Anybody at the top of their field will tell you they’ve had at least one strong mentor at critical points in their lives. Not just somebody who is supportive but someone who can guide us, push us out of our comfort zones, and see something in ourselves that maybe we can’t even see. For New York-based illustrator Isabel Ricaurte, she found multiple mentors at the School of Visual Arts in New York City (SVA). Celebrated illustrator Marcos Chin was one of Isabel’s early champions, “He knew how to reach the students…not only how to draw but also how to face some(sic) problems when you are a professional artist”. Thanks to the quality mentoring at SVA, Isabel was always able to hone important professional skills, like working under a deadline or problem-solving to create a project that might be out of her comfort zone.
Isabel is someone who has the curiosity to explore many different art styles and is introspective enough to listen to how that art affects her and responds with her own unique projects. Her own work features a fusion of Western and Japanese styles, something that has interested her for as long as she can remember.
When looking at Isabel Ricaurte’s work, you can see the result of her creative passion with the technical prowess honed at SVA. She has long had an interest in the fantastical, particularly in anime, which inspired her at a very early age to start creating her own original characters. Her work is done in watercolor and ink, which make them very tactile to look at like you can almost reach out and into the world they are presenting.
Japanese animation style requires a lot of technical prowess and strong linework, and the medium of ink can be very demanding. However, Isabel navigates it exceptionally well. Her work is strongly defined yet soft in nature, both in the themes she chooses and the art style in which she chooses to operate.
The most challenging and intense piece in her portfolio is “How behavior an unhealthy person is like”, exploring the complex idea of whether or not we have control over our lives. This is especially relevant in current times. The pandemic no doubt had an influence on Isabel as she graduated in 2020, right as things were getting chaotic. These are the problems of our times, and Isabel is determined to explore them.
Looking To The Future
Isabel had to find creative ways to stay in the artistic discussion during the pandemic, often self-motivating to participate in TikTok and Instagram challenges such as InkTober (daily drawing for the month of October). She also takes time to go to art events, something she has found invaluable, “When I have the opportunity to attend those kinds of exhibitions, I feel the advantages of living in a big cosmopolitan city such as Manhattan.” Being part of the artistic community is so important and personally, I can’t wait to see what Isabel creates out of that conversation.
About The Author
D.E. Rose is a writer living and working in New York City. When he’s not on his computer playing video games/writing, or reading, he takes long walks and over-romanticizes New York because life is so much more fun.