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Meet Maria Loor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Loor.

Hi Maria, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
From Guayaquil to Los Angeles — I have been very blessed to be able to do and work on what I love all my life. I was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador and I always dreamed of being an artist or commercial artist, since when I was younger the word “graphic designer” was not as popular as it is today. When I was still in school, I took my lab science drawings and some other illustrations and applied to JWT but when I showed my portfolio, they were not interested. Luckily, a year after I graduated from high school I was studying programming and taking oil painting lessons, a friend called me and said “they need someone who can draw fast at JWT” so I ran and took the job as “bocetista” — and the rest is history. I was promoted to art director and started attending design school at night. After five years, I decided it was time for a change, so I prepared my portfolio and interviewed at another ad agency. One day, my portfolio was lying on the dinner table and my uncle was visiting, he was very impressed with it and told me if I decided to study design abroad he will help me.

So I started looking for schools and applied to RISD, where I graduated with honors with a Graphic design degree. — Thanks Mom! This gave me the opportunity to work in New York at a couple of design studios. Again, after a couple of years in NY I decided to come back to my hometown to open my own design studio and was also offered a Director role at the school of Communication for the Graphic Design Department. These were very creative and busy times in my life. Got married, had kids, started exhibiting my art and traveled and lived in different cities around the world where I was more focused on my fine artwork and was able to exhibit in Buenos Aires, London, Florence and Miami. The past 14 years, I have lived happily in beautiful sunny Miami where I raised my two boys, worked at a printing company and had my fine arts and design studio and freelance practice at home. When I turned 50 and felt that my life was pretty awesome, the universe sent me a beautiful gift. I reconnected with the love of my life (who I had stopped seeing 30 years ago) and after a couple of years dating, we decided to move together.

So this past summer 2020 — in the middle of the pandemic — I packed my things, sold my house and moved my things and my home studio to beautiful Mt Washington in Los Angeles where now we create, draw, print, garden and cook with our two dogs (Rocco and Lola), two cats (Chihiro and Sputt) and my two sons who are temporarily living with us during the pandemic — and that is a full house! 🙂

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
During the times I lived in Miami as a single mom and the boys were younger, they required more attention from me, like getting them ready for school, lunch boxes, homework, extracurricular activities – I had a lot on my plate and very little time to do art or create. I was working at a printing company all day, so I will pick them up at the end of the day – very, very tired. Also, money was not flowing and I had to work on freelance work over the weekends. But thank God I had the extra work! no complaints 🙂 — it was just exhausting sometimes. On the other hand now when I remember those days, I think “wow, I did it! with lots of help from family, friends and God’s of course…. you just need to take it with patience, there is a time for everything.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a graphic designer, illustrator, fine artist and Creative Director, that wears many hats, working solo or within a team. I am a very versatile and prolific in what I do and always like to learn new techniques and experimentation, but if I have to pick one word to describe me, will be “dibujante” – that is a word in Spanish, for a person who draws. – I just love to draw and could do that for the rest of my life, every single day. As a graphic designer and Art Director, I love to design logos, packaging and posters. There you can see the influence of my illustration and fine arts background. I believe people always remember me for my illustration style, which has a folksy flavor and a very strong Latin/Hispanic influence: the faces, nature and flowy organic elements… I am very proud when my work was showcased in the first Latin American Graphic design book by TASCHEN – it was such an honor to be part of that book with so many Latin American designers and creatives that I admire and respect.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Stay humble, be curious and don’t be afraid to ask for help, always accept the help and be grateful to those who helped you along the way. Listen, work hard – but don’t forget to have fun… and don’t ever ever give up.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Gilda Zevallos

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