Spotlight on Artist Michelle Mildenberg

I’m so excited to share the art and words of Colombian-French artist Michelle Mildenberg! The talented designer/illustrator grew up in Bogota, where she received a BA in design at the University of Los Andes. Mildenberg explains, “I'm interested in how we experience visuals, so my main focus are imageries: sets of images that create universes, daydreams and narratives about ideas, concepts, people, products and brands.” In Mildenbergs work the viewer is able to experience a narrative in just one image which I think is quite spectacular! Keep scrolling to learn more about this amazing artist…

What sparked your interest in art and illustration?

My family is in the music industry and my father had a very big record collection that I would go through on warm afternoons over the school holidays. I wanted to make illustrations like the Cheap Thrills cover from Frank Zappa. So I kind of started imitating this. Then I studied Design and started illustrating for design projects mostly.

Are you a full-time artist? If so, how did you make the decision?

I am a part-time illustrator, and the other part-time I do self-initiated research projects in speculative design and some graphic design. It depends on the projects that come. But I enjoy having diversity in my work so it’s great to have the opportunity to do different things.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by the visuals of spaces, architecture, plants, science, technology, bodies, love, gender, Latin America and the aesthetics of the future. And how all those things relate to each other. I try to keep updated in contemporary design theory and this is also something that frames my work and how I develop projects. I’m currently framing my illustration practice as a method to bring to life concepts and ideas about technology that don’t have a face yet. 

What is your artistic process?

My artistic process comes mainly from my research topics, I gather articles, readings, videos around topics that I love, then they become the topics I want to create illustrations about, generally, I create series of work around these topics. It’s all about the ideas behind the work and not so much about the technique. Though the colour is very important in my narrative. I also have a parallel line of work that is very visceral, I use illustration sometimes just as a way to get out something that is stuck in my head or something that I am experiencing / feeling. Sometimes this is more about my personal life experience rather than my topics of interest. 

Is there a theme to your work?

I think the main theme are different storytellings about femininities, the relationship between womanhood and technology, and the bodily and emotional elements that make us human. I’m very interested in how we can create different aesthetics for the future. 

Has your style evolved over time? 

Yes, my style and mostly technique have evolved a lot, especially because I have tried it all, watercolours, gouaches, pencil, digital, digital realistic, vector. But anyway when people see my old work they understand that it is mine just because of the use of the colour palette and narrative.

How do we tell the stories of female bodies? What languages emerge, what are the poetics and intimacies behind filling a space with a body?
— Michelle Mildenberg

What is the average amount of time it takes to finish one illustration?

It takes me about half a day between concept, sketching, colour and creating. Longest part is concept. 


In your artist bio you mention an interest in "exploring technology and science, its relationship to 1.what makes us human and, 2. the experience of femininity." Are you able to expand on this statement?

I’m very interested in how visuals and illustration can be a tool to create imageries for reflecting about topics that normally, as users we don’t really have a say in. With my work, I try to imagine scenarios of how technology and science can be explored from these two perspectives: how technology can be more human and relate with us in more poetic ways. And how femininities (the different ways society experience gender) can influence these constructions of technology. 

What advice would you give to a young woman whose dream is to become an artist?

I think my main advice is just to be disciplined in trying things, you are not going to succeed immediately, but if you keep for a long period doing things, in the end you have collections of work that then you can start to figure out as part of your practice.