Irma Gruenholz

by Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Madrid is her base for balancing sculpting, painting, lighting, and photography, creating portraits and still-lifes that could easily be mistaken for 2D images, but definitely they’re not. Irma Gruenholz produces photo-based, photo-realist illustrations that have a lush, painterly feel. In translating images from sculpting to illustration, Irma heightens contrast, and most importantly, blurs the imagery, creating the impression that the camera slipped on a different level. These works have a dreamy, romantic feel. This may also be interpreted as nostalgia, as the illustrations demonstrate the depletion of information and memory over time.



The images are clearly based on photographs, which remain our culture’s standard for “truth”, but they seem on the verge of dissolution, as if they are being erased before our eyes. Irma’s artworks depict images of their cells, their pre-prison personas, and their corpses, projecting a sense of mystery about who these figures were, why they did waht they did, and how they get there.




Gruenholz uses a quasi-photographic mode to address the visual and psychological disappearence of information. She bases her muted, awkwardly brushed illustrations on sculptures that appear banal untile one learns about their potent histories. In the silence of figures  Irma can find the thread that guides us through her images, it is clear the balancing effort, the predicament of those who find themselves halfway between matter and what we commonly consider harmless. It ‘a different point of view, we have to flatten the image, it is the viewer who is forced to distort an image to understand it.




Shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards 2016, London

Selected for Illustration Annual No. 13, 3×3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration

Awarded with a Gold Medal in 58th Society of Illustrators Exhibition, New York

Selected for the 57th Society of Illustrators Exhibition, New York

Selected for the 56th Society of Illustrators Exhibition, New York

Awarded with one of Special Prize in Nami Island International Illustration Concours, South Korea 2013

Selected for Illustration Annual No. 12, 3×3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration

Selected for 3 x 3 Illustration Directory 2012

Selected for Lürzers’s Archive 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 2011

Selected for Illustration Annual No. 8, 3×3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration



Clients Include:

Ruiz Nicoli, Young & Rubicam, TBWA, McCann-Erickson, FCB NY, Shackleton, Contrapunto BBDO, Coca Cola, Aurum Films, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, President’s Choice, BBVA, Mercedes Benz, Hachette Filipacchi, Stern Grove Festival of San Francisco, ONCE, Cuatro TV, Imaginarium, Seix Barral, SM, Zoolibri, Wonders, Fournier.

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