“Oh, that’s a good question!” says artist Marcella Diaz (known as Pilla), when asked what part The Little Big Markets have played in her and partner Leandro (Lea) Baud’s business in the Bay.

Drawing the Way

“Oh, that’s a good question!” says artist Marcella Diaz (known as Pilla), when asked what part The Little Big Markets have played in her and partner Leandro (Lea) Baud’s business in the Bay.

“We arrived in New Zealand nine years ago [Pilla is Colombian, Lea Argentinian], and at the end of 2020 we came to Tauranga to visit a friend. We went to the markets and we fell so in love with it that we decided to move here. We were looking for a place to sell our prints and the markets were exactly what we were looking for.

“This was the best move we ever made,” says Pilla. “When we moved here we both had day jobs and Drawing the Way was our side hustle, but around mid-last year we both started working full time on it, and it would never have been possible if the market didn’t exist. Here we have the chance to talk directly with our clients, we get feedback, we can try new things.”

The couple’s main goal with Drawing the Way, which specialises in illustrated maps, is “to bring a bit of joy into people’s lives,” says Pilla. “That’s what we want to share. Our artwork is always loose, playful and colourful, and we really want to put a smile on people’s faces.

“We both have very different styles. Lea is very detailed in his drawings, he enjoys exploring space and he likes his drawings to be close to reality — with some artistic licence, obviously. With mine, it’s more a feeling of the place. I like clumsiness and lots of colours. But we both love bringing the personality of a town into a piece of art.”

The creative duo are grateful both to live at the Mount and in New Zealand (“there is an endless source of inspiration — just a long walk at the beach has so many things we want to paint — sounds cheesy but is true”), and Pilla says that while their illustrations of the Mount, their unique Tauranga map and a new one featuring a sunset surf are the most popular offerings, they’re always working on new art prints, and welcome commissions.

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