Mexican visual artist and illustrator Valeria Alvarez aka vals has been creating luminous and magical displays of cosmic art. Her vibrant pieces resemble rainbow sorbet in adventure mode. Surreal atmospheres, glowing orbs, moonscape explorations all full of warm colors and inviting tones. Cotton candy sunsets and trees that resemble cake pops. She even has a piece that shows an elote vendor in outer space. The Mexico City resident has been crafting her style and growing her portfolio with each and every impressive creation. In the interview below, she speaks on her history with digital techniques, the art scene in Mexico City, her love of music, and more.
How has 2018 been treating you?
Cool! 2018 is like a sunset on the roof with my favorite music in the background.
I found your art through Behance, which only dates back to 2017. How long have you been creating art?
Officially, it is my third year as an illustrator with digital technique! But since 2011 I have been participating in group exhibitions, with drawings made with ink and themes very different from the current ones.
Your pieces are often surreal and cosmic. Are you often daydreaming of outer space?
A lot of time. I really like space, stories of time travel or alternative realities, and I often try to include some of those themes in my artwork. Sometimes listening to music while walking in a solitary place helps to my work process, like "disconnecting" from my normal day to imagine mini stories that I capture in an illustration.
Do you create every day or does it come in waves?
I'm always drawing! For work, I need to create every day. But it's a different process when I create a personal work. Although I try to sketch things every day, sometimes I take the time to decide the objective or technique that I would like to practice. I like to be constant in my illustrations, but sometimes it is better to take a mental break.
What is the art scene like where you live in Mexico City?
It is going very well There are more illustrators with new proposals that add to the local talent. And more spaces are being adapted to promote these works of art. Although there is still a long way to go.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently a freelance artist. Much of the time I work on illustrations for print or digital magazines.
What are some studio essentials?
My basic kit: a computer with Photoshop, a digital tablet (I currently work on a Wacom intuos pro), a sketchbook to write some ideas, the beautiful internet, to see references, listen to music or movies that I can not see due to the lack of time and a cup of coffee or mezcal when I go to work all night.
Outside of your own art, what have you been enjoying recently? (music / books / movies) Any cartoons/comics?
There are too many very good references that it is difficult to name them all! Recently I found a book called Codex Seraphinianus, written by Luigi Serafini. It shows part of the flora and fauna of a universe parallel to ours. Although the book is written in a strange language, the illustrations are too interesting and surreal. In animation, I follow the work of Felix Colgrave, Yujin Sick (animator in Percolate Galactic) or Hugo de Faucompret. I'm a fan of icecreamhater.com, they make a good selection of animations. I recently saw Adventure Time again and I admit that it is one of my favorite cartoons and a great graphic reference.
In terms of illustration, I recently discovered the work of Kelsey Wroten (aka jukeboxcomix) or Nix Ren. In both cases, I liked the compositions and the color selection that work. I like the style of Niña Piña, a tattoo artist.
Lately I've been listening to a lot of dream pop, surf rock and bedroom pop. I really like the melancholy and emotional atmosphere they create in their songs. Artists like Warpaint, Tennis, Michael Seyer, Connan Mockasin, or No Vacation.
Do you have any advice for artists working on their craft?
It is good to be a perfectionist in your work, without exceeding the limit. That causes despair and a forced artwork. You have to be patient and practice a lot, taking time to discover new processes and not be afraid to share your work to the world. When you least expect it, you will be much better and it will be easier to create artwork.
Do you have any final thoughts / words of wisdom?
It is important to enjoy what we do.
It seems obvious, but many times at work we forget this, either because of the short deadline or the comments we receive. Also don't be afraid of being criticized by others.
We must never forget who we are and what we are capable of.