17th Jul 2023

Xhibit is an open call opportunity and annual exhibition, coordinated by Arts SU – the Student’s Union for University of the Arts London. The exhibition aims to platform the vast diversity of practice at UAL, functioning as a space for cross-college collaboration and representation. Each year, Cass Art awards one Xhibit artist a £500 materials bursary. We caught up with 2022 winner Marina Tasca who studied MA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL to find out more about her work and find out what she has been up to since graduating.

Living Wheel (2021) - Watercolour, colour pencils and graphite on paper. 29.7 x 42 cm.

Hi Marina! Congratulations on winning the Cass Art Bursary Award at Xhibit 2022. Can you tell us a little bit about you and your creative journey so far?

Hi, and thank you for the opportunity! I’m Marina Tasca, visual artist and illustrator. I grew up in a small town near São Paulo, Brazil. I studied Visual Arts at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), in Belo Horizonte, and there I started taking part in art exhibitions. After my first solo show “Dentro Onde Eu Não Caibo”, I was invited to collaborate with the gallery “GAL Arte & Pesquisa”, which represents my work until today in Brazil.

After my Bachelor I decided to go to Switzerland for a year of studies in Anthroposophy, at the Goetheanum School of Spiritual Science, in Dornach, which had substantial art practice. Parallel to my studies I was involved in different projects, among them freelance work with illustration, the magazine WIR and a duo show with Alex Silber, which was presented at the Brasilea Foundation in Basel.

By the end of 2021 I moved to London, where I had been approved for the MA Illustration programme, at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL.

Carnaval Walk (2021) - Ink on Paper. 53x23cm.

What was your experience like studying MA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL? How did your work develop during your time there?

It was a positive and challenging experience. The main focus was building autonomy as a creative practitioner while developing a personal project. In my work, I could develop a little book of illustrations with the theme “Devotion”, which was inspired by the life of my grandfather. In general, I could explore more the use of colour and illustration applied in storytelling. I also gained more confidence 'going my own way'.

Isolation (2021) - Watercolour, colour pencils and graphite on paper. 29.7 x 42cm.

What have you been up to in the last year since winning the prize?

After Xhibit, I mainly concentrated on finishing my Masters, which I did, and graduated with distinction! I was also accepted at Made in Arts London as a new artist and started selling my work online through their platform. My work 'Isolation' was also part of their launch exhibition, 'The Verdant Collection'.

Dots (2021) - Watercolour, colour pencils, graphite and ink on paper. 29.7 x 42 cm.

Your winning work Living Wheel is a drawing that celebrates different forms of connection, how everything is interlinked and influences each other.Can you tell us how you came up with the concept for this and your thought process in creating the image?

Living Wheel was created during the pandemic, when I had a strong wish of connecting, of bringing all isolated things back into togetherness. A recurrent theme in my work is the creation of these beings, objects or places that also appear in Living Wheel. They are creatures from a place of imagination, and seem to me to be constantly in a state of play, or celebration. I was living in Basel at the time I created this drawing, and many elements and things I was in touch with, from the city, also appear in this composition.

WIR, Cover 01 (2021) - Watercolour, colour pencils and graphite on paper. 42 x 29.7 cm.

The work was included in an independent magazine called WIR, from Basel, Switzerland. How did that come about?

The project was an initiative of Alma Rau and Tim Zorger, two artists/friends, that invited other artists/friends, to develop a little magazine with the theme 'Us' ('Wir' in German). We met regularly for some time to gather ideas and raise the questions that would provoke our artistic responses — How are we together? Am I happy together? etc. The group had 10 artists from different areas: visual arts, dance, theatre, music, creative writing… It was really a lot of fun and we were sponsored by the GGG Kulturkick in Basel to publish the project.

WIR, Cover 02 (2021) - Watercolour, colour pencils and graphite on paper. 42 x 29.7 cm.

Can you tell us a bit about your other work and what you are currently working on?

I just finished working on a series of street posters for a project in Brazil. The theme was 'Inner Woman' and I was invited to do it by Casa Lebre, an art house in my hometown that every year runs the //Paralela art festival, parallel to the Art Festival of Serrinha, which is a larger festival that grew to be quite significant in South America. For this project, I drew on the many inner women that inhabit my imagination and played with words in Portuguese, English and German.

As for my other works: imagination, dreams, fantastic creatures and a sense of positivity and care towards life - these are the themes that usually guide me and appear strongest in my practice.

Fantastic Landscapes (2021) - Watercolour and colour pencils on paper. 24 x 30 cm.

You use a wide variety of materials to make your works including graphite, colour pencils, oil pastels and watercolour. What are your favourite brands and why and are there any materials you simply cant do without?

Faber-Castell was the brand I mainly grew up with and always loved. Apart from that, I use a little bit of everything: Koh-i-noor pencils for graphite work, Winsor & Newton watercoloursDerwent colour pencils

My highlight material would maybe be from Caran D’ache - it’s more than 10 years now that I use a water-soluble wax pastels box with 126 colours. I received as a gift for my 15th birthday and I absolutely love it.

Inner Life (2021) - Watercolour on paper. 17.8 x 25.4 cm.

Do you have any tips for budding illustrators using analogue materials?

I think patience is key, because working analogue usually requires more time. But also valorising your own work and being proud of the process - you’re working with your hands, directly with the matter! - I think there’s something magical about it.

Três Faces de Maria (2021) - Watercolour on paper. 17.8 x 25.4 cm.

Do you have any advice for people considering studying MA Illustration at Camberwell?

I’d recommend reading the programme carefully and maybe taking part in an open day. MA Illustration at Camberwell has a very contemporary approach, it’s very open and transdisciplinary approaches are highly appreciated. If you are looking for a more traditional illustration course, maybe you should give space for second options.

Blooming Dream (2022) - Ink on paper/sketchbook. 25.4 x 17.8cm.

And finally, whats next for you?

I just moved back living in Basel, Switzerland, and I’m currently setting up my new studio where I will be working on a new solo exhibition project during the next months! My website/online-shop should also come out by early September. :-)

Thanks Marina!

See more of Marina’s work at behance.com/marinatasca or @desenhodamarina on Instagram.

Feeling inspired?

Read more artist interviews on the Cass Art blog, or shop drawing materials