The Paintingflies jewellery collection for girls which we have created with Mariadiamantes has been out in the wide world for some days now. You have probably seen some of our butterflies already, but you may not know that behind Mariadiamantes is an intrepid illustrator who grew up very near our brand’s home, and illustrates stories about aviators as well as creating visual dictionaries about Barcelona.
Her name is Clara Mercader and she is sweet and optimistic, like her drawings. Her work takes us to the fresher side of life, as if we were looking at it through the eyes of a child. We have been delighted to discover magical butterflies by her side, and you’ll love reading our short interview with her.
Describe yourself in three words.
Simple, optimistic and hard-working.
Who or what is Mariadiamantes?
It was initially my blog which has ended up becoming my professional project.
My name is Clara Mercader, and when I created the blog I wasn’t looking to create an alter ego or anything like that, I just wanted to upload my illustrations and I used Mariadiamantes after a joke that I had heard at a party the day before. So Mariadiamantes is a complete coincidence!
Without me expecting it, visits to the blog increased, I began to get commissions and Mariadiamantes became something like my brand.
Today it is a project which includes both illustration and art direction. I think that Mariadiamantes has achieved its own style, which is characterised by gentleness and a capacity for synthesis. Not many forms, clean and clear. I especially like the world of objects—I suppose because of their simplicity—and I always try to make everything bright and to convey positivity. I work in a digital medium, which usually tends to be quite cold, and I use shapes and colours to give it the touch of warmth that is my distinguishing mark.
Can you tell us a little about your career?
Well, I studied graphic design in Barcelona and after working in a design studio I decided to do a master’s degree in communication strategies and advertising. Then I went to work at the Shackleton advertising agency as an art director. I was there for five years and I learned a lot! But my real aim was to discover my own style and to experiment, and as my blog became more important, I decided to make the leap to Mariadiamantes on my own, which brings us up to date.
Which of the projects you’ve worked on have you particularly liked?
I’m very happy with the last story I illustrated about the aviator Amelia Earhart. It is part of the Pequeña&GRANDE collection of stories (Alba Editorial) written by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara and dedicated to women who have been important in history, such as Frida Kahlo and Coco Chanel. The aim is for children to be able to learn about them. I had a great time illustrating it and I also think that the background to the project is marvellous.
I also especially like the book Barcelona Visual (published by Lunwerg) that includes fifty icons that have made Barcelona a symbol of design, from the paving stones of the Eixample to the aeroplane on Tibidabo and the city’s well-known yellow and black taxis.
What led you to work with Joid’art?
I’ve always liked the Joid’art brand. What’s more, I’m from Santa Coloma de Farners, and as Joid’art is based in Santa Coloma, it is a brand that is very close to me, almost like family. So when they suggested it, I didn’t hesitate for a moment! I think that their open philosophy and creative spirit that leads them to work with external artists is extremely rewarding. And their thinking of me to create a children’s collection rounded things off. The project fitted me like a glove!
What was the creative process behind this project like?
Very fluid and flexible. Right from the beginning, I had a very good understanding with Cristina Julià, the brand’s creative director, and the entire communication team. We were very clear that the shapes of the collection had to be geometric, and because it is a children’s collection, we decided that animals were a perfect subject. Geometry led us to butterflies, and we developed the illustrations, the jewellery and the entire concept from there. It was fun and easy, and I think that is apparent in the result.
A work of art
James Turrell‘s installations. I discovered him at the Guggenheim in New York and I was fascinated with how he works with light. The colours and optical effects he creates convey sensations that you have to see to understand.
And finally, which are your favourite The Paintingflies pieces?
I love the Red Jet butterfly earrings because their form is simple and they take on volume with just a small fold in the middle, as if the wings were starting to fly. I love the Blue Lulu butterfly ones as well! In fact, I have a cousin who I think they would look great on, and I am going to give her a set of earrings and a bracelet.