Artist Interview: Daniela Garreton

The idea of creating something beautiful out of blank or empty space is what fuels artists of all mediums. For Daniela Garreton, who chooses drawing as her main art form, this is something that she’s been fascinated with since childhood. In this edition of Making It, Daniela talks with us about honing her process of perception-conception-expression, working through the painful moments when the image isn’t turning out like the imagination, and the vulnerability that comes with making a living as an artist.  

Tell us a little bit about your art background. How’d you get started? What’s your education like?

Since I can remember, I’ve been always fascinated by drawing and art. I think the idea of being able to create anything you like out of the blue, something that otherwise wouldn’t exist, is just amazing. Drawing is the first thought, it’s materializing the idea in its purest form. 

When I was growing up, my mom would constantly encourage me and my sister to be creative, to build things, to express ourselves through art. I would never get a “ready-to-use-toy.” It was always something that I had to create myself like Legos, crayons, plasticine.

When I finished high school, it was a natural transition for me to study design. After a few years working in design in Hamburg, we moved in 2010 to San Sebastian and it was here where my two passions, art and the ocean, collided and I started dedicating myself entirely to it.

What mediums do you work in?

I use mainly pencils and Posca markers but I also love to try different materials like wax, acrylic, wood. I think it’s important to try different techniques and mediums to see which one you feel most comfortable with.

Is there one that you prefer? Why?

I really like drawing on wood. I think wood adds a lot of depth and texture to the artwork.

How do you continue to progress and keep your artistic juices flowing?

I’m constantly awake and aware of new things that can inspire me. I try to travel as much as I can, which is one of the best ways to get inspired and to find new amazing things. 

I also read a lot of art mags and have my “creative bible” always next to me. It is a book by Alan Fletcher called The Art of Looking Sideways. It’s an awesome book about art, design and looking at life differently. Just keeping your mind open and always being interested in knowing more. 

I think the more ideas you materialize, the more new ideas will come. The more you create, the faster the process of percetion-conception-expression is.

What’s your typical process?

After a nice session in Zurriola with my feet still full of sand and my head full of salt, I sit down in my atelier, play Keith Jarret and start sketching. Some processes are more difficult than others of course. Some are an easy birth and some…ufff! They can get painful…I get easily frustrated when something is not coming out as I previously visualized it. But I keep on pushing myself until I’m satisfied with the end result.

How long do you usually take to complete one of your pieces? Are you the kind of artist that just sits down and powers? Or do you do a little at a time…leave and come back?

I sit down and power! If I stop…man I get mad and I have a hard time finding the rythmic flow again. When I start with a new piece, I try not to stop until it’s finish. I get really absorted in the particular creative energy a certain idea has. The closer I get to finishing, the more excited I get, so if I stop before its done I loose that momentum and it will probably sit in my studio for months before that same push hits me again.

What are your influences for your art outside of the ocean?

I am influenced by many creative expressions. I admire artists like Yoku Shimizu and the spiritual approach Kandinsky had about art and color. When I was young I was really struck by “concerning the spiritual in art” more than the mystic side of it. It was realizing that you could convey and express a lot through art, that it wasn’t just colors or lines. Art itself can be a deep and strong message. I really like Wes Anderson’s visual language as well, especially The Life Aquatic (I know…still oceanic).

How do you survive as an artist? What sorts of things must you do that you never thought you would have to in order to make it doing what you love?

There’s a lot of door knocking, a lot of hard work, contacting galleries, magazines, blogs. You have to do everything for yourself and just be out there and spread the word. I am very lucky I have the support of my family, friends and definitely my man, who have believed in me from the very beggining.

What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

I will be working the next months on a collab with a really nice new brand from Basque Country called “Bask in the sun” and preparing an art show with the “XH collective” in Hamburg. Im planning a trip to Chile for the holidays to visit my family, to contact some galleries and of course to freeze in the Pacific ocean and gather some inspiration!

For more of Daniela’s work, check out her website at

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