While there are many definitions of design, and certainly more than few ways to interpret it, one of the consistent themes in communicating the concept is that at its core, design is a form of problem solving.  

In my experience perusing her projects, Marly Gallardo solves the problem of ever having a dull visual experience with her work. The Ecuadorian artist is a graduate of RISD, currently living in NYC, with a roster of clients including her alma mater, CNN Money, Variety, MTV News, and Wired. 

Her unapologetic use of color catches the eye, but I especially love how her forms so clearly translate - no words needed for my (ironic) favorite, Digital Detox.

Here's the backstory on this talented lady. 

Q1: What was your first job?

My first job was at my family's former restaurant, and boy did I hate it. It was a family business, so from a young age my brother Coco and I were put to work. The older we got we moved up the ranks from napkin folding to dishwashing to waitressing. We also didn’t get paid but I could keep the tips. I spent most of my time drawing behind the counter, definitely not the best employee.

Q2: What would you consider your big break?

I wouldn’t say I’ve made it in the illustration scene just yet to consider a big break. Along with many other recent graduates I am still trying to get my foot in the door. In the meantime I am thankful my work has been gaining momentum in social media platforms. It has helped me gain clients and features like this one! As of now I am grateful for my supporters for placing me somewhere on the map.

Q3: Most meaningful project thus far?

I recently had the honor of working with the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. I could not believe I had been approached, and was in awe after finding out one of my favorite artists, Christoph Niemann, would also be part of the project. We were asked to contribute a piece for Zero Discrimination Day. The campaign aims to end discrimination and inform people on prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. I felt very passionate in creating a design that would impact, and be worthy of the great work UNAIDS has been devoted to.

Q4: Self talk motto for staying motivated? Or, other methods for staying inspired?

Dance it off. I am an emotional roller coaster. One minute I am feeling confident and drawing the greatest design of my career ... and, the next minute said drawing is crumpled up in the trash and I’m throwing a tantrum. It’s a hard job. I am my biggest critic and hold myself to high standards. This takes a toll on my emotions but I find music really helps. I am obsessed with making studio playlists so I am always prepared with lively jazz, salsa, and bossa nova to dance to until I feel better.

Q5: If you had to define your work style in one word, what would it be?

Flavorful! I spend a ridiculous amount of time color matching and perfecting my palette. Colors are like food ingredients for me and if anyone scrolls through my portfolio they’ll notice my favorite ingredients are salmon pink and mustard yellow. I want my work to be rich in idea and color.

Q6: If you weren't doing this, what do you think your backup career choice would be?

It is hard to imagine doing something other then illustration, I have been drawing since before I could spell. If I had to I would pick a career related to history or archaeology, basically Indiana Jones. History is one of my favorite subjects. I am fascinated by Pre­Columbian studies, Colonialism, and Classical studies. During studio time I tend to pick an event or person and listen/watch documentaries while I work. Perhaps I could be content with this career but I am more than happy with the one I have.

Q7: What's next? (Whatever that means for you)

I think I have been stressing myself out with goals these past months thus I have decided to focus on life weekly. For now I am planning a trip to an art supply store for quality color paper. I have an installation project in mind involving humorous statements in paper art and photography. It’s been a while since I have experimented in other media aside from digital. Stay tuned.

Amber DavisComment