Interview of Margarida Eloy by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a little about yourself; where are you from and what do you do?
Hello there Tigress Magazine. What can I tell you about myself? Maybe I’ll start by saying my name; I’m Margarida Eloy but most of my friends call me by my last name, Eloy. I’m 23 years old and I’m from Portugal. My country is small and so am I, I’m also a bit shy and very anxious. I consider myself a hope-to-be artist. I work with photography and illustration, and am presently finishing my thesis, which is an exhibition project for my Masters Course in Curatorial Studies. I’m not in an “official” job right now, but I work as an independent illustrator for small brands and personal clients, and I’ve done some photography works as well. I love art and I want to be surrounded by art till the end of my life; I still have some doubts about what I want to be “when I grow up,” but maybe I can continue to work in illustration and photography. I’d also love to work with other artists by presenting their works in wonderful exhibitions, or to be an art teacher and help students with their projects. I just want to be surrounded with creative people with beautiful minds.
Did you study art in school? If not, what did you study?
Yes, I studied art in school. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be an artist; I remember having Garfield comic books and saying that I wanted to be a cartoonist just like Jon (Garfield’s creator). Then I started to be fascinated with photography and I told myself that I would be a photographer. I went to an art high school where I studied Audio Visuals and specialized in photography. When I got to university, I did a Bachelor in Photography and Visual Culture, and although I was most interested in photography, I started to draw again. At this time some of my classmates started to say that I should have a website to show and sell my drawings, so I created my own brand; “Ahoy Sailors.” After finishing my Bachelors Degree, I felt the need to take another course that would help me find a job that I would like. I understood that if I wanted to earn money doing something I liked, I should explore other artistic areas, such as curatorship. So I started a Master of Critics, Curatorship, and Art Theory, and I loved it so much that I’ve entered another course of Practical Curatorship. Although I’ve found other interests, I never stopped drawing or photographing and I still believe it’s possible to do a variety of things at the same time.
Tell us a little about your artistic work process. What materials do you use?
So… I don’t think I have a serious artistic process, because I work in many areas. I have two kinds of illustration works, the first being drawings that are ordered by my clients. This includes everything from works for a special event or brand, to family portraits. The other type are illustrations that I create for fun. For the latter, the process usually starts with an idea that may come from an image I saw or something I’ve experienced, then I conceive an image in my mind and start sketching some characters that are related with the theme or idea that I had earlier. When I start drawing I tend to create a personality in my mind, and I try to capture that in a creature. I usually put my happy feelings into my characters as their creation tends to work as therapy for me. I’m usually very pessimistic and anxious, and you may notice that my photographic projects are very personal and intimate, but in my illustrations you will see the opposite; they capture the bright side of my personality which is much happier and sweet. My biggest goal with these drawings is to make people smile by looking at them. The materials I use are very simple: a piece of paper, sometimes a pencil and always a black thin pen, then I may use watercolors and color pencils but I usually paint them digitally.
Is there a story behind the name “Ahoy Sailors”?
The story behind the name “Ahoy Sailors” is related to my two wonderful nieces: at the time of its conception, they were really into a cartoon called “Jake and Pirates of Neverland” and I had to watch ALL of it (yes, all episodes) and sometimes even re-watch them. In the opening scene of the show they used to say hello to everyone by saying “Ahoy Sailors!” and we started to say “Ahoy!” instead of “hello” as a joke, but I guess it stayed in my mind. Also, my biggest dream as a child was to discover an unknown island while traveling on a boat, so maybe everything is connected.
Do you have a favorite illustration that you’ve created? If so, what is it and why?
I can’t say I have a favorite illustration. I feel that some are more special than others, like the ones I do to offer the ones I love. I also tend to love some illustrations more because I had a bigger connection with the character in them. I know it’s strange to have sympathy for a character in a drawing, but I do, and sometimes I create dialogues in my mind between them and me.
What other artists do you admire and why?
I admire so many artists in so many areas! In illustration there are some that I’m eternally in love with, like Oliver Jeffers. He is awesome! I love the techniques that he uses that always make a stunning result. I absolutely love the stories that he illustrates, but mainly I find his characters so easy to love and to feel affection towards. I’m also in love with other illustrators, such as Gemma Correll, Rebecca Green, Lizzy Stewart, Mariana Miserável, Joana Concejo, and many others.
Are there any projects you’re currently working on that you can tell us about?
I’m working on my summer series that currently has two published drawings: “Pool Party” and “Picnic”. I had some invitations for collaborations to make children’s books, and I would like to start some of those projects. I’m also planning two exhibitions as a curator, one short film, and some other projects that are still kind of a secret.
Are there any songs/films/books that have had a real impact on your creative processes or work?
As I said earlier I have a mixed personality, and the books and films that really marked me are kind of pessimist, like dystopias and anti-romances. I also love hypothetical realities and ideas. They can be related to my photography work and other things I do. In my illustrations I’m more inspired by music and bands such as, Fleet Foxes, Mountain Man, Animal Collective, and others that remind me of nature and how everything can be simple and happy. In cinema, there are some movies that I think had some impact on my illustration,” such as, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “Moonrise Kingdom” by Wes Anderson, “Where The Wild Things Are”, “Le Ballon Rouge”, “James And The Giant Peach” and others.
What are five things that fascinate you?
The five things that fascinate me the most are:
- Nature. I think that there is nothing more precious or powerful and I’m always day dreaming about a house in the woods where I live with my boyfriend and my wonderful and close group of friends in a small utopian community
- Love is something that I really believe in. I’ve been very lucky to have great examples of love stories close to me, like my parents and grandparents. I also have the best and most beautiful person in the world by my side, and I get really emotional when I see demonstrations of love by humans or animals
- Art is the most fascinating thing a human being can create to communicate with others. To quote Dead Poets Society, “Poetry, beauty, romance, and love, these are what we stay alive for.”
- Human beings can be really bad, but I think there is beauty in the complexity of the human mind.
- And to finish, science fiction. I know that it isn’t as spectacular as the other things I’ve mentioned but is still quite awesome!