She has reviews in The New York Times and has been translated into more than 14 languages. This Chilean illustrator and author is the founder of the Siete Rayas group and reinvents the reality from the Plop! Galería. She has received help from her Héroes Personales, which is a series of original, unique, and personal drawings from the people she admires.
She is emotionally moved and desires to manifest the experiences and sensations that from a very young age established her story. Paloma Valdivia (1978) is a designer from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and has a postgraduate study in Illustration at the EINA University of Barcelona. She invites us together with her Héroes Personales to have a dialogue with all that is written, seen, traveled, and sensed through a reflection made by the artist. “It’s not even for others, but to explain to me when I was little,” says the artist.
Fortunately, with that exercise, we are in front of the undeniable acrostic of life and an illustrator that is full of incomplete questions. It’s like bats hanging in the memory until they become colorful characters that, without doubt, exhort the apathy that is established on the books when getting off the ground, revitalizing an old job like printing. This is where both the early intuition and the formidable control of the imaginary join in order to create the daily alphabet of the changeable life. It’s not only limited to a fixed number of characters that are very random like the J of Jack Costeau, K of Miyasaki, L of Laika, P of Picasso, V of Violeta or Z of Zorba. These are renovated as the unknown is solved by the famous illustrator Wolf Erlbruch, who says: “I don’t know the truth, but what I know is that we have to think, search, and let things speak. Not only the living beings but everything.”
Paloma builds a bridge where part of her artworks transit. She starts with this formidable excuse and with a jackal that illuminates the night of the port like a lighthouse that clarifies and greets a job. A job that, though it retakes the classic topics, has allowed her to keep up and have her own version of the Red Riding Hood –written in verse by Gabriela Mistral –in iTunes. Depending on the hour that you open the app, you can see the little Red Riding Hood wearing pajamas and interacting with nocturnal animals.
The way she started her career goes from the digital to the analogous and from the personal to the universal. She began with Kiwala conoce el mar (Amanuta Editorial). Then, her first book appeared: Los de arriba y los de abajo. It was written and illustrated for the Kalandraka Editorial along with Duerme negrito and Es Así for the Fondo de Cultura Económica. Then, the experienced illustrator was chosen for the White Ravens 2013, which is an honorary distinction in relation to children’s and youth literature in the world. Due to this, her work has been translated into more than 14 languages and she has been invited to countless biennales and international fairs (Slovakia, Bologna, Guadalajara). There are publications about her in La Joie de Lire (Switzerland) and Scholastic (USA). She has even worked for the CaixaForum Madrid/ Barcelona and Museo del Prado. Nowadays, she conducts the course of Illustration and Autobiographical narrative at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.
She is focused on the duty of dreaming, on leaving behind the solemn and not falling in the speculation or in the occurrence. Her work is full of signification as Hernán Rivera Letelier points out: “Paloma Valdivia clearly expresses that a color is a color and two colors together produce music.” A harmony that is perceived particularly in the way to shape the color not as another member, but rightly as the main character to the service of the illustrated idea. That is a representation that she controls with naturalness and ease because she keeps up her work of being the heroine that is after the conquest of two unexplored worlds. A superlative task where Paloma, like others, has to reinvent herself. As the Spanish illustrator Miguel Gallardo states: “No one from my generation had the idea of working as draftsmen and we could have completely invented that for us.” It is a double-edged weapon that Paloma uses in order to explore the topics that put in evidence a recurrent questioning done by children, such as the topics of life and death, the eternal inequalities of the “big or diminutive.” All these open questions are intended to be answered through Héroes Personales, by spelling their existence and adding each visitor that unintentionally imagine their own album book.
All dyed in a wonderful halo of fresh ingenuousness and enriched by the mood of someone who knows her business and adds other projects, where she turns to the most intimate. This occurs in her relationship with her son Gillem and her graphic novel Sin palabras and the book Nosotros. A necessary impulse that allows her to do a refractory acknowledgment. Therefore, it gives cause for an approach between who she is and who sees a work that leaves nothing to chance. Conversely, it’s an open door to reflection that is as hard as the task of a man in the middle of the sea who fights to keep up. This is just like Paloma, who finds a way in the autobiographical collective, composed by memories that emerge from the abyssal depth of the unconscious. That is something that requires in itself the enchantment and the necessary persistence to destroy boredom. As Roald Dahl said: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”