About the artist
This week we meet Velmock, the artistic alias of Esperanza Manzanera Ferrandiz. Esperanza is a secondary philosophy teacher living in Granada, Spain. Despite her work being photography based, Esperanza does not consider herself a photographer but rather a visual artist. Her art, which she dubs Photoimagination, is a combination of digital collage, texture effects and other composite elements which she applies to her photos.
Esperanza’s style is surreal and expressionistic; citing her influences in the art of Magritte, Giorgio De Chirico, Georgia O’Keeffe, Remedios Varo, James Ensor, Man Ray and Duane Michals.
How did you first get into digital art?
I started doing small photo montages in Photoshop for my work as a teacher and, little by little, I was building my skill in using it. I became interested in digital art a couple of years ago, after spending an afternoon making paper collages with my daughter, then four years old. After finishing the pictures, I photographed them and started to retouch them with Photoshop; that’s how the magic arose, having that excited pinch in the stomach when you create something new!
Why did you choose digital art as your medium?
As the daughter of a painter and a writer, art has always been present in my family. I have drawn, I have directed short films, I have written books of stories and novels, but none of this truly satisfied me. Digital art is different: it is immediate, I can finish a piece of artwork in just a few hours or, at most, a few days. Both digital photography and art are now powerful mediums.
Tell us about the process you use to make your art.
I create my images using two very defined paths. Often I will open Photoshop and start to gather images until I get a result that pleases me, or it might be an idea that appears in my mind like a sketch, which I will try to materialise on the canvas; looking for the images and mixes that allow me to realise the initial concept. The result may be very different from my original idea, but then I remember a quote from Picasso that always moves me: “Art is not sought, it is found.”
To which artistic styles are you particularly drawn?
I am most drawn to surrealism, expressionism and abstract painting, although my most significant influence is the style called Fantastic Art.
What inspires you?
So many things inspire me! Flowers, eyes, clouds, stars, birds, sparks, smoke, dust, and always the shadows that light continually creates. When I am in the moment and am simply observing, without thinking, the ideas sprout in my mind as if they were on springs! The tricky thing, I suppose, is being able to set aside my daily problems and focus.
Of all your images to date, which is your favourite, and why?
Although there are so many that I like but The Hotel Room is, perhaps, the image with the most special meaning; not only for me but for all the people who see the image. It is one of my works that contains the most truth; I think that is also quickly captured by the viewer.
Which three words or phrases would you use to describe your work?
Imagination, magic and beauty.
What are the most notable responses you have had to your art?
Many more than expected! The Hotel Room is on its way to becoming an iconic image. On the other hand, this year, I have seen my work recognised with three awards and a couple of exhibitions. As an artist that creates almost daily, I can not be happier!
Name three artists who inspire you.
How do you think you’ve improved as an artist compared to when you first started?
If you look at my Instagram wall, you can see a rapid evolution. I am always studying, taking courses, visiting museums and getting inspiration from the work of colleagues and friends on the Internet. I live my art with great passion.
Which apps/programs do you use to create your art and which are your favourites?
I use mainly Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. I have also increasingly started using the Snapseed smartphone app.
Do you use images from stock sites and if so, which are your favourites and why?
As my work evolves and my experience grows, I find I am using fewer stock photos and working with my photos instead. For textures, though, the internet is still an essential resource.
And finally, do you find that people dismiss digital art as a valid art form?
The division between pure photographers and digital artists is rapidly blurring; in fact, more and more photography contests have a section devoted to creativity and admit all kinds of effects and manipulation of images.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and artwork with us, Esperanza!