This week we sat down with an exciting young artist Marta Zubieta aka Zubieta, whose colourful creations have oozed into the Bristol scene over the last year. From creating album artwork to painting murals across the city, Marta’s work is a clean lick of neon-pastel paint on the Bristol art scene. From her Fine Art education that started in Seville to a job in graphic design, Marta tells us how Bristol has fostered her quirky style and allows her to tell her story through her work.
‘It just felt like my art wasn’t current and relevant in my city.’
In the traditional art circles of Spain, Marta describes an impenetrable community of artists with only a handful of alternative galleries. A move to more fertile ground seemed somewhat necessary for this talented young artist whose digital designs began to appear in Bristol, at first on gig posters for Worm Disco Club and then spread over walls in privately commissioned murals across the city. For Marta, Bristol is a place that allowed her creativity to flow once again, yet creativity comes with a caveat; this is a city that can swallow you up in ‘a wave of working in hospitality, going out, getting lost.’ But as she says, it was out of a moment of being lost when she started to draw again and develop the style that we know today as Zubieta.
‘I was looking into South American illustrators, old music posters and old sci-fi, and I began to merge it with my own stuff.’
Her influences lie heavily in electro-cumbia and electro-latin music which has made Marta a go to artist for the latin music scene. She describes her work as ‘out of reality with a skewed perspective’, before adding ‘I was always a bit freaky. I liked weird stuff.’ In a more classical style, Marta is a big fan of Hieronymus Bosch, but also follows contemporary artists coming from a background in graphic design. She likes lowbrow pop surrealism, 50s style like Mark Ryden,Takashi Murakami and the street artist KAW who became famous by defacing adverts, eventually getting contacted by those same companies he was pranking to work to them. This rebel streak certainly flows through her work too.
‘What is love?’
The idea of love features heavily in her work, from self love to the monstrous necessity to be loved, Marta has created a narrative for her images that tells us ‘Everybody is looking for love, at Love Canyon’. We grapple with this sentiment as we absorb the pastel pop images of amphibious creatures holding smart phones, swiping for love. Remind you of anything? It’s a graphic novel that she’s been developing for her MA in Graphic Arts at UWE, that joins together a selection of images that ask ‘what is love now, and what are we looking for?’ It’s a reality from the eyes of a female millennial, full of anxiety and nostalgia, the kind of girl that Marta herself can relate to.
‘I was a typical fad girl, always in the library reading Goosebumps and playing with my electronic friends.’
The 90s nostalgia and bright colours are evident in her colour scheme. However Marta has found current inspiration in her new city, Bristol, which she has demonstrated through her winning design for the Bristol Pound, Bristol’s independent currency that helps put money back into local trade.
‘The Bristol Pound opened a lot of doors for me.’
She produced a design that represented Bristol in a fun way that retains the fantasy of the city. After delving into Bristol’s history, Marta discovered the story of Goram the Giant. New to it myself, I asked her to give me a quick synopsis;
‘It’s a story about 2 giants in Bristol, who were both in love with Avon, the goddess of the river. Goram was a drunk and Vincent was a more sensible English gentleman. Goram went on a date with Avon, and she preferred him because he was more fun and liked to party. I think that’s in keeping with the Bristol style, you go with the fun, drunk, disaster man.’
Goram the Giant was a perfect way to incorporate her penchant for characters, and lead to a whole lot of exciting opportunities. In 2018 Marta made her mark on the Bedminster based graffiti festival Upfest with her first mural; commissions from Kongs of King Street and Pizzarova soon followed.
So, for any young artists struggling to feel inspired or get their work out there, this one’s for you. Marta has come so far, and is constantly moving upwards. Here’s her advice to anyone wanting to get seen: ‘Try to apply to all the contests you can, but never pay for submitting your work, because that’s unfair practice. Keep working. Talk to other artists, some people think that their knowledge is the best, but ideas are for everybody. No magic formula is going to make you a better artist if you keep it to yourself. Learning is to be shared.’