The Surreal World of Cristina Daura

Illustrator Cristina Daura grew up steps away from an amusement park. A trail led straight from her house to the top of Barcelona’s Tibidabo mountain, where a large church looms over a colorful theme park full of twinkly lights, charming roller coasters, creepy vintage animatronics, and sweet-smelling air. Daura’s family held an annual pass, so she could pop in any time. Today, the artist’s playful but dark illustrations are clearly inspired by the kitsch, the bright colors, and her memories of this extraordinary place.  

A bit of an outcast when she was younger, Daura found her community at comic book stores. Always with a sketchbook in hand, she thought she wanted to design comic books for a living. When she found out that illustration work paid better, she switched gears—but she continues to take inspiration from the way comics tell a story.  

Daura also uses symbols and an intentionally limited color palette to communicate, with many symbols repeated in multiple works. With the symbols, Daura has created her own representational language—and because she doesn’t like to explain her work, the viewer is left to interpret meaning on their own.  

it’s important for Daura to make time for friends and a social life—because it’s also from those experiences that she draws inspiration. She learned early in her career that her time is precious, so she chooses projects very carefully. These days, she’s busy collaborating with musicians on album covers, working with brands, and illustrating for books, posters, night clubs, and newspapers and other publications. Her clients and collaborators come to her for her very specific surreal style, but she’s always pushing herself to try new things.  

Drawing in her sketchbook is still her happy place. She says about drawing, “If I didn’t do it, I think I would be dead. For me, drawing is something inside me that keeps me going.”

We spent a few days with Daura in Barcelona. Check out the video below.  

Executive creative director: Dan Cowles, Adobe

Executive producer / writer: Summer Wilson, Adobe

Director and cinematographer: Colin Mcauliffe, 01 Productions

Producer: Clark Todd, 01 Productions

Assistant camera: Dean Snodgrass

Production manager / Barcelona fixer: Laura Vidiella

Production assistant / driver: Dani Galvan

Sound technician: Diego Casares

Makeup: Marta Prats

Editor: Julien De Benedictis

Colorist: Ibon Olaskoaga

Post sound mix: Temp Love