Monday, 29 July 2013

Comic Book Pin Up

When Pin Up meets Comic Books - Maria Danalakis

At Pinupzania we obviously love all things vintage or retro pin up but we also love comic book culture, so finding an amazing artist whose work combines a classic pin up feel with a strong comic book/cartoon/pop culture twist wasn't something we could ignore.

Maria Danalakis is an illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York, where she was born and raised. When she isn't drawing cute pin ups, she is a graphic artist for a children's clothing company. She also loves going to museums, checking out burlesque shows and hanging out in Coney Island.

We asked her a few questions on how she got started and on her love of pin up and comic book culture and this is what she said:

I have always loved art and going to museums and pouring over art and design books, but I didn't really start getting serious about art until my first year in college. I took one art class and was hooked and knew that I wanted to pursue art as more than just a hobby. So I applied and got accepted to the School of Visual Arts in NYC and graduated with a degree in illustration. Learning with some of the world’s top illustrators and artists changed the way I viewed and made art.  At the time I was doing a lot of realistic style oil paintings and drawings but was still was not sure what direction I wanted to go in with my work. After graduating, I stared working on children’s graphics, which inspired me to be more experimental with my work and to let myself have more fun with it, so I started to work with new techniques that truly expressed my interest in pin up, cartoons, comics, pop culture and fashion a lot more than my realistic style allowed me to before.

I often wonder what is it about pin up art that really resonates with me, and it’s kind of difficult to come up with one simple answer! Ever since I discovered the art of Gil Elvgren during my first year at SVA, I wanted to know more about this subversive style that existed in such a seemingly wholesome time period. I delved deeper and learned more about female politics and sexuality of the 40s and 50s. Pin up art also led me to discover todays thriving pin up and burlesque scene, which I also really love. The women (and men) who participate in burlesque today are doing what they love for themselves and by themselves. It’s very liberating to watch these confident artists with no inhibitions.

In 2010 I joined an artists collective called Girls Drawing Girls and got the chance to participate in conventions for the very first time. I was so excited to be part of a group of female artists who were making a name for themselves in the very male dominated world of comics. My first convention with GDG was New York Comic Con  and it was thrilling to be part of all that energy and excitement and to get such good feedback from people looking at my work, both artists and fans.  I think that is what I like most about conventions, all of the energy going around, and its always so refreshing to see so many people with such genuine passion expressing it freely. Having all of that artistic and literary talent under one roof is also very motivating for me as an artist.

My ultimate combination of pin up and superheroine would be Bettie Page and Barbara Gordon Batgirl. I chose Bettie Page for her fearless confidence and charm, and Barbara Gordon for her incredible intelligence, courage and strength.

Here is a selection of Maria's wonderful work:

You can see more of Maria's work at

Go and take a look, it's amazing!!

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