12 Nov 2020

mishmash creatives: Mariana A Miserável

Mariana A Miserável, or Miserable Mariana, is a character that touches in all the unseen details of a miserable society. Turning her quirky cat into inspiration, it’s in the comfort of her house that the not-knowing-how-to-draw artist does what she knows best: to draw.

We have known you for a long time for the emotions you put in each one of your drawings. Considered by many one of the most talented illustrators in our country, where does the nickname “Miserable” come from?

Miserável was the name of a fanzine I had back then with a friend of mine from college. At the time we were both drawing a lot, and after college, I adopted the name to myself. At the time I didn’t think of it as a characteristic of my work, but as the time passed it ended up being connected with the tone of voice you can find in my pieces. It was never a marketing strategy or a thoughtful brand’s voice decision, I just appropriated the name as a joke, and only then things started to make sense all together. I don’t know what was created first, the name or the content itself that I have become known for.

When did you realise you were a creative person? Can you link it with any moment in particular?

I believe every child is creative in their essence. Some of them grow up and some don’t, and those who don’t usually find creative paths along their way, looking to express themselves in multiple ways. My family recognition appeared only as I started to appear in magazines and making exhibitions, as my firsts drawings weren’t much appreciated. They were ugly, quirky and that’s what I loved about them. Even today I don’t look for perfection. For someone who is looking from the outside that’s not an easy thing to understand. When something is really perfect, that’s easy to accept and actually enjoy it. There’s a place for everything in this world, but at first instance, I didn’t think of myself as such a creative-self.

Easy Breezy

One of Mariana's favourites.

I believe every child is a creative in their essence. Some of them grow up and some don’t, and those who don’t usually find creative paths along their way.

Mariana A Miserável, Designer & Ilustrator

Often we feel pressured to be constantly having new ideas. Do you think that being creative is synonymous with having ideas all the time? 

That’s a very funny question because people ask me that all the time, especially people from outside the creative world as if I’m an idea machine. Of course, I have those moments without ideas, but if I am looking at a certain project with a spontaneous mindset, things will eventually come up. I also think ideas can be stimulated, either by reading or talking to colleagues that are working on the same business area. I also develop most of my thinking in nearby cafes. When I say thinking what I really mean is drawing, registering things as they happen, making lists, being totally immersed in the present moment at a purely caffe scenery. I mainly use notebooks at this time, paper-pencil and my brain put to work! The importance of the notebooks are crucial here, they’re really stimulating my creativity in a completely uncomfortable and new scenario.

Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you have any tricks to make it flow better? 

Tricks, yes! I am full of tricks. I usually jump from project to project regardless of the deadline, because I need to have ideas marinating for a bit. I am here doing this interview but I am also thinking about projects I left on hold just a few hours ago. I also have easiness in accepting that a certain day is not going well and I make the decision to go for a walk. As an independent worker, there are days I don’t sleep because of deadlines but there’s also the possibility of taking days off and those moments have a tremendous impact on my creativity. Walking, changing locations, as I work from home that’s important to keep changing the scenery. My creative processes change from project to project, but if there’s something that they all have in common is that they start with a drawing on a notebook. Thinking with the point of my pencil, that’s my favourite part of the entire process!


Mariana's favourite for scribbling down ideas.

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In the current digital revolution we are living in, do you think tools such as pen and paper will have their importance reinforced? 

Yes! I was never a very digital person and I only bought my iPad last year! Before that, not even Wacom’s appealed to me. I am still a very manual technique kind of gal. I look at those items as helping tools for ending a project, not as something important in my process.

I go to cafes, that’s my thing. Just your random cafe around the corner, the more invisible I can be, the best!

Mariana A Miserável, Designer & Ilustrator

Tell us about your workspace. Is it tidy or chaotic? What’s on your desk right now?

At the moment my desk is very organised but mainly because of this interview. Usually is a little bit messier but it cannot be overwhelmingly messy because as I live in a very small place if everything was messed up all the time, I would find it very hard to think in here. I need my mess hidden in order to have new ideas, and these are things I learned along the way by living in a very tiny place. When I am painting bigger artworks I change the tables positioning and sometimes chaos suddenly emerges. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, everything is organised and cleaned again. This is my living space, and space for that is needed as well to reorganise my mind. 

Where and how do you usually have more ideas? Do you have a place where it happens more regularly?

Not in the shower, surprisingly, as everyone says. I go to cafes, that’s my thing. Just your random cafe around the corner, the more invisible I can be, the best! I am not looking for posh touristy cafes, I always look for something where no-one would find me there. 

There is a shared thought that art continues to gather importance in the development of a society. How impactful do you think it can be? 

Without art and culture, there’s no society. I once read a John Keating quote on Dead Poets Society movie that said something like that medicine, law, business and engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life, but poetry, beauty and love, these are what we stay alive for. This is exactly how I feel. I am not saving people’s lives on a daily, however, we can’t live without a purpose, without a cause. We need to create and that’s something inherently connected with us as humans beings. Nonetheless, these are all philosophical questions and I am much more a physical and hands-on type of person. I don’t tend to overthink my work. There’s a nice quote from Elias Regina which reflects this state of mind. I am not a football commentator, I am a football player, I need to be on the field!

Easy Breezy

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