Saturday 11 December 2021

Interview with Marina Araújo, Illustrator and Graphic Designer

Creating a variety of illustrations based on strong female characters and dreamy atmospheres as her  form of inspiration 

I had the pleasure to chat with Brazilian artist, Marina Araújo. have learned about her experience in the LGBTQ+ community and how her artwork creates an impact, as well as her love for David Lynch films.

What is your background? What does your work aim to say?

Formally, I have a background in architecture and graphic design. I came to be an illustrator out of curiosity and am self-taught in that matter. Usually, my subject matters are strong female characters and dreamy atmospheres. I try to convey delicacy and imagination in my work to communicate the beauty of diverse bodies and ways of loving and thinking.

How does your work comment on social or political issues?

As a lesbian woman myself, I am interested in depicting LGBTQIA existency(ies) in non-conventional ways, happy ways, dreamy ways, which we do not usually see in the mainstream media.

Who are your biggest influences, and why?

I really admire the surrealist movement's way of materializing complex concepts, feelings, and situations we may have trouble describing in our own heads; I could name René Magritte and Rafal Olbinski as huge influences. I also look for inspiration in other women's works and love what Hilma Af Klint, Beatriz Milhazes (@milhazesbeatriz), Wangechi Mutu (@wangechistudio), Chie Fueki (@chiefueki) and many others have created. As for contemporary fellow artists, I can name Isadora Zeferino (@imzeferino on Instagram), Lois Van Baarle (@loisvb), Paula Cruz (@thepaulacruz), Miles Johnston (@miles_art) and Bao Pham (@baotpham).

Marina gave thoughtful advice for other following artists who are trying to pursue in the creative industry.

How have you developed your career?

Art-wise, I must confess I am still working that out. Since I don't have a formal educational background in arts, most of what I have learned has come out of my own interest and I am currently navigating the industry and working on the early stages of my career.

How do you seek out opportunities?

Mostly online, on social networks (Instagram and Twitter, for the most part, but also LinkedIn and more recently, the-dots) and prospecting new clients in my fields of interest by sending them my portfolio.

How do you navigate the art world?

It depends on my mood, really. I have been recently quite tired of the social network environment, so I'm trying to look for different ways and forms of consuming art. Usually, I watch lots of movies that have kept me inspired throughout my whole life. I also own several artbooks from artists I admire and like to consult them every once in a while, for study.

How do you price your work?

I am very aware of my processes and know precisely where I start and where I will get. So, I usually price based on the amount of time I will take, the complexity of the work, the nature and financial possibilities of the client and how big the exposure and reproduction of the work will be.

How do you cultivate a collector base?

I don't. Haha 

Which current art world trends are you following?

I usually follow the trends from the social networks, so I recently created my first #drawthisinyourstyle event and I always try to participate in friends' events as well. Aesthetically speaking, I don't think I am following any trends at the moment.

What software do you use in your illustrations?

Mostly Adobe Photoshop with a pen tablet, but I also like the creative possibilities of Adobe Illustrator.

What inspires you to incorporate elements of nature and realism in your illustrations?

I love how natural elements can be combined and used in the most diverse ways and to communicate a wide array of feelings and meanings - which is something I really look forward to. My work is not realistic, but I try to make real things and people look recognizable through my own artistic vocabulary. I used to do that a lot harder when I was starting out as an illustration, but since I found and got comfortable with my personal style, I've grown much more interested in working with things that work for me than being 100% faithful to reality.

What is your favourite film of all time, and why?

 Mulholland Drive, by David Lynch. I love it because it has a non-conventional storyline and conveys many different film genres in one; also, the way it depicts the Hollywood dream and plays with the viewer's expectations and feelings really amaze me.

In the words of Naomi Watts as Betty,

“I'd rather be known as a great actress than a movie star. But, you know, sometimes people end up being both.”

After seeing her artwork for the first time, gave me a sense of inspiration to improve my own prescriptive of reality and the art world.

To check out her amazing artwork here is the link to her website and Instagram



Friday 10 December 2021

Interview with Rossana Nicoletti, Conceptual Visual Artist

Capturing a range of euphoric imagery and conceptual photography  

I had the opportunity to talk to Italian visual artist and bilingual poet, Rossana Nicoletti also known as, Ozra Enn. In the interview, they discussed their past that lead to their career in conceptual photography and how they embrace their true self through euphoric imagery.  

What is your background? What does your work aim to say? 

I’ve always been a very imaginative child, and that definitely never changed growing up. I’ve always been attracted by many different forms of art, trying to find an outlet for that little world of fantasy in my head. But I only bumped into photography during my first year at Uni.

I was studying psychology, and I discovered a growing interest in human perception and its subjectivity. Finding out how partial our interpretation of reality can be was definitely eye-opening. And that encouraged me to start a journey of exploration of those things I tend to overlook in everyday life. The lens of my camera basically became the tool for studying new perspectives, pushing my own boundaries. 

The main purpose of my work is to express and make my fantasy visible to the eye. And with that, to constantly question what is real. 

What we perceive is, after all, just a glimpse of reality. A lot comes in the way of our senses and the world around us. It is functional for the human brain to only pick up on a narrowed version of it. And otherwise, we would get overwhelmed by the amount of information in our environment. 

But living in today’s extremely stimulating and fast-paced society ended up limiting our attention span even further. And that doesn’t make us particularly able to gather more information with our senses and to see things under different lights. Most of the time, we end up getting stuck in the narrative of our minds.  

So, my work aims to remind myself and others that reality is much more complex than the way our mind represents it. Nothing of what we believe is objectively true.

How does your work comment on social or political issues? 

