Poster Art: Mara Piccione’s Anthropomorphism

Netherlands-based artist Mara Piccione explores love, childhood, nightmares, sadness, mental illness, and the “beauty of it all” in her silk-screened, music-centered work. In addition to her themes of of human/animal hybrids, this blend of features depicts expressions that “make is possible for a character to be sweet, sad, and weird at the same time.”

Piccione’s career began with regular visits to international pop club Vera while attending art school in Groningen, The Netherlands. “Working at this club also got me in touch with bands and other venues that wanted me to do artwork for them,” she says. “Somehow, making artwork for music has become my daily work.”

While creating posters for the venue, Piccione was introduced to new techniques such as offset printing and silk screening, further enhancing her design process. “I use a combination of pen and pencil drawings, cutting shapes out of paper and a computer to put it all together and change some things around,” she explains.

The images are then personally screen printed or offset. The results are eye-catching images defined by dramatic coloring and vivid type.

Piccione’s portfolio also includes record design, branding bands with visually stimulating illustrations. The creative dynamic entails capturing the band’s vibe without being literal. “You would think that making a whole band happy with a design would be more of a challenge because of all the different personalities — but no, surprisingly not,” she says.

This is where her trademark hybrid comes in. Several works feature bodies of birds, felines, and deer with a human face, exemplified in her logo of a four-legged, moustache-sporting creature. The graphic creations can suggest a child-like playfulness as well as something sinister, evoking mixed emotions.

“My work is never about a specific person, but more about uncomfortable human stuff,” Piccione says. “I don’t think I’m a deer when watching a Built to Spill show.”

– Liza Rush

Poster Art is a biweekly column about today’s independent poster art and the artists who create it.

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