies, and playing music with my friends — I think all that baggage is still with me when I create my images.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am a bit of a coffee addict, so I will make my coffee while stretching and waking up my body. Sometimes I write a list of tasks the night before — I love a good list — and will work from home on my illustrations, or I'll go to my studio to prepare my online orders and see what my studio colleagues are working on. I always try to squeeze in a dance class or some self-care time in the evening to decompress from the self-employed business life!
"I grew up in the splendour of consumer culture, watching a lot of cartoons and horror movies — I think all that baggage is still with me when I create my images."
What tools do you work with to achieve your signature style?
I normally start in my sketchbook, trying loose drawings in different ways for the idea I want to create, then I will go onto my Ipad and define the picture in procreate. I usually finish up in Photoshop.
We’re obsessed with your lively and surreal use of colour. As you begin a new piece, do you plan out the colour scheme you’ll use, or is this more of a spontaneous process?
First I start by using the eye dropper tool over images of other artists that I love, or of images with a certain aesthetic I'm trying to achieve. Throughout my life I have created several signature palettes that I always try to follow for my next pieces, I like how the pastel colours help to express adult concepts in a playful way.
Your designs range from the dark and macabre, to the more light and playful. How do you dream up your designs, and from inception to creation, how long do they take to complete?
Some ideas come out of the blue! I've always been good at remembering my dreams, and I love to create stories out of other stories, so I guess it is all in our experiences. Some of the pieces are created in a 1-2 days and others take months!
"My art is a pink milkshake of cartoons, 90s nostalgia, pop culture and psychedelia."
What has been your favourite project to work on to date, and what pieces or projects are you most proud of?
I love to get commissioned to do murals or set design because it takes me out of the computer and into the physical work. I also love projects with a lot of freedom, like designing surreal merchandise or creating album covers.
How did you get into doing murals? Can you remember the first one you worked on?
When I was younger I surrounded myself with graffiti artists, but I never tried to make any after university. When I arrived in Bristol they were celebrating a graffiti and mural festival and I decided to participate, the experience was amazing and I have since done several murals for local businesses, live art events, and private commissions.
What is your approach to marketing your artwork, designs, and skills?
It has all happened very organically. I started doing exhibitions in bars, making t-shirts and album art for bands, and then putting my prints in small galleries and shops. I think it's important to always invest a bit of what you earn in creating and trying new products. Some will become best-sellers, some not so much, but it is a great learning process.
How did the pandemic affect your work, if at all, and what did you learn?
Emotionally it was hard, but on an artistic level, it helped me to take a step back from my day job and dedicate all my time to my art career. I haven’t gone back to my day job since, and I am very grateful I had that time to work on it.
When did you decide to sell your products wholesale, and how has selling wholesale with CREOATE helped grow your business? What advice would you give to artists and makers looking to take the leap?
I started 8 months ago and I find it a great way to put your products out there, I really recommend it. Though, I know I still have lots to learn about pricing, marketing, and making. I do love to prepare my parcels and to think of how they will look in someone else's shop.
What would be your advice to budding artists looking to make a career out of their work?
To find a bit of time every day to practice what they love, and not be shy. Get on social media, and also try to show off your work and create in many different ways. You never know which doors are gonna open for you!