Gina Mei
Updated February 12, 2015

Our love for Maritza Lugo goes way back (I mean, have you seen her incredible Illustrated Tweet of the Day column?!). The New York-based artist and illustrator is queen of bold, colorful, pop culture-influenced portraiture, and we just can’t get enough—her work is totally badass! She has just what you need to fulfill your #TBT needs, but we love her stuff every day of the week.

Find out more about Maritza and her art below, and check out her illustrated tweets and other amazing work with HelloGiggles right here.

No pressure, but describe your art: My work would be best described as tributes to my love for pop culture.

What inspires you to make things: When I do get inspired by things, I’d have to say music and film. I’m a huge film geek, so I’m drawn to the emotion in scenes. But a lot of my work is done out of a hunger to create. I get an idea and just go. My drawings are born from an actual will to create them. They need to breathe, and when I draw, I give them life.

Your favorite thing(s) to draw: The majority of my artwork is women. The hair, detail, and faces are so much fun to play with.

Medium of choice: As of late, I have been working on these incredible wood panels/canvases that were gifted to me by a friend. I primarily work digitally on an art tablet and use Sketchbook Pro. My favorite medium would have to be plain paper, pencil, and ink.

The first time you knew you wanted to be an artist: I destroyed my mother’s high school portrait when I was a kid by drawing all over it. To this day, her photo is still covered with a fake mouth and large eyelashes. Oh, and blush. I think that solidified it for me.

Proudest achievement so far: I haven’t yet reached my ultimate career goals, but I’m proud of every single piece of work I’ve created and every achievement I have hit along the way. Each one has been just as important as the last and they’ve helped me get to where I’m going.

Music you listen to while you work: I need music to work and draw. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop, especially anything with Drake or made by DJ Mustard. Usually, I love listening to Lana Del Rey and Marina and the Diamonds. They’re my favorite.

Your most prized possession: My most cherished worldly possession switches between two electronic items: my iPhone and my Macbook Pro. If there were a fire, these are the things I would save.

Your personal hero: I love Amy Poehler so much. She is most definitely a hero of mine. Her autobiography, Yes, Please, became my bible. Zooey Deschanel is another hero. She is outspoken and honest about feminism and I respect that to the max. Kanye West is a hero. I think Andy Warhol would have worshipped him.

The last thing to make you giggle: A brainstorming session with my best friend over logo ideas.

Current project(s): I am in the midst of creating my first art book about a badass girl gang, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m also gearing up for 2015’s Valentines. I make a new set of Valentines every year. Last year, they were featured on I’ll also be expanding my store/Society6. I fully plan on having a lot more products for sale, like stickers and buttons.

For more of Maritza’s work, check out her website, Society 6, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!