Spotlight #14: Alejandra Sáenz on her art with a dark and occult twist

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Recently I got an e-mail from Alejandra Sáenz, an illustrator from Argentina. She send me a link to her portfolio, and I immediately had a crush on her gorgeous illustrative work with a dark and occult twist. I asked her to share some insights on her work with us, which you’ll find in this 14th edition of the ‘Spotlight’-series. Enjoy!

Bleaq: Can you introduce yourself and your work in a few sentences?
AS: I’m Alejandra Sáenz, a freelance graphic designer and illustrator from Venezuela, now living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My artwork represents my view of life, the universe and beauty – sometimes with a dark and occult twist.

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How did you get into illustration? Did you have a specific moment when you knew you wanted to pursue a career as an artist?
AS: My family is very artistic so I was interested in art from a very young age. I’ve always been drawing and I’ve never stopped doing so. My studies and work have always been associated with art or design but only recently I got to work as an illustrator full-time – it is what I have always dreamed.

You work with several techniques: drawing, stippling and acrylic painting. Do you have a favorite? When you’re about to start with a new piece, do you start with a technique in mind or do you work from an substantive idea or concept?
AS: I do not believe that I have a favorite technique, undoubtedly each of them is a completely different experience and I enjoy them all the same. When I begin a new piece I always have a concept in mind. When I’m doing the sketch on paper I choose the technique that it will use, everything depends on how the piece works out and that’s the technique that it’s going to be used.

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There’s a lot of esoteric symbolism in your work. Can you tell a but about your fascination for this kind of symbolism? Where does that fascination come from?
AS: I would not know exactly where it comes from but I always had this fascination and curiosity for the occult. I’ve always been a rare and a bit dark little person interested in the vastness of the universe and all its hidden secrets. Inevitably I need to express this in my artwork.

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Who are your favorite artists? How do they inspire your work?
AS: I’d have to say Gustave Doré significantly, his technique is perfection and is so full of history and detail. He is definitely an admirable artist, besides being the original illustrator for some of my favorite books.

A more contemporary artists I like is Mark Ryden. His work has always fascinated me: the kind of antagonism created by these sweet colors  and angelic faces against the disturbed and symbolic stories behind each piece. Michael Hussar would have to be another artist who helped me enjoy art regarding the macabre and the unknown.

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It’s probably like asking parents which of their kids they like best, but do you have a piece or pieces from your work that you like best? If so, why that one?
AS: I could say ‘Cosmic Matter’ is one of my favorites, maybe because it represents who I am and what inspires me. I have a special connection with this piece.

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– ‘Cosmic Matter’ 

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With many social networking websites it’s almost hard to keep track of everything! How important is the internet for you as an artist?
AS: It is very important to me because the internet is the way I can expose myself and share what I do. It also gives me the opportunity to learn more about art and things that inspire me. I try to keep constantly active at the few accounts that I have (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Behance) but sometimes it gets a bit difficult. You can make the internet a very useful tool if you use it properly to propel yourself as an artist. I never thought that this medium would open so many doors to me. So yes, it is very important!

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– A selection of Alejandra’s Instagram images

Last but not least: can you recommend a book, movie or artist you’ve enjoyed lately?
AS: I recently re-read ‘The Case of Charles Dexter Ward’ by H.P. Lovecraft, with him it’s never enough! And an artist who has impressed me lately is Ana Bagayan, I am simply in love with her work.

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Bleaq: That’s all for today! A big ‘Thank you!’ goes out to Alejandra, for being so kind to share her beautiful work and interesting insights with us. If you like Alejandra’s work make sure to check out her Behance profile or follow her on Instagram. Thank you once again for reading! What do you think of Alejandra’s work?

Hope you all have a nice weekend, see you monday!

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