Marlene Juliane is an illustrator based in Cologne, Germany. Her collection of work is a response to the lack of diversity and the constant bombardment of “perfect” body standards found both on and offline. Marlene’s illustrations promote body positivity by harnessing realistic and relatable versions of what all human beings really are – fuzzy, fleshy, and beautiful in their own way.
KALTBLUT: Tell us about your creative background – when did you first start illustrating/what really pushed you to do so?
Marlene: I’ve always been drawing and it was always about human faces and bodies. About 1,5 years ago I’ve got myself a drawing pad, as I wanted to experiment with a new medium. I liked it because it gave me so many new creative options and I’ve found out that digital illustrating is my most liked technique.
KALTBLUT: Are your illustrations inspired by personal experiences or of friends/scenarios you know of?
Marlene: The majority of my inspiration I draw are from situations and feelings I experience in my every-day life, but often it’s also about stories of my friends. Often I use photographs I’ve taken of my friends or selfies they took as a template.
KALTBLUT: What is the message you want to get across to viewers of your work? And why is it important to spread this news?
Marlene: I like to experiment with different body types and different types of female appearance. I think it’s a good thing to show women and men a wider and more diverse range of beauty and to not make it seem that there is this one certain look. I, for myself, find it boring to look at a stereotypical image of “perfect“ and kind of “unreal“ beauty, because I‘ve simply seen it too often. I find it rather curious when people tell me they see something unusual or even brave in my pictures because the women are depicted with – for example – hairy legs, something that is actually pretty normal, but feels strange to some viewers because it differs from the image of women we are used to seeing.
KALTBLUT: Have you found that your work has been responded to in a positive way? What has been the best reaction that you’ve received so far?
Marlene: Yes, I‘ve received really kind reactions to it, which means much to me. At first, I was really insecure about sharing my stuff, but those positive responses helped me. I think it‘s often the reactions of people you really like that feel the best, I guess it‘s the same for me.
KALTBLUT: Have you found any other work/artists to be really inspiring currently?
Marlene: Right now I really like to follow the art accounts of @franceswaite (https://www.instagram.com/franceswaite/?hl=en) and @chloewise_ (https://www.instagram.com/chloewise_/?hl=en) on Instagram and the music of Krakow loves Adana (https://krakowlovesadana.bandcamp.com/) is really inspiring to me.
KALTBLUT: What is your ultimate goal?
Marlene: Wow, that‘s a really tough question. I guess I don‘t have the ultimate answer to that question yet. But it makes me really happy to get positives responses and appreciation on my work and to get recognised on social media and increase my reach. Would be pretty nice to get more opportunities to share my art and to get commissions etc. because drawing is the thing I like and it would be great to get it on the next level in the future.