Interviewed by Lucy A.Edwards on behalf of The Moniker Foundation
Moniker recently sat down with our featured artist for our August print release, the incredibly talented Hilda Palafox to learn more about her work, life and inspirations.
In the urban art world, you are more widely-known as PONI - tell us a little bit about YOUR moniker and where that name came from?
It is the most simple story. When I started to do illustration I opened a blogspot account (remember blogspot?) which I named “Ponitail“ with “i“, because the correct way to write it was already taken as a username. After that, my friends started to call me Poni. And when I began to do mural works I thought this was a cool and short name to sign.
You seem to so easily glide between illustration, ceramic and mural mediums - do you have a favourite to work in?
Drawing and painting will always be my favourite thing to do, it’s where everything else comes from. But I really enjoy all of them, each one is magical in its own right. And it’s always nice to work outdoors... sometimes.
You were born in Mexico City, are you still based there? Tell us a little more speaking of your hometown, we read (and whole-heartedly agree) somewhere that you've been penned as "one of the most important female artists" in your country - how does it feel when you read things like that about yourself?
Oh, thanks. Yes, born and raised in Mexico City, and still based here. I can’t imagine being anywhere else at the moment. As far as being “one of the most important female artists” in Mexico, I don’t know about that… haha. I try not to get caught up in or distracted by those kinds of statements. I am very grateful to whoever said that but I don’t consider myself better than any other artist. More known, maybe? There is a lot of talent here which is very cool because it always pushes you to be better.
You have an impressive list of exhibitions and projects under your belt - be it in Denver, Madrid, Tokyo, Montreal, San Pancho on the Pacific coast, Mexico City, or solo shows in Japan or Querétaro (Mexico), installations of murals, brand collaborations, group exhibits, and Miami Art Basel week (!!!) - what has been your favourite experience to date? Whether it was a mural, a particular illustration, a private commission - what has been your favourite memory of your career so far?
That is so hard to say! I have really enjoyed every project so far, even the most challenging ones. There is always something to learn from every experience. But I think that my artistic residency in Japan is one of the closest to my heart. I learned a lot, especially about what direction I wanted my work to take and it expanded my vision on so many levels.
Following on from that, we would love to hear more about your work in your own words - please tell us more about your characters and the changes you and them have been through over the years?
My work has definitely grown and evolved with me. At the beginning, I didn’t ask myself a lot of questions about how I wanted people to perceive my work, I did not care that much. I did it for myself. But now it’s different, I want my work to be relatable, for people to connect with the images they see, the emotions and situations behind them and associate them with their own lives and experiences. And at the same time I want to pay tribute to where I come from, the colours, concepts, traditions, shapes and textures. I love making subtle analogies of everyday life.
Being born in Mexico City, we are assuming that the art that has surrounded you from "Day 1" still inspires and influences you today? Tell us a little more about your influences
Well yes, of course. Although now it’s a renewed and strengthened admiration. I feel very inspired by Mexican and Latin American art in general, like Carlos Mérida, Geles Cabrera, Tarsila do Amaral, just to mention a few.
It's clear to see the feminist or feminine empowerment in your work - are you hoping to achieve something in-particular? What's your message?
I don’t believe I’m trying to achieve anything in particular, I am just portraying womanhood. Even though I like these characters to be timeless, I believe my work itself inevitably speaks about this particular time in which women want to be recognised for the place we occupy in this world, physically, intellectually and emotionally.
Let's hear more about the print you are releasing with Moniker Editions? Why this design?
When they told me that part of the sale proceeds would be donated to a charity, I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I wanted to do something that would be associated with the charity I chose. The print is about Mother Nature guarding and protecting life.
Hahnemuhle German etching 310GSM paper
15 x 15 inches
On sale from 15th - 21st of August 2021
Signed and numbered by the artist
As always with the Moniker Editions programme, our artists select a charity of their choice to donate to out of the sales proceeds - tell us more about your charity of choice and why you chose to donate to them?
It was so difficult to just choose one, since there are so many worthy causes. I decided on Naturalia A.C. (Comité para la Conservación de Especies Silvestres A.C), a Mexican organisation founded in 1990, that is fully committed to the conservation of ecosystems and species of Mexico through reserves, reforestation and border projects.
If you have any upcoming shows or projects that you would like to share with our readers - please list below:
In October I have a solo show with Thinkspace in Los Angeles and another one next year with Hashimoto Contemporary in NYC.
Follow Hilda on Instagram: