With a penchant for self-portraiture (often depicting herself as an anthropomorphic fox), Paula Bonet’s illustrations are at once realistic and fantastical. Bonet, who declares herself “quite radical,” creates with a stream-of-consciousness that comes through in the fluidity of her drawings that combine bold line work with splashes of vibrant color, especially to highlight the cheeks of her subjects. Whimsical is not a word that describes the universe conjured by Bonet, however, there is a certain amount of whimsy in the works. It is almost as if the artist is daring the viewer to try to put her in a box, to neatly categorize and catalogue her pieces, an impossible task – and one that is better left for more obvious oeuvres.
Rather than being confrontational, Bonet’s depictions of herself and others – including delicately rendered birds – have an approachable vulnerability. But don’t be fooled by the emotional accessibility for it belies a strength, and perhaps a certain steeliness, that buoys her drawings and lends a certain narrative that might say, “I open myself, but I won’t be used – unless I want to be.” Indeed, Bonet utilizes texts (her own and others) in many of her drawings as a complimentary visual component drawn in a distinctive style that adds richness and depth.
Bonet’s illustrations have been featured in group exhibitions, solo shows, public art installations, children’s books and businesses such as clothing boutiques internationally. This dynamic illustrator from Valencia appears to have many stories to tell, and it will be interesting to watch as her story plays out.