Exclusive Interview With Loles Romero, 3rd Prize Winner of the iCanvas Digital Art Award, 2023 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize
Loles Romero invites you to follow the mermaids call. Allow her sweet song to wash over you, filling your entire body as she lures you down, down, down, into the dark depths of the ocean. You wonder what her intentions are as she cradles the neck of a man now lost to the ocean. A lover perhaps, as her delicate hands caress him with a certain softness. Or perhaps something more sinister as her tail wraps around a long forgotten skull. No matter what her intentions may be, her ambiguity ultimately makes her that much more alluring.
Loles Romero is a concept artist and illustrator from Ibiza. In 2004, Loles graduated from Escola d’Art d’Eivissa’ before deciding to continue her art education using various courses in illustration and concept art. Her work utilises techniques from both digital and traditional media as she combines pictorial techniques with lots of texture to create a more organic and traditional artistic feel. Currently, Loles works in a variety of fields including publishing, advertising and video games creating concept art, character designs, cover art and interior illustrations. Alongside work, Loles also loves pursuing her own personal projects that explore ambiguity and fantasy concepts that draw from themes including nature, mythology and folklore.
Loles Romero’s painting “Bajo El Agua” won her the 3rd Prize in the iCanvas Digital Art Award as part of the 2023 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize. “Bajo El Agua” was created using a Wacom Cintiq and Photoshop.
A bit of mystery and ambiguity gives the opportunity for each viewer to use their imagination and experience it differently, make their own stories, and with some luck, engage more personally with the image.Loles Romero
Interview with Loles Romero
First of all, I just want to say a big congratulations to you on your success in winning the 3rd Prize iCanvas Digital Art Award! How did you feel when you found out you had won?
It was a huge surprise to find out that I was selected! It’s very rewarding to see recognition towards your art, specially from a community of artists and art lovers, and it’s great to see myself among the very artists I respect and admire.
Why did you decide to enter the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize?
I`ve been following this publication for a few years now, since many artists that I like already collaborate with it. I thought that some of my illustrations were in tune with the magazine’s themes and interests, so I gave it a try.
I’d love to learn more about “Bajo El Agua”. Where did the initial inspiration for this piece come from? Was it inspired by a specific myth of folktale?
It doesn’t come from a particular story, but the general idea of the middle age european mermaid and other water fairies, I can’t get enough of them. When I started to draw I knew it was going to be a mermaid, but I didn’t know what it would be like. I wanted to make a different approach. Instead of having a settled and controlled idea, I painted a series of loose, spontaneous sketches and I let them show me the character and the situation.
The mermaid portrayed in this piece is highly ambiguous. Is ambiguity something you like to explore regularly in your work?
Yes. I found out that many of the characters and creatures that populate our folklore are often mischievous, apparently erratic and even cruel. But also sweet, beautiful and benevolent. And sometimes these two natures are present in a character at the same time. In “Bajo El Agua” I tried to reflect that.
Also, a bit of mystery and ambiguity gives the opportunity for each viewer to use their imagination and experience it differently, make their own stories, and with some luck, engage more personally with the image.
Your work explores folklore, mythology and nature, I’d love to hear more about your passion for these themes and the reasons why you are drawn to them.
Maybe it’s because the fantastic, through folktales and mythology, feels like a link to nature and a kind of spirituality, that there is more beyond what we can perceive at simple gaze.
Not only are they an endless source of inspiration and a great way to exercise our imagination, myths and folklore are usually meant to teach something. It can make us understand things differently through the use of symbols.
What are some of your favourite myths, legends and folktales?
Anything! But for some reason I especially like stories related to water, I guess it has something to do with growing up on an island. I enjoy fairy tales like “Undine” by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen; the stories of Robert Kirk and William Butler Yeats, and fantastical characters such as the selkies and the Greek nymphs.
But I’m also very fond of the Spanish folklore, which is sadly very unknown despite its richness. We have the northern “Xanes” and all their variants, the “fameliar”, the “lamiak” or “genti de muerti”, among many others.
What do you feel you have gained from participating in the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize?
Overall it’s been a great experience and I have learned a lot from it. I’ve been introduced to a new community of artists and I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people that have helped me greatly and very kindly through the process of exhibiting at Haven Gallery for the first time.
Not only are [myths and folklore] an endless source of inspiration and a great way to exercise our imagination, myths and folklore are usually meant to teach something. It can make us understand things differently through the use of symbols.
Would you recommend it and encourage others to enter the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize? If so, why?
Yes, it’s a good opportunity to connect with other people and get your art seen, if you think that the themes align with those of the magazine.
As an illustrator and concept artist, do you ever encounter art block? If so, how do you tackle it?
Yes, definitely. What I think helps me the most is taking time to put the screen aside and go outside, go hiking, meet friends, visit a museum, that kind of things. Although it can be tricky when you have deadlines, my brain tells me that I’m wasting my time every minute I’m not working, but after a break I tend to work faster and better, and most important, happier.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to aspiring artists?
Practice a lot, be curious and learn to be a good observer. You can find ideas and inspiration even in the most unexpected people or places.
What is something that has inspired you lately?
Sculpture! I am amazed by historical sculpture as much as by the art of contemporary artists in this field, it inspires me to make my own. I love modeling in clay, it’s refreshing to make something tangible with your hands and it’s a fantastic exercise for studying anatomy and volume. Using the potter’s wheel is also a very satisfying experience, you can make something beautiful and useful at the same time. Pottery is just nicer if you add little feet to everything!