In a sea of digital vector artwork, MRBBABY’s hand painted illustrations stand out.
Really good art is usually just an extension of the artist – it’s who they are, the way they dress, the way they decorate their apartment.
MRBBABY's art is expansive, one sweep of her Instagram shows her painting murals, and ice cream trucks, and in galleries and creating some rather creepy dolls. Her work engages you, her hand painted illustrations give much insight into the imaginative underworld she's created. In this world a snake and a rat go for a lovely picnic, and her signature character Chucho, a multicoloured imaginary friend often gets up to hijinks, and possibly had a short stint as a pimp. Her work is aesthetically gorgeous and intricate while being playful but creepy, dark and sinister. That's why we knew we just had to collaborate with her to create our Mental Essentials characters.
We worked with MRBBABY for over a year, to bring the 10 essential oils in the Mental Essentials collection to life. We wanted everyone to see how unique essential oils are, and how they can help us feel better everyday. So, we delved into the history of each of our oils and looked at the origins of the oil, and the culture of people in that region and we sent over references that spoke to us. We also made sure that each of the characters encompassed the mental benefit of that oil, that's why Lavie is ready for a hug, and Lems is super focused, magnifying glass in hand.
From there, MRBBABY interpreted these references, and hand painted these illustrations that completely represented each essential oil in the Mental Essentials collection. Each time we got a character back, we were left in awe, at her talent, her vision and how she was able to create characters that felt so visceral and real.
We're very interested in learning about the creative process of artists, so we spoke with MRBBABY to get some insight into creating the Mental Essentials characters, and what inspired her to become the visionary artist that she is:
What led you to become an artist?
I have always had an impulse to create, whether it was drawing or sculpting but art always attracted me in its many forms. It really helped that my mother was very supportive of this and helped me as a child by buying me coloring books, clay to sculpt, sketchbooks to draw in etc.
Why do you choose to paint?
I was always a fan of sculpting but decided to become a painter because I felt like you could manipulate the paint more. It was easier to create worlds and express yourself through color. There’s also a tranquil quality about painting that I feel nothing can compare to.
What do you feel when you paint?
I usually get lost in it. It’s therapeutic for me, I think this is why I stuck with it. When I wanted to escape the world I would just paint my own.
Describe your process when creating a piece.
It varies, sometimes I sketch it out and have a plan to tackle when I start a canvas- sometimes I just start and have no idea where it will end and what it will become.
At what point is a piece finished?
It’s hard to walk away. I feel like as an artist we always want to add more, or do better. I’d say I consider a piece done when my mind starts to wander and I begin to not be as fully involved.
What draws you to large scale murals?
Originally I started painting large scale because I wanted to find an alternate source for income as an artist. I’ve always had a huge fascination for murals but always felt intimidated, either by what people would say to me about being a female or just by my own thoughts etc. In a way it was a way of saying “screw you” and proving everyone, including myself wrong.
How do you find balance in your life?
It’s the hardest thing- I’m still working on it. As a mother and an artist it’s been a very difficult battle with that word. I guess I just do my best.
How do you take care of your mental health?
Luckily I chose a profession that is therapeutic for me but ultimately still need to take breaks and live life apart from just an “artist”. I usually like to start or end my days off with a run and exercise.
What was it like creating the characters for Mental Essentials?
I had a great time designing these. It was fun but challenging to interpret the oils into characters and learn the origins of them while creating and incorporating all of this to create the vision.
What was the most challenging part of creating Mental Essentials?
The most challenging part was to make sure my characters said what I wanted them to say and represent. To make sure everyone’s visions including my own were represented.
Do you have a favourite character?
I honestly can’t decide! I really love them all for different reasons but I guess I would say Eucalyptus only because it was the first one I created and kind of set the stage for the ones to follow.