Life In 2-D: The Clay Illustrations of Irma Gruenholz


Much like artist Korean artist Jee Young Lee, who I featured back in December, Spanish artist Irma Gruenholz creates self-contained worlds by hand, painstakingly building the sets and pieces for each of her amazingly detailed illustrations with hand-crafted clay before lighting and photographing it. Unlike Lee, who places herself in each of her scenes, Gruenholz’s worlds are populated with round-faced, whimsical characters who show no sign of the angst and tension that is prevalent in Lee’s sometimes melancholic scenes. Instead, she presents us with colorful worlds and humorous characters straight out of a children’s book.

Which isn’t unusual, as Gruenholz’s work has increasingly been appearing in kid’s books, magazines and ads around the world. Her past career as an art director with a Madrid ad agency obviously contributes to the pleasing composition and pastel colors of her work. But it’s the fun and whimsy of her work that really caught my eye and put a smile on my face. I hope it does the same for you.

See more of her amazing clay-crafted illustrations in the gallery after the jump, and be sure to check out her website for even more.

About Stephen Kelly Creative

Hi, I'm Stephen Kelly, a writer, editor, photographer and graphic designer living in beautiful San Francisco, CA, USA. Amongst the things I love are writing, photography, movies, music, fitness, travel, Batman, all things Australian, food and fun, all of which I hope to reflect in this here blog. Welcome aboard ... now let's get busy!
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11 Responses to Life In 2-D: The Clay Illustrations of Irma Gruenholz

  1. I really think that Gruenholz’s use of deep red is particularly appealing, as with the painting Asian woman, or the grumpy-looking Queen of Hearts with heart-shaped hair (do these pieces have titles?). Of course, the rest of the work is very eye-catching too, but these pieces were especially nice to me.

  2. Colline says:

    Her work is truly amazing. I enjoy paging through children’s picture books when they have been illustrated this way.

  3. Angeline M says:

    An absolute genius. I love the chickens and egg with baby in it 🙂
    Is that her in the last photo, working on her art?
    Thanks for introducing me to this great artist.

  4. Leya says:

    A great artist at work here – love the ideas, the material and the colours. But I love children’s books and illustration. I used to draw for fun when I was younger and my daughter is rather skilled. She’s into clay as well but mostly for cosplaying. I will most certainly show her your post! This is awesome.Thank you for introducing me!

    • Hi Leya … sorry for the tardy reply. I like how it’s almost like a children’s book brought into another, more real dimension. I love the playfulness she presents, and her really cool pastel colors. Her color selection is perfect!
      Clay for cosplaying? that’s sounds cool!

  5. viveka says:

    This is very fun and interesting – I like this very much because it playful and in some extend childish – even if there is a serious undertone in most of the pieces. That head with the ducks, just brilliant. Fantastic find.

    • I like a lot of this work, mainly for that playful element. But I know what you mean, viveka … there’s a subtle serious undertone, I think brought out by the subtle colors of her pastels, especially in ‘window’ and ‘ogre’

      • viveka says:

        This with art is so personal … and thank god for that – some art I find really disturbing … and some artists takes the mickey out us – a big black canvas with an orange spot .. and then they hang it at Guggenheim – that really upset me. This makes me think .. and plays with my mind.

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