Inma Hortas’ illustrations are a force to be reckoned with. Whilst entirely surreal, they remain very much based in the realm of reality. Diversity, inclusion, and empowerment is at the forefront of the Madrid-based artist’s vision, even if they come in the form of uncanny humanoid proportions, sizes, and shapes. “I grew up in Galicia, where I learned to appreciate the living creatures and make time and space to let my imagination run wild,” she tells It’s Nice That. “The landscapes of Galicia have greatly influenced me ever since: the lush forests, the usual rain, the cliffs.” Such a genuine passion for the terrain of “living creatures” comes through in Inma’s work, which feels earnest and authentic. Her representation of life and society feels like a genuine celebration – one that marries together all the positive aspects of being true to oneself. “During this hard time of the pandemic I was able to reconnect with myself to see my desired future clearer, and follow my own voice as an illustrator stronger than ever,” Inma adds. “There are no borders for an illustrator who needs both to draw and breathe as I do.” For Inma, it is as simple as that. Drawing is her way of not just reflecting life, but experiencing it. “I wake up excited every morning to illustrate the world.”
Inma’s love for the illustrative is what makes her work so attractive for commission. “I love teaming up with my clients to create one-of-a-kind pieces by following the assignment, but also thinking outside the box to make it eye-catching and imaginative,” Inma explains. It wasn’t until 2020 that Inma cemented her style, and began to create a distinct aesthetic of her own. “I worked before as a corporate graphic designer both in-house and as a freelancer, for large international clients and small entrepreneurs, but illustration is clearly my medium,” she says. “It’s my tool to communicate with the world, as it allows me to explain ideas, thoughts and feelings in a very concrete way, with my own language and most of the time, with a very personal approach.” For Inma, each illustration is an extension of herself, shared out to her clients, and the world. It’s “graphic, vibrant, resounding and meticulous, both fun and sensitive,” she tells us.
Throughout Inma’s bright portfolio, we see recurring “voluptuous shapes, whimsical elements, little patterns and symbolic elements” which unearth the nuances of confidence, power, and intimacy. “Personally, I feel truly inspired by human emotions,” Inma explains. “Obviously when I illustrate for a client my goal is fulfilling the brief, but I always try to introduce some of my bigger values as much as possible: body positivity, diversity and women and non-binary empowerment.” Often, Inma will utilise a strong colour scheme and a distinct sense of humour to tell a genuine story. Complex concepts hide behind the visuals, and often celebrate those in the margins of society. “At the end, my greatest wish is for viewers of my work to feel an emotional response and to touch their mind and/or heart.”
With razor-sharp precision and attention to detail, Inma works to unearth the core of every brief she receives before taking a spin on it with her own visual language. From mindlessly sketching and doodling to creating a vector illustration, Inma is always focused on understanding what the project is all about. “My favourite part is when the ideas come to life,” she says. One recent project Inma demonstrates her talent for bringing ideas to life with fresh ideas is in her editorial work for The Girlfriend from AARP about underwear that marries comfort and style. “I love it very much because it truly represents diversity and body positivity, beauty in all sizes and forms and it is also joyful and vibrant,” Inma beams. “It is completely in line with my own values.”
Now, Inma is busy working with more commissions in progress, whether it be infographics or editorial or other miscellaneous works. There’s no doubt Inma’s whimsical eye is fit for a wide range of projects. “I have much more lettering and pattern design in progress too,” she tells us. “But definitely, I hope the next challenge is to get working for clients I very often read like Refinery29, The Guardian, Vogue or LA Times.”
Inma Hortas: I am not my body (Copyright © Inma Hortas, 2021)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. He was part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.