Hello! I'm Andrea Alcaraz and I'm and illustrator and designer based in Vancouver. I work full time in the animation industry as a color stylist and background painter. As most of my time is spent in front of a screen working digitally, I constantly have a craving to create things with my own hands to balance it out. I have been a big fan of Makerlabs since moving to Vancouver, so having the opportunity to be part of the residency with such an amazing group of women has been a very motivating experience that has brought new life into my work.
Growing up in Mexico, I was always surrounded by beautiful folk art made by artisans. I wanted to make that a focus during the residency and explore ways to incorporate my own art with different materials, and create pieces that are reminiscent of home. I started the residency with an vague idea of a project that included creating toys out of cardboard and paper, but after going trough all of our workshops the idea has evolved as the possibilities of working with different mediums and processes have expanded.
One of the projects I hope to develop more during the second month of the residency is my wooden block houses. They are inspired by a town en Mexico called Guanajuato. Every house has bright colours and from a distance, they seem to be piled up on top of each other. The idea came after our woodworking class. Since my skills are still developing, I could only cut very basic shapes. This sparked the idea of creating the houses and I later experimented with some of my designs and the laser cutter.
There's been two very valuable reminders for me during this past month. 1- Take up space. 2- Fail, make mistakes, focus on process and there will be progress. There's definitely been a learning curve for every workshop we have taken, but the oddly enough, the most challenging part for me has been feeling comfortable taking up space in an environment dominated by men. Everyone at Makerlabs has been so helpful and supportive always offering help, so it is a lot easier to feel welcomed in such a space, but it is still a personal struggle that I'm sure a lot of us can identify with. The awesome women in my group have also been a great support as we motivate each other to overcome the fears and obstacles of new and scary tools.
I'm looking forward to creating more this second month, and being able to help other women during their residency!