Mele de la Yglesia on Art, Nature, and Drawing
For artist Mele de la Yglesia, floral motifs are not so much a literal muse as an interplay of geometry and organic lines coming together. Focusing on “the perfect circle as a main element”, Yglesia’s pure black, precision-oriented floral motif paintings are both wondrous and enigmatic, each one interminable like an MC Escher print but richly-colored and hyper-realistic like a fantasy version of the plants that distantly inspire them.
Below, we speak briefly with Yglesia about drawing, nature, and the interplay between the two.
GC: What brought you to make art?
MDLY: Everything started when I was a little kid! I always loved drawing, painting, creating. I also come from a very creative family, and for me, art was a part of my life.
Then, when I had the chance to choose what to study when I was a teenager, I didn’t hesitate: I wanted to study art, and this is what I finally did. In 2004, I moved to Madrid, where I had my best years: a total of 6 years of study, with an Erasmus in Germany in the middle, where I learned and enjoyed [the creative freedom and learning process] very, very much.
MDLY: In the course of my studies, I started playing around with lines– very simple drawings that developed into what they are now, 13 years later. They are almost an autobiography of myself, I would say. When I look back, I see the imprecise, imperfect, insecure lines. This is how I see myself in the past: a young person full of energy but impulsive, naive, and unexperienced.
“Connecting with nature and with your own representation of it is one of the most powerful feelings I know.”
I always started my drawings without a plan– they were developing spontaneously on the paper with no fear of mistakes. Nowadays, for example, I plan the drawing on paper and only start it when I know what is going to happen on the paper– I almost take the spontaneity as an exercise. The drawings are more complex, the lines are more precise… I take so much in consideration with respect to the little details that the whole artwork is more mature. Just like me, I guess… at least I hope!
GC: What your goals for the future?
MDLY: My only goal is to live from this, to be able to manage my time in the way I decide. To keep developing this style, to keep creating beautiful things that also make peoples’ lives a bit more beautiful.
GC: What is the hardest or most difficult thing about being an artist?
MDLY: It takes a long time to reach a point where other people value what you do– it takes a lot of effort, time, and money. Sometimes it’s very difficult to keep going on the right path–also because in the society where we live, where the most important thing is money, people don’t understand why I keep doing this if I could be working in a company, for example, doing another thing that is better paid.
GC: What advice do you have for people who want to paint nature motifs?
MDLY: The advice I always give to people who want to draw in general is: practice, practice, have patience, and more practice. Research on the Internet, read books, go to exhibitions, go to the park, go out and discover nature yourself, because it has so much to give. There is so much beauty out there, more than we can imagine.
“When I look back, I see the imprecise, imperfect, insecure lines. This is how I see myself in the past: a young person full of energy but impulsive, naive, and unexperienced.”
And after all of that, spend hours experimenting, trying, making mistakes, trying new papers, new materials, new inks, new pens… get frustrated, be patient, get crazy, enjoy the flow, share it with people, connect with people on the way. It is such a great feeling to be proud of the result of so many years of working. What can I say… Every time I look at one of my drawings–one that I’m happy with, which is not easy to find, as most of them they are not “good enough” to show– I felt so good, so proud, so full of energy. Connecting with nature and with your own representation of it is one of the most powerful feelings I know.