Updated: Aug 26, 2019
While Azul Portillo chooses to create images of commonplace scenes, her work is anything but common. Her use of simple lines and muted tones breathes life into her art; an exploration of the ordinary, everyday things that become extraordinary in their own time. Sweet and unassuming, yet often edgy and daring, Azul’s work goes beyond the plain definition of “illustration” or “drawing,” to simply become a reflection of the world through the artist’s eyes.
The young artist’s path has always seemed set on some form of creative expression. From a young age, her passions laid within art and music. From painting classes to guitar lessons, Azul has forever been set on the trajectory to creative stardom.
While Azul learned a lot from her classes, she also paid close attention to what works resonated with her.
She told Aspirants, “By looking at what some of my classmates drew, it really caught my attention: I wanted to do that. Sort of self taught, I began to do research and learned by paying attention to what I liked and practicing until I reached a result I was happy with.”
After this trial and error technique, Azul began receiving commissions, and saw on the path ahead of her the shining possibility of life as an illustrator.
One of the most striking things about Azul’s work is her ability to capture the familiar, almost nostalgic feeling of home. Suburban imagery and commonplace objects fill the pages of Azul’s sketchbooks, taking on a deeper meaning on paper.
“I guess I just empathize better with all these ordinary things. I spend a lot of time at home. I prefer calm rather than action, so it's easier for me to find emotion in the everyday things instead of in extraordinary situations.”
That’s the magic of the work Azul produces—the simple illustrations she creates grow into a visual representation of the much larger forces at work in all our lives, something that we might not have been able to recognize without the help of her art.
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Images: Azul Portillo
Words by Martina Taylor
Editors: Danielle Irene, Ry X
Designers: Kathryn Zix