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A new season of La Ciudad en Viñetas, a series of exhibitions around comics, has just been inaugurated at Centro Centro. With Madrid as the main theme, participants show a previously unpublished work around the city’s buildings, its people, streets, stories, and so on.

This time around, the exhibition is curated by Ana Galvañ and the star is illustrator María Ramos, who makes comics and children’s books. María found inspiration in her favourite store –and our favourite, too!— at El Rastro: Galaxysaurio, located on Calle Arganzuela which sells second-hand toys. We have interviewed María.

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You are an illustrator but you also do other things as well. Can you tell us a bit about them?
I’m interested in animations and working in a team. I’m used to working alone and when you’re with other people, you learn more. I’m starting a small project with an animator, a series for very small children. It’s going slowly because we’re working on it on our spare time. I hope we can do something with it soon. I’m also interested in education. I wouldn’t mind teaching illustration. I usually do workshops but for children most of the times.

What is your favourite technique?
I don’t have any. I’m more comforable with digital because it’s faster and I usually don’t have a lot of time. I also like felt-tip pens, collage, making dolls with fabrics… It depends on the kind of project I’m working on.

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You do a lot of things for children? What were you like as a child? What were you into?
I was extremely shy. Whenever we had someone visiting, I’d hide in the closet to avoid having to greet them. I was also very curious, as children usually are. I loved going to my grandmother’s storage room. That’s how I discovered the Beatles. I found a cassette in a bag with other cassettes. I think they were my aunt’s. I played in on my Walkman and I loved them immediately! Jesus Christ Superstar was also there, but it took me longer to listen to it because the cover was scary and I thought the music was like the one we were made to sing in school. I loved cartoons. I’d get up early on weekends to watch them because my favourites were on at 7am. I loved Star Wars, smoking chocolate cigars, Mafalda and Mortadelo y Filemón, Petit Suisses, scaring my sister (poor thing), playing with my friends, having meals in the countryside with my family and pretending I was at the steering wheel in my father’s car.

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Tell us about your proposal for La Ciudad en Viñetas. I don’t think I’d come up with a better theme!
It’s inspired by one of my favourite stores at El Rastro, GalaxySaurio, a store selling secondhand toys. The main character is a troll that is cooking a meal for his guest. The food leaves a trace of blood that goes down to the street and she follows it. It’s a nod to the name Rastro, which comes from the blood traces left by the slaughterhouses in the area.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve found at Galaxysaurio.
Wow, that’s a difficult question! Many things. The latest thing I’ve bought is a series of troll pins with different hair colours. I bought them for the exhibition.

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Ok, this is your favourite thing about Madrid, and what about your least favourite thing?
Sometimes I think the city is too chaotic and shabby, but I guess that’s what’s charming about it. It’s like a big cocido, it’s delicious but you always have to be careful.

There are many things happening in Madrid all the time. Could you recommend us an artist, a brand or someone who influences you?
When I arrived in Madrid three years ago, I discovered Fabuloso Combo Espectro and I loved them. They split up some time ago. I recommend the Animall Collective exhibition on show on the same floor as La Ciudad en Viñetas. It features the work of some European contemporary comic and illustration groups.

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What are you working on at the moment? What are your future plans?
I will soon release a children’s comic on Mamut Cómic, a project I’ve enjoyed a lot. Now I’m working on my first long comic and when I finish I will work on a story I came up with while working on the exhibit for La Ciudad en Viñetas. Ghost Car will release something related with the comic I made for Fosfatina 2000. And Fosfatina will soon release HOODO VOODO, a collective comic book that is looking great.

Until when is your exhibit at Centro Centro running?
It will run for three months, until December.

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Follow María’s work on her webtumblr, and instagram.

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