The Zoo of Love is an illustrated book for adults by Gortahork artist Maria Gasol

A talented artist she sees titles and stories in nature and in life

The Zoo of Love is an illustrated book for adults where each animal represents a type of lover or romantic relationship.
This the first book to have been written by Maria Gasol who is well- known for her wonderful portraits and art work. She feels this book will not be her last so we can expect more: “I’ve been writing and drawing since I was very little, devising stories and characters. I studied Film and Media and specialised in script development precisely because I’m very drawn to storytelling.
“In my twenties I started writing short stories and I won several small literary awards back home in Catalonia. But life got busy, especially with kids, and living in Ireland meant that I was less in touch with my mother tongue, so I kind of stopped. No time for all my passions, and art took a front seat role. But I kept imagining stories and writing down ideas,” she said.
Maria has lived in Gortahork for sixteen years and is married to John who fully supports her in all her endeavors. John and Maria have two children Liam, 9, and Nora, 6, who are her biggest-ever fans.
One day as she went about her day, she found herself comparing an animal to a relationship or a partner and her book was born.
“I love metaphors and I’m wired like this, plus I find wildlife fascinating. So I kept going. And it grew from there. I started visualizing more similarities and making notes and sketches.”
The talented mother and artist said if you read the book you would find that it makes a lot of sense. The book has a fascinating title: “If you read the book you’ll realize the title makes a lot of sense. And I love titles! I used to have lists of titles that I came up with, but the stories were never written. The illustrations are the primary part of the book. But to understand the meaning of each animal and metaphor, you need the text. They complement each other.”
The book which is fifty-two pages long was printed in Spain, near Barcelona - Maria’s hometown. Half of the copies are there and the other half have been shipped to Ireland: “ It has been made possible through a very successful crowd-funding campaign,” Maria said. You can purchase the book from Maria by sending her an email at or by sending a friend request to her Facebook page Maria Gasol Artist.
The book will be sold in shops in Gweedore and Dunfanaghy, and in Letterkenny, in time.
Maria says the book could make a really good Christmas present this year, she said: “It’s vibrant, unusual and quirky. So if that’s your thing, yes.”
Maria is both an artist and a translator. At present she is working towards an exhibition based on the the theme of Motherhood. The exhibition is supported by Ealáin na Gaeltachta.
People can contact Maria in relation to commission pieces. Maria enjoys painting portraits of people and this can, at times, be the ideal gift.

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