Iliana, can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an illustrator?
What were your earliest impressions? Growing up I knew I wanted to create for a living just didn’t have a word for it. I was raised in an underprivileged neighborhood so there weren't many options presented career wise. My earliest impressions were that it was just a little dream I had and maybe I can create as a hobby, nothing serious. I realized I was going to be an illustrator on my 26th birthday during my morning meditation. I asked my ancestors for guidance and taught myself different mediums until I found the one that best fit me,
Who or what influenced your art when you were young? My art was greatly influenced by my emotions and my abuelitas garden when I was little and I think that's still true today.
Do you remember what your first artwork looked like? Do you still have it? Yes! My first piece was a painting of my two dogs. I poured hours into it and it may not be my best piece but I proudly display it in my home.
Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine? I worked in NICU for 6 years as a nurse aide and while I loved working with preemies I knew Illustration was my calling. I can’t picture myself doing anything else.
Did you study art in school? I did not. I’m self taught.
Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art? Do you have a source for your ideas? My inspiration comes from my roots. I come from a long line of storytellers, my desire to illustrate comes from that.
How would you describe the process of creating art? My process starts with asking myself what do I want to say? It can be a lengthy process but well worth it to finding my voice.
Do you have a favourite artist? What is it about that artist’s work you like? My favorite artist is Christina Bauer. I enjoy her character design and beautiful color palette.
If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be? It would be tending to farm animals.
Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers? The first markers I can remember are tombow brushes.
Do you have a favourite artist supply, a favourite method, or favourite location, where you like to create artwork? My favourite is my Ipad Pro and Pencil. I adore digital work. My favourite place to create is at home by my houseplants.
If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say? My art about Black and Brown beauty. To tell others like me, you are worthy.
Do you think illustration has the eye of the public or could public awareness of this field be improved upon? I think it can certainly be improved on. There needs to be more inclusion in art. More diverse illustrators are needed.
Why does art matter to you? Why might it matter to the world? Art is life, It's the stories we tell. I cannot picture a world without it.
If you could look back or forward 100 years, do you think the life of an artist was or will be better than today? I would go forward. I think it would be better.