Words Stefania Tejada
Did you always want to be an artist?
Yes, I did. My aunt was an art restorer and she used to take me with her to her studio. I grew up surrounded by acrylics and brushes. I just didn’t exactly know what kind of artist to be. I used to think I would become a restorer too, then a professional realistic portraitist and now a fashion illustrator. The cool thing with being a fashion illustrator is that I can also draw and paint. This is what I love about this work: I don’t have to fossilize on a single style; I can do whatever my mind suggests me.
How did you start doing what you love?
I don’t even know how I started to do what I do mostly because I’ve always been involved with artistic hobbies. I’ve attended an art school and scenography section. So I’ve started drawing and painting and getting my hands dirty with glue, pigments and materials. I’ve always known that scenography wouldn’t be my job in the future, but it taught me so many techniques and tricks, which I currently use in my illustrations.
Do you feel impressed by the concept of fame?
Fame is something that I don’t really think about right now. I just want to do my stuff, give it to the world and if it’s really worth something, things will come naturally. Right now my personal fame is to feel the excitement in photographer’s e-mails and in people’s comments about my works.
Where does the desire of creating something come from?
I have the constant desire of creating something. I don’t know where it comes from, but I always need to experiment, to cut, and to see magazines to get inspired. For example, the other day, I was in my grandma’s kitchen and I saw two jar caps with ‘tomato sauce’ written on them, in a bad and quick calligraphy. They were upside down and they immediately caught my attention: those graphic signs were so beautiful and interesting. I scanned them and I have them in my pc. I’m sure I’m going to use them in one of my projects.
When did the connection between illustration and fashion begin?
It really started from nothing. I’ve always been attracted by female beauty and that’s why I used to draw female model portraits. But then this passion for the black and white realistic drawings started to shock me. I wanted to throw paint at the paper, making strange effects with materials and exploring how I could incorporate the things that surround me in my works. So I start to digitally paint over model’s photo-shoots. And suddenly it becomes my favorite thing to do.
What do you find so passionate about fashion?
The cool fact about me as a fashion illustrator is that I’m not obsessed with it. I used to be a tomboy. Now I go around with skinny jeans and a basic black t-shirt all the time. But I love to see fashion happen all around me. The most fascinating thing to me is that it can combine opposite worlds creating something unique and incredibly beautiful. If you look closely, you can do the exact same thing with a collage.
In your opinion, what are the 3 most meaningful collections of this season?
These are my favourites: ‘Viva la Mamma’ - Dolce&Gabbana, A.F. Vandevorst AW1516, Versace AW1516.
How did you start doing collages?
I started doing collages because of a school project. We had to create a magazine, nothing fashion related, though. I decided to work on the advertisements but I didn’t want to copy and paste existing ones, I wanted to create them. So I decided to make an artistic work for Italian Sisley’s collection using magazine pieces. It turned out to be a collage and it turned out to be one of my favourite techniques. I posted it on Instagram and the creative director of Sisley actually liked it and shared it. I was blown away.
What are the main ingredients for a good collage?
For me, when I finish a collage, I imagine it to be in a magazine and I imagine people leafing through it. I start wondering if they would quickly turn the page or if they would stop. Well, if I suppose they will stop to look at it, I save it.
Where do your influences originate?
It all happened casually when I came across a Miley Cyrus film called ‘Tied Tongue’ by Quentin Jones. It literally left me speechless. It is still the most beautiful, weirdest and wildest thing I’ve ever seen. I started to search about this illustrator and filmmaker and I totally fell in love with her. I remember looking at her works and thinking: I want to do that.
What do you think you can communicate through art?
I think this is a wonderful awareness. I want to create something that people stop by when they see it in magazines or Instagram or wherever my works are. We live in such a frenetic world and it’s getting harder to catch people's attention. I want to do that with my visuals and my ideas.
How would you describe your aesthetics?
I don’t think I have some precise conception for my aesthetics. But the way, in my artworks, you will notice that I don’t touch model’s faces too much. I don’t like to ruin a girl’s beauty with my things. I always try to respect that.
What techniques do you use in the development of your work?
I basically use everything to create my artworks. The scanner is my new best friend. I scan textiles, stones, plastics (...) and whatever I see that catches my attention. A couple of days ago, late at night, I had this idea of embroiding paper. I’m actually trying this out.
What are some of the tunes you listen to when you are working?
Italian rap music, all the time.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a super cool project for a fashion magazine. There’s a lot of collage, A LOT.
How do you select which elements go in your work?
Every picture that I work on suggests me something. So I just start cutting it and paste pieces around, moving and rotating them. Then I decide which elements I can add to it (paintings, drawings, scanned things). It is something that really comes naturally to me. I love the fact that often I get the best results making mistakes. I love being surprised by my mistakes.
Who would you like to work with?
As I previously said, I would die to work with Quentin Jones because she’s my muse. Then I would like to work on a fashion advert campaign. Right now, I would love to work with Sisley, they’re doing a GREAT job here in Italy and it totally fits my style.
Do you take the weekends off or do you continue working?
Usually I keep working. Not really the whole weekend though.
What is the key to success?
Since I don’t think I can be defined as a successful artist right now, I don’t know. But I think passion and awareness of ourselves are two of the main ingredients. ‘It’s ok to be you’ is something that I always have to remind myself.
Would you name 3 artists we should know about?
Ernesto Artillo, Prince Lauder and Damien Blottiere.
How would you describe yourself?
Taciturn, quirky, outspoken.
Tell us about your creative process.
I have two ways to create something. The first is when I see a cool material or I want to try a technique I expressly search for photos that would fit my plans. But when a photographer requests my collaboration, I always wait for the pictures and see what they suggest me. Generally the first thing I do is to cut out the background. Then, I’m ready to work.
Tell us about the art scene in Spoleto.
Spoleto is known throughout the world for the Festival of Two World. It’s full of cultural events. But, unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about fashion.
Do you believe in destiny?
Of course I do.
What is the most scandalous experience you have lived?
I am such a quiet girl with a really quiet life. So I would define my most scandalous experience that time I was at a really traditional wedding and I walked through the room with an elegant outfit and Converse. Everyone looked shocked. I think they looked at my sneakers like a scandalous choice.
Do you think there’s a relation between music and art?
There’s a relation between all the types of arts, of course.