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Since I was very little, I’ve been fascinated by storytelling. Putting on different voices for each character was an essential element. I think that’s why I like illustrations so much, both as a creator myself and just as an admirer; animated or static, on paper or on canvas. Generating characters, using them to tell stories. To do that, you need a certain touch, a certain voice. And it can’t be just any voice.

The local scene is teeming with talent. In this very short list I will name a few beings that use their illustrations to transport us to incredible places. Join me as I fangirl out over each one of them.

Aww Mini

Caro is a graphic designer, illustrator, and creator of a whole magical universe in ceramics. Her pieces may recall the work of Studio Ghibli, in movies in which animals are the protagonists. Her creatures convey a lot of serenity, I see them almost as guide animals. Almost as if they were going to come to life at night and take you on a grand adventure.

Her pieces, in addition to being incredibly beautiful, have the most varied purposes: from plates and cups to vases, incense burners, candle holders and honey jars.

Mauricio Jelsich 

Mauricio (or Marucho to his friends) has been bringing it for a long time. He is a graphic designer and illustrator, and his concert flyers look like collectible cards. He has an incredibly versatile style, a vibrant palette that flirts with pop culture and science fiction.

Marucho also plays drums in the band Amplilabial, so it is not surprising the a beautiful visual universe accompanies their sounds.

Aili

We continue with our list of musicians who illustrate, or illustrators who musicalize, or beautiful people who do beautiful things. Aili is an artist from Mar del Plata, and a Gemini (ahre, here I am giving you the most essential facts).

Hyperobjeto is the project where she captures her rich, deep and ethereal universe on prints, accessories and other objects. A minimalist style, though very warm and full of symbolism. If I had to name it, I would call it the dimension of introspection. And as you would expect, her music is the sonic equivalent to all these magical elements.

Milena Manzana

Mile is a visual artist and a magical girl (can I say that? I’m going to allow myself to say that) with an extremely emotive style. Her characters, generally female, are like fairytale heroines with pinkish skin, in well-filled watercolors. I love that, the uncontrollable watercolor. Mile handles it with great grace and finesse.

Hola Pina

Cecilia Pina is an illustrator and ceramicist. Her world is magical and at the same time without being overly ornate – neither simple nor easy, but essential. Only keeping the essence of the universe she creates, though missing  nothing, making you want to stay there like an orderly room with your favorite toys arranged on the shelves. It is extremely personal and at the same time the eye can rest in those reduced and simplified forms that tell beautiful stories.

It reminds me of when I was little and I couldn’t imagine myself doing grown-up things, no longer wanting toys. Ceci’s objects are toys, incredible ones, really gorgeously made, and also useful in life. It’s a happy compromise between growing up and staying a kid.

Bonus track: Sonia Lazo

This is a list of local artists, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about this amazing artist from El Salvador. Sorry folks, this will be my biggest fangirl moment of all. I love Sonia. I love that she’s an illustrator, I love that she’s a tattoo artist, I love that she makes clothes, I love her palette, I love that she wears wigs. 

Because she plays. She plays and she has fun. She plays with everything. I hate the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” and my theory is that anyone who wants to be a “master” of something isn’t having a lot of fun. And Sonia does. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up releasing her own animated series, or toys, or cookies. Because there appears to be no limit to what she does (luckily).


This was a short selection of great illustrators that you should be following. Go check out their social media, buy their products, and support those who send our imaginations flying with just a flick of the wrist.