Ana Jarén: "It's nice

Ana Jarén: "It's nice

As a child, Ana Jarén imagined drawing for Disney when she grew up. That childhood dream has come true and she has transformed into an exponential artistic career as an illustrator. After studying advertising and public relations, he began working in a fashion communication firm. It was there, surrounded by creators, that she realized that she also wanted to create something of her own.Ana Jarén: “It's nice to walk around Madrid and see the banners decorating the streets with my Christmas illustration” Ana Jarén: “It's nice to walk around Madrid and see the banners decorating the streets with my Christmas illustration”

His illustrations can be seen in places as diverse as they are exciting: tableware from the Cartuja de Sevilla, FNAC bags, murals, magazines... and now on the poster of the Christmas program in Madrid, where Cibeles celebrates the 'reunion' with the Magi and for which he has been inspired by the traditional iconography of Neapolitan nativity scenes.

Born in Seville, after residing in Antwerp, Southampton, Vitoria, she arrived in Madrid, a city from which she finds it difficult to choose an inspiring place to paint. If there is no other choice, she stays with the surroundings of the Church of Santa Barbara. And to walk, the gardens of Campo del Moro. He says that the Metro lacks "color" and it could be a good project to give it joy. He asks the Three Wise Men the same as Cibeles on his poster: “That the people be well. Definitely leave the Covid behind and recover normality ”.

When did you start drawing and why did you come into this world?

I've always really liked painting, but to be honest, it wasn't something I considered as a way of life. After finishing my studies I started working in a fashion communication office. There I began to consider that I also wanted to generate something, to be an active part creating things. So I started working on my drawings; first doing my hand painting a lot and, little by little, some opportunities to illustrate for the press and private commissions were arriving... At first everything was very timid and slow, but with perseverance, the volume of projects grew until it became my profession.

What did you want to convey with the Christmas poster?

The joy of that long-awaited reunion. The Three Wise Men return to Madrid and their first stop is Cibeles, one of the emblems of the city, which welcomes them with open arms. The colors try to lead us to optimism and joy through bright tones. For the representation of the Kings, I have been inspired by the traditional iconography of Neapolitan nativity scenes, full of details, like the ones I like to include in my work.

What are your childhood memories of Christmas? Have they helped you to make the poster?

Ana Jarén: “It's nice to walk around Madrid and see the banners decorating the streets with my Christmas illustration”

Well, precisely, nativity scenes are one of the things I remember the most. I have always really liked visiting them and enjoying the figures, the scenes, the houses, the light effects. Possibly, those memories have marked the way of approaching the scene that I represent in the poster.

What did making this poster mean to you?

For me it is always a joy to be able to take my work out on the street and for people to see it. It is very nice to walk through Madrid, which is my adopted city, and see the banners adorning the streets. Also, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, so working on this concept is a joy for me.

You have a very diverse career. What job are you most proud of? Is there a support you prefer?

There are some that I am very fond of, such as the collection with La Cartuja de Sevilla, my book Amigas, the first mural I did, the FNAC bag, … But to be honest, every email that arrives proposing a project I It continues to produce a lot of excitement because I love being able to dedicate myself to what I do.

As for the support, what I like is painting and I don't care so much about the medium. I really like when the illustration comes to life in different formats, be it a vase, a mural or a magazine. Each one has something special, but being able to touch it makes me crazy.

Although it sounds very politically correct, every project offers me something interesting. Completing the story of a magazine article with an illustration is as enriching as illustrating a print for a fabric, where you have to understand the designer's ideas and the peculiarities of the medium. It all adds up and, above all, it amuses me.

How do you define your illustrations?

We could say that urban and lifestyle trends are very present. I love the idea of ​​reflecting aspects of everyday life, putting a point of exaggeration and above all, filling them with details. I like to think that they are something like a customary print of the 21st century.

The world of feelings and emotions are also important in my work, presenting the characters in evocative contexts so that the viewer completes the scene with their own experience.

As for the technical side, I work mainly manually, mixing techniques such as markers, pencils or acrylics and I enjoy it as much as when I was a child. My preferred medium of work is paper, although I also get out of this on occasions to make murals and other formats.

What did you dream about when you imagined yourself working when you grew up?

As a child I imagined myself as a cartoonist for Disney, but this is something that was diluted over the years to the point of not thinking of dedicating myself to anything purely artistic and I studied Advertising. But hey, life takes many turns and somehow I returned to that dream and, although it's not at Disney, since my fever has passed, I can dedicate myself to painting, which is what I like the most.

What do you think Cibeles asks of kings? And you?

Well, people are well. Definitely leave the Covid behind and recover normality without having to look askance at the new waves. And I'm in for that too.

It is difficult, but please choose an inspiring place to draw in Madrid

Yes, it's difficult, but I'd stick with the streets and corners around the Church of Santa Barbara. I adore the tranquility that it transmits, the buildings so precious and with substance, and shops in the area.

We know that you have made illustrations of well-known characters. But who would you like to draw?

Emily Dickinson. I recently discovered her work and I want to delve deeper into her universe.

Which part of Madrid would need to be 'coloured'?

I would get into the metro network to give it a lot of color. It is a place where we spend a lot of time and any extra that brings joy can only be for the better.

Which neighborhood or area do you most identify with and why?

Right now I identify a lot with parks and gardens, green areas and animals. Since I was a mother, I spend a lot of time there and they give me life. To give an example, walking through the Campo del Moro gardens is a delight.

If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have told you Chueca and Malasaña, which was the area where I lived and where I had such a good time at that time with so much fuss and fun plans.

You have lived in Seville, Antwerp and now in Madrid. What have each of these places contributed to your professional career?

And Southampton and Victoria! I had a very eventful few years. I would say that changing your place of residence makes you more go-getter and more receptive to stimuli, whether they are purely creative or vital. It has helped me a lot to be able to find myself as an illustrator, landing on the themes that I like to represent and define my style.

What is an ordinary day in the life of Ana Jarén like?

I am a very methodical person and I like to give illustrations the time and attention they deserve. I usually sit at the desk at 06:00 to maximize the day. I try to take advantage of all the hours I can doing what I like so much and combining it with family life.

Many of your drawings reflect in detail the daily lives of women, couples... Is it important to you that people "feel like one of your drawings"?

That would be the idea. I like to present contexts and situations that a priori are everyday but the extra elements, the decoration or the look of the character can lead us to something more. It all depends on how much you want to investigate. I love the idea that the viewer ends or endorses the story I'm telling. I like to tell “incomplete” things so that whoever looks at the illustration feels it is theirs and thus complicity is generated. They tell me quite often that they see themselves reflected in the drawing, that they have experienced that scene and that for me is something tremendous. That game in which they complete the scene that I represent with their own emotions seems wonderful to me. And to be able to suggest things, I base myself on details, landing on specific elements that capture attention and thus activate those memories in the viewer.