Featured Artist: Artichokat

South America is home to great artists with creative minds that go beyond a single format and experiment with each piece (like, for example, JuanSinMiedo from Colombia). This time the inspiration comes from one of the southernmost countries in the world, Chile. We present to you the Featured Artist of the month: Artichokat.

A Handmade Featured Artist

There are many ways to get started in the world of creation and design. Some go into it after formal education at a university or specialized school, others venture into it thanks to online courses or specialized channels – if you want to save on tuition, we have some incredible and free ones to offer you – and others let their creativity run wild by playing and learning in a self-taught way. This last case is that of the Chilean illustrator Artichokat. 

“Ever since I can remember, I see myself drawing, at school I didn’t pay attention and would draw. My parents let me scribble on the walls of my room. I would leave my sketchbook in the kitchen so that they would just happen to see it and would compliment me even if it didn’t always turn out…”

Sources of Inspiration and Influence

The world of creativity is a constantly changing world that is influenced by other artists and stimuli. To find your own style, it is often necessary to be familiar with the style of others, and even get inspiration from different places such as movies, animation, comics or photography. When we asked our Featured Artist about her greatest sources of inspiration, she told us: “My first sources of inspiration were the cartoons of the 90s, Cartoon Network, Sanrio, and also my great-uncle Espir.

Now my sources of influence are Ernie Bushmillier, Tove Jannson, Pendleton Ward, Milicent Patrick, Simon Hanselmann…”

Featured Artist 1

Featured Artist 2

Copyright: Ernie Bushmiller & Simon Hanselmann

Surrounding herself with sources of influence is very important for a self-taught designer. In this way, she is able to learn new tricks: “I am lucky to surround myself with very talented people who have shared what they know with me. The rest I look for in YouTube tutorials, reading the instructions of materials. I am a person who learns by doing. I’m not good at studying, but I am good at practicing…”

And to define her own style, in her own words: “It’s difficult to answer this without sounding conceited,” she laughs. “I think it would be ‘fat and soft’… I am inspired by animals and magic.” Lately, I have drawn a lot of my contradictions or absurd things that happen to me. I try to put seriousness aside…”

Turning Point

Starting to make a living from art and design can be very complicated, which is why many are afraid to take the plunge and dedicate themselves fully to this: …“I went to study architecture, I was very bored, but I thought, how am I going to make a living in the future? In Latin America, it is quite difficult to ‘make a living from art.’ Bored and afraid of the future, I finished university, almost resigned to having to work in an office forever, until something beautiful happened. A friend asked me to paint his café, which was an actual job, and that was the moment I decided to illustrate…”

Each culture is also different and undertaking these types of careers and jobs is very different in each country. However, it is these roots that often mark the themes and styles in which each artist specializes: “I think my country is one full of terrible traditions that led me to draw posters against rodeos, forestry, and police repression since I was a teenager. This really took hold in 2019 during the revolt. Also, in my style, I would say that what really influenced me was where I grew up, in Cunco, a rural town located in the south of Chile, in Mapuche territory. I grew up in a very old house, often hearing stories about witches, the devil, and ghosts. Imagine a 12-year-old girl sitting in front of a computer without Internet access, playing The Sims while she looks at cows and black-faced ibis from her window. Then imagine this same 16-year-old girl sitting in front of a computer with Internet access and Photoshop, looking at the same landscape. How could she not draw animals, devils, magical beings, plants and bugs interacting with each other and with technology?…”

A Bit of Everything

To express creativity there is no single format, everyone can explore a wide variety of different ways, be it digital illustrations, canvases, and even mugs or clothes. 

Artichokat is an artist who has immersed herself in a wide variety of different formats, from murals, paintings, and much more: “During my adolescence, I discovered graffiti and stencils. I also make clothes and much more. I don’t have a favorite, but they all start with a sketch made with paper and pencil…”

The Professional World

Perhaps one of the most complicated issues for any artist is putting a price on their work, starting to “sell” their work. It is also very difficult to go out and get assignments, although this is not always the case: “I don’t think I have ever offered it (her artwork), rather I show that I’m available and upload content to my social networks so that people see what I do and that is how people and brands approach me with proposals. And it has been great, being able to work doing what I like the most has been my dream ever since I was a child…”

About the exposure offered by showing her creations on social networks and even on Freepik, she says: “I think it’s awesome that my illustrations can be used by more people so they can make their own projects…”

Inspiration and creativity can be born anywhere and at any time, keeping our eyes open will help us find fresh ideas and pieces that will allow us to grow and develop. This time we present to you the work of an incredible artist from one of the southernmost countries on the planet. Stay tuned, who knows where the next Featured Artist will come from.