Interview with MarcelaBolivar

9 min read

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Marcela Bolívar  :iconmarcelabolivar: - one from most original and talented artist of our community has kindly agreed to answer our questions.
Photomanipulation art by MarcelaBolivar created mostly from own resources and this fact especially interesting for members of our group Independent-Manips


1. Could you try to describe the process of realizing your ideas? Do you form the idea clearly at first then search for ways to realize it , or vivid visual metaphors come first, gradually forming the idea, or it happens totally different from all of the mentioned above?

deas come at any time to me, that's why I keep always a sketch book near me. I can either make a basic composition or just write down my first thoughts.

I tend to be very careful and take in my hands the most part of it (be it photos, props or textures), I don't like to lose control of that, my visions gets in some way lost if I cannot take my own photos, arrange the lighting like I want and the perspective how I need it. So every time an idea comes to mind, I sketch it and list all the elements I need for it. Then I pick the best pictures, crop them and assemble the image I'm thinking of, not before making a basic sketch digitally of some shapes and compositions to not lose my north. But everything starts from drawings I make away from the computer and the camera, working solely based on photographs restrict my ideas.

2. How you came to conclusion of using only personal resources for photomanipulation, do you remember your first experiments with that?

I always tried to use my own photos in the past, but lack of a better camera pushed me to look for stock. I slowly became lazy and felt little by little my images were lacking substance. I was more concerned with gaining skills than a real vision. However, I kept modeling for myself since I could rarely find any pose I would like and somehow felt that connected me with the final image.

I completely committed to take my own pictures when I got a better camera and took it with me whenever I knew I was going to some special place. I slowly started to build an archive of both full and cropped photos and realized how much those would help me to develop a personal style.

3. Your works are always full of sense and concept, and distinctive surreal vision – what are your main sources of inspiration?

Thank you! I'm inspired by dreams and my waking of consciousness through them, I love savage, abandoned landscapes and plants, I'm inspired also by transformation, death, alchemy and the redefinition of what's sacred through symbolism.

4. Can you recall few most interesting and weird usages of photos in your works?

I had lots of fun with my series Mercury, Sulfur and Ash, I think my favorite use there was the egg shells to break my model's torso. Normally everything you see is pretty much what the picture is, but I got to say that it was very pleasant to work with flowers to assemble a dress in “Loveless”, everything fell into place!

Another fun experiment was “Luftmensch”, I broke a white plate and carefully cropped the shattered pieces to use on them as the face.
What I have must fun is with textures though, my images look very different without them and is amazing to me to see how the same texture can look so different on different surfaces.

5. According to your experience, can you give a piece of advice to the community how to start using personal stuff (own photos), how to overcome the fear?

If you're committed and excited about taking your own photos I suggest you to look into your latest images and to identify which elements are repeated, if you know you can get those elements around go ahead and shoot them! It takes time to build an archive but you will be fine if you take your camera to trips and special occasions.
I mostly take my pictures out of common places like gardens and hills, but I have also gone to entomology collections, natural museums. You can also develop a keen eye for interesting textures, walls, water, soil everything can be used. Later you can turn those textures into custom brushes if you want.

When you know which elements you use the most or know you may need in the future, carefully crop it and save it in a .psd file. I stack my pictures into different types of plants, wood and branches because I used them a lot, but that applies to anything you constantly use. I also have many folders for insects and textures.

Always try to take you pictures with a neutral light (if possible) then you can manipulate and blend the element a lot better than if you have a picture with long shadows or too much contrast. I love to go outside on cloudy days because of that, the sun gives stark shadows that are difficult to work out in photoshop. It helps also to take the picture in different angles.

When shooting small elements indoors use a gray or black background that doesn't contaminate the color of the object and that also makes it easier to crop.

Make a list of the elements you need in your picture and start searching them either outside or in your archive. Some things you can buy, some you can borrow, it's always great to find the perfect object you're looking for.

Nothing to be afraid of, if you really are into making images this is a fun part of the process and one that can make you feel incredibly closer to what you create. A lot of personal memories and special objects will be enclosed in your works you will be aware of that and not only it will be rewarding, your images will be a true part of your life.

Thank you so much Marcela! This information precious and very useful for us

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brillgk's avatar
What an amazing interview! Learned a lot!