Tita's Articles

"Clever Naïf"

February 21, 2017

The term Naïf is used to describe a few characteristics of one particular kind of art. But the most important one here and the reason why I took it for my title is: a sense of childlike simplicity and frankness. I then added a character of cleverness of having a story behind it, which is the basic difference between a drawing and an illustration: an illustration is a story made of drawings. 

 

Now the real clever part.

One of the first and biggest influences of my drawing life comes from the early Walt Disney’s cartoons, and I mean early. One that I am particularly fond of is the Silly Symphony series. In the 30's Walt Disney had Mickey as his cartoon’s main character, but then he started producing the Silly Symphony Series as a platform for experimenting with processes, techniques, characters, and stories in order to further the art of animation. It also provided a venue to try out technologies that would be crucial to Disney's plans to eventually begin making feature-length animated films. You might remember the first ever coloured cartoon Flowers and Trees in 1933, way before Snow White. After that, there was a "whole new world" of adventures for Disney’s creations, but still in those early days of Technicolor, with only music in the background and no words, you could understand the full story by the characters expressions and music that guided the feelings. 

 

I grew up watching those cartoons and when I first started drawing, still a very small child, I began to see cartoons and illustrations in a more understanding way and capture the hand making that created them. Memorable Silly Symphony’s cartoons like The Ugly Duckling, Music Land and The Old Mill still move me to tears for such simplicity, beauty and humanity behind them. That’s what I want to achieve in my illustrations. Perhaps you’ll feel the warmth of a happy dog lying at the beach, the refreshment of a girl swimming in the ocean, or the tickles of a very excited mouse cooking Christmas goodies. Imagination can be vast and we can find in ourselves the vehicles to make it soar.

 

So, to Disney and his Silly Symphonies: I had a part of my life when I didn't colour at all; then the part when I found the perfect media to express my colours; and then my adventures in different and mixed media. The Bird, of course, is my Mickey, my forever Steam Boat Willie, who is family. But most importantly, the Silly Symphonies were something made not to be taken too seriously, because they were an experiment for something bigger. But especially because of that they were loose, light and full of life. Because they weren't meant to be something big, they had freedom to be whatever they could. Even being big! And they were spectacular.

 

A learning I took for my life: when you don't take things too seriously you have freedom to make mistakes, and that's when you discover the most fantastic possibilities. By taking risks you can surprise yourself, and by mistake you can achieve something unimaginable. I put that in my drawings, in my writing and in my life. And everything can be so light and easily appreciated. 

I wanted somehow to honour those discoveries, mixing some of my adult discoveries with my childhood influences. That's when I created my very own description of artwork, when I naively did something clever.

 

 

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