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Illustrator and image maker Marina Esmeraldo splits her time between Barcelona and London. Creating colourful images for music, fashion, publications and brands. She shows us her neighbourhoud of Poblenou in Barcelona.
I’m from Fortaleza, a coastal city in the north-east of Brazil. I was a shy kid and loved drawing. When I was five we moved to the UK for a few years. The experience changed me profoundly. When you live abroad at such a young age you subsequently never feel like you really belong anywhere. You are not sure where you’re from and not sure where you’re heading. I studied Architecture at university in Brazil but the wanderlust bug was already in me. I did a lot of student exchanges in Europe, where I learned about industrial design, graphic design and illustration. All these influences have informed my vision/style. Eventually I moved to Barcelona to further my studies in Architecture but half-way through I had a quarter life crisis and dropped everything to focus on Illustration and I have never looked back.
I spent a year in Rome as part of my study in Architecture and visited Barcelona in that time. I fell in love instantly and wondered how I could be anywhere else. That feeling stayed with me and when I had the opportunity to travel abroad for a postgraduate study it seemed like the perfect fit. I was only meant to be here for a year and then go back to Brazil but by then it was too late! Barcelona had me – the beautiful weather, the beach but also the security, the history and the culture.
I’m a freelance illustrator, so everyday I draw and create pictures for brands, publications, fashion, music but also for myself. I’m very fortunate to be able to do this everyday for a living but I only got here after a hell of a lot of hard work. My day usually begins with coffee and a run on the beach. Then breakfast with my husband, lots of admin, answering emails, and drawing. I share a studio space close to my flat, in Poblenou, with several other artists and designers in an artist–run cultural space called Fireplace Project.
Poblenou is where I work and close by to where I live and I really love Poblenou. Some of the area still retains this countryside village quality mixed together these incredibly vast industrial buildings that have been regenerated. I really like hanging out around the Rambla de Poblenou. There are lots of little bars, charming shops, Enotecas, old fashioned tapas bars and an indoor market. One of the places I love is Sa Tramuntana. It’s a mixture between a bar and a showroom with beautiful furniture that is for sale and awesome food from the Balearic islands. It’s great for an afternoon coffee or a drink after work. I also love Repúblic Café and its bagels, Mes D Ví and its wines and the Balius bar.
I love the beach. It’s where I go to work out any of my problems. If I’m blocked or stuck in anyway I come for a sunset walk. If I need to burn energy off I come for a run in the morning. I love it when it’s empty and you only see the older folk coming out of the sea after their morning swim.
I have just launched a weekly illustrated fiction magazine called ‘In Shades Magazine’ (www.inshadesmag.com). We publish new short stories online every week and are working with artists and writers from all over the world. We’re preparing an exhibition and an event for the launch of the print magazine in Barcelona, so that’s pretty exciting. We’re also doing a launch in London, where my husband is originally from and where a lot of my clients are based. Ironically, until recently I had more clients in Australia than I had in Barcelona! I want to do more projects here but the budgets are usually too small. But truthfully the internet enables me to work with the whole world and if I were to pick a place to do it from I would always choose Barcelona.