Irma Gruenholz's clay illustrations have incredible emotional depth

Sculpted in clay, this illustrator's striking new works are imbued with humanity.


Though we're called Digital Arts, we are partial to more traditional forms of art and design – like these delightful new clay illustrations by Irma Gruenholz.

There's a real, well, 'realness' to them – which comes not only from that they are crafted in clay, but also that they're lit and photographed to make them appear much larger than they are, almost life-sized.

We've previously enjoyed Irma's work (check out her past collections later in the article), so it's a pleasure to be reminded of her character's beautifully crafted expressions, their humanness, despite their strangeness, and her knack for capturing the quiet, relatable moments in daily life.

More excitingly, though, Irma has done some remoulding in this collection (beyond kneading clay, that is): crisscrossing threads trap the characters. Along with this new material are new emotions. Even though the pair are completely still in this work (shown), the sadness, desperation and hope in their figures and expressions is so tangible that we will their hands to touch. 

Irma is based in Madrid and has worked for clients including Coca Cola, Mercedes Benz, Hachette Filipacchi and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals.


Irma careful consideration in placing the threads creates some truly striking emotions. 

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You can see more of Irma's work on her website or on Behance.


Irma has also shared some work-in-progress shots. 


The work-in-progress shots really show the scale of the figures. It's very hard to tell in the photographs themselves, where they look life-size. 

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In Irma's 2015 collection (shown from here, onwards), the posing and expressions of her characters also bring to life a stillness that can blissful, serene or a moment of concentration – though this collection doesn't have have any of the humour or extreme emotions of some of her previous works.

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Again, Irma released behind-the-scenes shots for her 2015 collection. 


Most show how intricate her work is, but this one has a bit of fun with the idea of her creative process.

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