Every month Pony Club will be showcasing artists that are affiliated with the gallery. To begin, we interviewed Portland artist Maryanna Hoggatt.

Maryanna is a painter, cartoonist, illustrator and sculptor.
She was born in the Philippines, raised in Arizona and now lives in Portland Oregon. Wife to graphic designer Jake Hollomon and mother to feline son Theodore. In 2013 Maryanna became a full-time freelance illustrator. She is the creator of the autobiographical comic Adult babysitting which depicts her life in the industry of bartending. Her current focus is on her Animal Battle creations and she is currently preparing for an upcoming show at Hellion Gallery in August 2014. Maryanna has worked with clients including Willamette Week, Nike, Microsoft and Amazon and has also exhibited her work in many places around Portland.

How long have you been a professional illustrator?

I’ve been taking money for my drawings since I was a kid, but let’s say since about 2008.  I’ve been full-time freelance for the last year.

What media do you work in and what attracts you to working with these tools?

I’ve become familiar with many mediums - oils, acrylics, charcoal, digital illustration, watercolors - and each have had a phase.  The medium of the moment is clay.  I never know how long a phase will last or when I will return to it.

What are your favorite brands/tools of the trade?

I can’t say I’m loyal to any one brand.  If I can afford the good stuff, I’ll take it, but I’ve learned to make do with what I’ve got.  Some paints have been in my possession for over a decade.  There are a few staples in my toolbox: a mechanical pencil, a kneaded eraser, a white “Gelly Roll” ink pen by Sakura, Microns, and lots of paint brushes, naturally.  The Kuretake brush pen was a big splurge but worth it, I use it all the time for my lettering.

Can you share your creative process, from the initial concept to the finished product?

I don’t do a lot of prep work.  Usually, an image fully forms in my head, I make a quick drawing in my sketchbook, and then I’ll redraw the image for the final piece onto watercolor paper or Bristol.  Sometimes, if the drawing in the book is really tight, I’ll scan it, print it out, and use my light table to transfer the image.  Personal work is almost always traditional medium.  Client work usually involves digital.

I have had the pleasure of perusing through some of your sketchbooks, they contain wonderful imagery. How much time is spent in your sketchbook working on an image for a final piece?

Just 2 - 15 minutes.  Too much more and some of the magic begins to fade and I’m ready to get started on the final work.

What are some influences and inspirations that have shaped your artwork?

Sure, I have favorite artists and films and I probably know too little about a lot, but I tend to think of life experiences as having a bigger impact on anyone’s work than their artistic influences.  Like, that brief period when I got really good at playing billiards, moving a lot as a kid and then growing stagnant in the desert, that one time when I was a raver and wore too-big pants, not seeing a single firefly since 1993, slogging too many years behind a bar.  I’m always learning: go bigger, and pursue the thing you’re meant to do.

Any current projects that you are working on?
Making sculptures from my Animal Battle series, probably my most favorite project yet.  I have a show coming up this August at Hellion Gallery.

What has inspired you to create your creatures in three dimensional form?

From the beginning of this series, I always thought about seeing these characters move.  I love stop-motion animation and dream of working for feature films, so a lot of my initial research was regarding armatures and puppets, but first I stumbled upon the maquette stage.  I fell head-first into Sculpey figures, and I’m running with it.  Bringing these animals to life in three dimensions has been immensely fun.

There is a common subject matter within your work, so what compels you to produce these creatures?


It’s really simple: the pursuit of dreams.

What do you feel is the main factor that makes a piece of art an illustration?

That’s a good question.  I think I blur that line often.  In terms of client work, I think illustration is used to convey a narrative or sell idea, and is usually used in print or reproduction - children’s books, editorials, comics.  Most of the illustrative work I do is for other people.  Art is the exploration of a concept that can cross many mediums and is a form of self-expression free from any boundaries.  I have no client to answer to but myself.

What’s your spirit animal?

A wolf.A little one.

Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

Are we talking food or ideas? Either way, I consider myself more of a cook.

You can view more of Maryanna’s work here: