The new Issue of LAPALME Magazine just arrived, I was thrilled to see my ART OF ILLUSTRATION interview and full page ad featuring the NEW Marrero Collection handbags for the season!
THE ART OF ILLUSTRATION
Combining the wonderful and whimsical images of the 1940s and 1950s, along with delightful childhood memories and a strong passion for the artistic, Carlos Marrero shares with us some of his inspirations, motivations, and the stories that have made him who he is today.
MM: As a fashion illustrator, what is one of the things you enjoy most about your job?
CM: What I enjoy most about being a fashion illustrator is that I followed my dream; I followed my passion. Ever since I was a little boy and my grandma used to take care of us, because my parents were divorced and my mom had to work, my grandma used to make clothes from patterns. She used patterns from McCalls and Butterick, and those patterns had beautiful fashion illustrations in the cover. I used to try to copy the drawings, and was always trying to perfect them. Many years later, and after my grandmother passed away, I actually got a job from McCalls magazine and I was chosen to be on the cover! It was such a nice turn around, like a circle of life sort of thing. I also say that the opening credits of “Bewitched” and “I Dream Of Jeannie” inspired me to be an illustrator as well. So I’d say that the thing I love the most about being an illustrator is that I do what I love.
CM: When you are a fashion illustrator you are always looking to fashion for inspiration, and I’d say that my specific decades of fashion to be inspired by are the 1940s and 1950s. I love when women wore those voluptuous skirts, Christian Dior’s “New Look”, the gloves, and beautiful hats and shoes. Women would take their time to dress up, not that I’m criticizing the women of this particular generation! (laughs) we live in different times. But if I could have been born in another era it would have been the 40’s and 50’s. I also love the “Mad Men” era. That’s what inspires me.
MM: What has been your greatest motivation?
CM: I think motivation changes with time. I’ve been in the business now for 25 years. I started in this business when I was around 22-years-old and so I see that motivation changes. Now my motivation is to keep proving to myself and to the world that there is a releavance for fashion illustration and fashion art. Sometimes time passes and you don’t see illustration for a while, and I wanted to be one of those artists that was able to stay through the decades and survive as an artist. I wanted to prove to myself and maybe even my family that at one point might have thought that I hadn’t made the right move, that it was. That following your passions and living as an artist in the fashion industry is a big thing.
MM: Tell us a bit about yourself, who is Carlos Marrero? CM: Can I draw you a picture instead? (laughs) you are asking an artist to talk about himself… We all have our egos, but when it’s time to talk about ourselves, it’s never easy. If I were to narrow it down, I’d say that I am someone that lives, and lets live. That’s one of my mottos I guess. I say if you like a particular religion, or party, I’m not going to judge you for that. I always say that some people dance the tango and some people dance the cha-cha, and that being whatever topic you want to put in there (laughs).
But if you dance the tango, you can hang out with people the dance the tango, but don’t go and criticize the people who dance the cha-cha! Does that make any sense? That may not make any sense at all.
MM: It makes a lot of sense!
CM: I try to live my live on purpose, keep pushing to follow my dreams. I’m always open and pushing for spiritual growth. Carlos Marrero is one who likes to inspire others by my work, but not only by my work but by my actions.
MM: Is there a particular fashion illustrator you look up to?
CM: One-hundred ten thousand, one million percent it would be… Antonio Lopez, he was probably one of the most influential fashion illustrators in the world. He is a native of Puerto Rico like myself, and he inspires me as an illustrator because his work was very eclectic, extremely colorful, and just brilliantly dynamic. I mean, this man had so many styles, he was like a chameleon. I feel he actually elevated the whole fashion illustration world. He brought fashion illustration to covers of magazines, he brought respect to fashion illustration. He was also one of the first people that we lost to AIDS in the 1980s, which was very sad. He is most definitely my inspiration. René Gruau is another one that I do love, the posters of the old days… beautiful, beautiful work. Also Patrick Nagel. If I were to pick my top 3 those are it. But Antonio is way above the other two for me personally. He’s my ultimate favorite.
MM: What has been one of the projects you’ve most enjoyed working on?
CM: There are certain projects that mark eras, or achievements or goals that you achieve. I remember my illustrations shortly after graduating from The Art Institute of Chicago (which is where I went to school). I remember getting a job with Escada. I remember seeing my illustrations on the windows of the beautiful Escada boutique on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I thought: “Wow! I made it!” And then there were my first illustrations on Cosmopolitan magazine, so when I received the first issue of a national magazine I just literally broke down into tears because you think, “oh my God, it happened.” Then it was Vogue, then it was Glamour, then it was InStyle magazine, Entertainment Weekly, so I’d say it really doesn’t get old. Last month I had a two page spread on Latina magazine, you open it and you still get the goose bumps because imagine, you are at a Publix or Walgreens store and you see your drawings with your name on it. It just doesn’t get old. Another great moment was when I published a book and received the first printed copy of Wake Up Romeo, which is the name of my book. I then went on tour and met people who were buying the book, and I was signing copies. It was great. Now my big project that I enjoy the most is my fall and winter line of handbags and accessories, so it changes with the times.
MM: I was able to see your wonderful new collection on your site, can you tell us a bit more about that project?
CM: Yes! I launched The Marrero Collection on July 25, 2014. It is a compilation of alluring statement pieces designed for the fashionista looking for unique fashion items without the couture price tag. The line features chic and stylish handbags and accessories, which allow women to take part in my glamorous and whimsical vision of fashion and femininity. I believe that the modern consumer is looking for ways to express her individual taste and stand out from the crowd, and the internet makes it easier for individual artists to compete with major manufacturers who have traditionally dominated the market. This line represents my lifelong pursuit of seeing my illustrations in products.
MM: What inspirational quote or statement do you live by?
CM: I’m an inspiration quote junkie! There’s a section on my blog that’s just for quotes. The one that came to mind first was by Christopher Morley: “There’s only one success, to be able to spend your life in your own way.” You have to go after what you want, if you are not doing what you love then what are you doing here? Joseph Campbell is another who wrote the most important words: “Follow your bliss”; ask yourself: What is it that makes your heart sing? To me, if I’m drawing my heart is singing. If I’m not creating I feel stuck. Everyone is born with a song, and some people die never singing that song. So sing your song baby!
MM: What are your words of inspiration for future creatives and people who look up to you?
CM: I would say to never, ever, ever lose sight of what inspired you to pick your career. I think the challenge with this generation is that they have a microwave mentality; because they’ve seen so and so have things “now” they think it will be the same for them. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to achieve things. Even if you doubt yourself, keep your eye on the prize. People will try to take you down, but better doors will open. I’ll leave them with this quote by Charles Kettering: “Believe and act as if it were impossible for you to fail.”
To shop for The Carlos Marrero Collection visit: www.marrerocollection.com | For more information visit: www.motivatedwithcarlos.com