Irene Feleo's Ab Fab Mardicar

An interview with artist Irene Feleo discussing the Mardicar project

 

  Birds Parade by Irene Feleo. Commissioned by Cars Guide.

 

Birds Parade by Irene Feleo. Commissioned by Cars Guide.

Cars Guide Mardicar looks fun and vibrant as. What did you think when you first heard about it?
I was really excited! I was told that the brief was pretty open, and mainly that they wanted it to be 'fabulous' - so I knew there would be a lot of room to be creative and expressive in this project.

What was the brief and how did you approach it?
I was asked to illustrate three cars around the theme of the Mardi Gras. Each car was meant to have it's own vibe and personality, so I went away and had a bit of a brainstorm of what possible characters these cars could take on. I did a lot of preliminary sketches which were pretty much just drawing any buzz words that came to mind when thinking about the mardi gras - this stage is always a bit sketchy and all over the place but it's a great way to get initial concepts out and refine them later. The client ended up choosing three concepts out of the six I pitched, and I started illustrating from there. 

Initial concept sketches

Initial concept sketches

Each car is very unique. What is the story behind each of them?
The first car is called Bird's Parade and is pretty much what the title implies - a fabulous parade of birds! I chose to illustrate hyper coloured flamingos, parrots and peacocks with bright feathers and confetti everywhere as a tribute to the festivities that Mardi Gras brings to Sydney. It is a homage to the outrageous costumes and beautiful floats that you can see during the parade.

Final concept design

Final concept design

The second car was based on the idea of Cosmic Love. This theme is all about anything intergalactic and out of this world - I really wanted it to be quite quirky and fun so I created these bizarre alien type characters who are all about spreading love and embracing the unique and different. 

The third car I called Dancing Days. This was pretty much my interpretation of Mardi Gras and some of the characters you could see out on the streets. This theme is all about being yourself, dancing the night away and celebrating individuality. 

Photos courtesy of Instagram

Photos courtesy of Instagram

You look like you had a lot of freedom to express. How does this play out in your process?
It was really great to work on such an open brief. The team at BWM were really open to any ideas that I had and I think having that freedom really allowed me to push the concepts as far as I could. I wanted everything to be brighter, festive and crazy!

Had you done any work like this before?
Illustrating for a car was definitely something I have never done before. It was a really different experience to think about how something would work in a 3D space, as opposed to just looking at something flat and unmoving. I had to work with considering how the car would look at all angles, and how my illustrations could weave together to tell a story in this medium. I definitely enjoyed the challenge and would love to do more 3D based work in the future. 

Photos courtesy of Instagram

Photos courtesy of Instagram

Did this project inspire you in any new directions?
Definitely. Every project I learn new things and uncover new ways of working. This was one of the first times I really combined working with vectors and painting/texturing them in photoshop, and I was really happy with the resulting aesthetic. 

Have you had a ride in one of the Mardicars yet?
I haven't unfortunately! I was travelling in New York around the time the cars started to get out on the streets and only arrived home recently. I DID however see the 'Dancing Days' car on Cleveland Street and pretty much ran in front of oncoming traffic at the lights to get a picture of it - I was so excited to see it in the flesh!

Photos courtesy of Instagram

Photos courtesy of Instagram

Click here to view more work by Irene