I don’t think my work has a direct connection with social or political issues. I’ve always admired those with the ability to do activism through their art. And for some time, I even tried to develop a “higher purpose” for my works. 

It just doesn’t come naturally to me since I tend to be more of an abstract than a practical person. Or at least it is not what feels authentic to me. I’ve always seen art mainly as a form of self-expression. 

This doesn’t mean I will never produce anything with the specific aim of addressing those issues. And most definitely, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care. In fact, I do care a lot, and generally consider myself very aware of the problems affecting the world. I get easily upset by them and sometimes, that kind of awareness can be especially painful if you’re highly sensitive. 

With time, I concluded that art doesn’t necessarily have to be about social or political matters, as extremely important as they are. There are so many other ways we can do something about it. 

Who are your biggest influences, and why? 

I can’t specifically think of names to answer this question, because anything I like artistically becomes a source of inspiration for me. But I do recognise some main influences. 

Above all, I am a big music lover. And I am particularly obsessed with psychedelic and neo-psychedelic genres, and that definitely influences all my works. I’ve always found fascinating the idea of re-creating altered or dream-like states of mind in a song or a piece of art. I love the concept of expanding your universe to infinite possibilities, by simply opening your mind to look deeper or focusing inward.

For similar reasons, any concept related to meditation inspires me as well. But also, any other form of art with a focus on those concepts.

How have you developed your career?

My career as an artist is still in the early stages. But from the moment it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue this path, I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time networking and actively seeking opportunities.

How do you seek out opportunities? 

I mostly navigate the magical world of the internet and social media to do so. If wisely used the web can be an amazing resource. And social media are extremely helpful for people like me, who can be much shyer in person.

This statement really resonated with me by, how I always put barriers up when I am around a crowded environment. However, it does not define the artwork I want to portray for myself and others.

How do you navigate the art world? 

This is a hard one. To be completely honest, I’m still figuring out how to navigate it the right way, or at least the way that works for me. I think it’s an ongoing process and can also get overwhelming. 

Building a career in the creative industry takes a huge amount of your energy. I’ve only recently found out that I need proper time off my camera, every now and then. 

Especially at the early stages, you take care of every single aspect of your career path. And because you care so much about it, you work extra hard and constantly lookout for new opportunities. And if you don’t know when it’s time to stop and rest this will literally burn you out.

In addition to this, I think today it’s especially hard to stand out of the crowd.

The web is a very powerful tool, but it’s also overcrowded with people who are just as talented as you are, and with the equal right to be heard. So, I guess the key is communicating your message to the ones who are interested in it in the most authentic way. And I think it’s also important to never take other people’s success as a sign of your failure, but instead, get inspired by them.

Nicoletti gave insightful information that it is okay to embrace your individuality and people are willing to hear what you are conveying through your artwork, despite the criticism.










Which current art world trends are you following? 

If you’re talking about popular subjects, I am very obsessed with pictures of sunsets or the moon, which I noticed a lot of photographers, at least on Instagram, tend to gravitate towards. 

What software do you use in your photography? 

Photoshop is my go-to editing software. 

 How do you use colour theory to produce immersive artwork? 

I do a lot of colour correction to create the atmosphere I am looking for, but I don’t think much about colour theory when I edit my pictures. 

There’s really nothing technical or theoretical about my works, except for the basis of photography and editing. I much prefer to be guided by emotions when I colour correct. I find it way more interesting.

What inspires you to incorporate elements of nature and urban culture into your photography? 

The idea of exploring my surroundings more deeply. Discovering details, I’ve never noticed before, even when I’ve been in the same place many times. Connecting with and experiencing the everyday world differently and more emotionally. 

To check Rossana’s stunning photography, here is the link to their website and Instagram.  















Tuesday 7 December 2021

Interview with Javie Huxley, Editorial Illustrator at Shado Mag and Gal Dem

 Producing a variety of editorial and cover illustrations referencing political and current events

Over the spring/ summer period, I had the pleasure to have a conversation with editorial illustrator, Javie Huxley who help guide me in my direction in the creative industry as an artist. In the interview, she discusses insight on making a name for yourself in the art world and how she finds inspiration in her illustrations through political and current events.

 What is your background? What does your work aim to say? 

I'm British-Chilean. My work focuses on identity and social justice. I create to celebrate marginalised communities and the people within them.

How does your work comment on social or political issues?

I choose to work on projects with BIPOC communities or that amplify any social or political issues faced by these communities.  

Who are your biggest influences, and why?

My biggest influences tend to be those close to me and the incredible people I meet through grassroots campaigning. 

How have you developed your career? 

I'm self-taught, so it took me a long time to build my confidence in my illustration. Doing a master’s in Children’s Illustration definitely gave me the time and space to focus on my illustration. However, for me, it's more about building relationships and putting the time into projects that match my personal beliefs.

How do you seek out opportunities?

A lot of the time it's through connecting with other artists and organisations. It was so fulfilling for me to find BIPOC communities online with shared experiences, and those connections have felt meaningful. Now, I tend to find most of my opportunities via word of mouth or through social media. 

How do you navigate the art world?

I'm a huge believer in building your own communities outside of institutions, which has helped me navigate the art world and sense of agency as a Latinx woman.  

How do you price your work? 

This is tricky because I know it varies from person to person. I usually charge my day rate where possible because it's usually way more convenient for me. However, you can join for more advice. 

Which current art world trends are you following? 

I try not to get too caught up in trends. I prefer to just get on with the things that feel important to me, otherwise, things can feel quite forced or overwhelming. However, I have enjoyed following digital trends in illustration and experimenting with things such as time-lapses, which has challenged me to try more unique ways to present my work online.

To check out her artwork, here are the links to her website and social media.