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Craft With Conscience: Mar Cerdà

Craft With Conscience

'Craft With Conscience' began in early 2016 as a weekly Instagram series dedicated to sharing the work of other creatives and as a platform to openly discuss certain aspects of ethical art-making and consuming in the age of the internet and social media.  

This series arose out of my own frustrations related to seeing my work constantly copied stitch-for-stitch, sold without permission, and credited to other people.  Rather than wallowing in unproductive negative emotions, I wanted to find a way to bring this common issue to light in a positive way.  My solution was to share the work of artists, crafters, designers, and makers who I greatly admire for their originality and dedication. Initially, I shared work similar in materials or subject matter to my own, having heard the argument, "There are only so many ways to stitch plants, I'm not copying you..." one too many times.  The truth is, no matter what the medium or subject, every artist from hobby crafter to professional painter has their own perspective and voice. It takes effort to develop one's visual vocabulary and it can be disheartening when your's is taken and misused by other individuals and sometimes larger companies.

All that being said, now is an incredible time for working artists because of the vast resources of the internet including sources of inspiration, the ability to reach a large and global audience, and as a community building tool. As you may know, I love sharing my work on Instagram and following other makers. It's a wonderful way to connect with other artists, be inspired, and feel supported, but we all need to be aware of how we use these resources and what effect it may have on others.

Since the start of 2016, 'Craft With Conscience' has grown and evolved just like any other creative pursuit and has recently expanded to include short interviews with featured artists. I've asked participating artists a series of questions about their studio process, sources of inspiration, and how image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest influence and affect them. I hope you read on to see what they have to say!

Craft With Conscience: Mar Cerdà

Sarah Benning

Mar Cerdà // Paper Artist // Barcelona

Mar is a paper artist working out of the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain. Meticulously cutting paper into miniature 3-dimensional forms, she creates entire scenes and landscapes that somehow captivate the imagination but fit into the palm of your hand. Her work seamlessly straddles the line between craft and fine art, with reference to film and popular culture, it can be cute and clever, but always delicate and beautiful.

Check out more of her work on her Instagram or her website.

1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative inspiration and developing ones’ own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artist’s lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?

Internet,  or more specifically, Instagram, plays an important role in my professional life. Not only do I have the opportunity to sneak into someone else's studio and discover new artists and keep up with an art galleries' news but I'm able to show my art process as well, like a studio visit.

I love the process of my work, so Instagram is a good place to share this with others, not only the final piece.

For me, social media is a good tool to see a direct response to my work from the audience. I see what it is that they like more or less, what connects better with the public, what messages are more well understood and I learn from my own work through their view. Having so many followers around the world has taught me a lot and has put me in contact with some great costumers and clients.

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2. Where do you find inspiration for your work?  Do you work from life or from images and in what ways has the internet and/or social media impacted your design process?

I find inspiration in so many places. One of my main inspirations is cinema, of course. But also my city and other cities I've been.

I usually work with images I've found of frames from films or photos that I've taken while walking around some cities (I would be mortified to admit how many photos I take on my travels!) Google images is a great way of finding images as well as Pinterest to find and organize inspirational images I want to use. People can follow me on Pinterest, but I don't use it as social media really.

3. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists’ to share their own work. They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?

I haven't found other people working on copies of my work yet. I've found people trying to reproduce something similar, in their own way, perhaps as a personal project and as a craft idea. That kind of "copy" makes me so honored, as they tag me and show me they work inspired by mine and it's a very humbling feeling, to be able to inspire others.

But I guess finding an artist working and selling real copies of my work would be hard, I'm not sure how I would deal with it. It would also strike to my insecurities, for sure.

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4. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?

The key is passion, to find the things that come from your heart and make you passionate about. If you love what you are doing then it’s more likely than the audience will love it too, more than if you try to imitate some other artists because they are having success or what they do is awesome. One can’t imitate someone else’s passion.

Everyone is different and we need to find the thing that makes us different and show it. The world is big enough for everybody so you have to find your place on it and don’t despair when you get a lot of “no”, it’s only that you are not knocking at the right door, at the right place. You need to keep learning, keep practicing and knock new doors.

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5. Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or Instagram accounts that you’d like to share?

I love to visit the blogs of The Jealous Curator (and listen to her great podcasts of conversations with artists), This is Colossal and Artistic Moods.

And as an Instagram addict I love to follow talented artists as @AlyssaMees, @MabGraves, @KelseyJBeckett, @BaotPham, @RebeccaGreenIllustration, the paper artist @AllieMayKiphuth, @Ollanski, @HattieNewman, some paper collectives as @StrictlyPaperArt and @PaperArtistCollective, and of course yours, Sarah!

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