Artist Interview Series: Illustrator & Artist Claudia Guariglia

Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the fifth of the interview instalments is talented artist and illustrator Claudia Guariglia.

1.Explain a little about yourself and what you do?

My name is Claudia and I'm an illustrator living in London. I love all sorts of visual arts, with a thing for photography and drawing, and in the process of getting back into block printing. I'm still trying to make it but hope to start working soon as a freelance artist!

2. Do you have any favourite techniques?

I'd say that what I like the most is painting, but I do mix it up quite a bit. I really like experimenting, so it doesn't matter which technique as long as I'm having fun and colour is involved. As much as I do love working in black and white from time to time, I could not imagine not working in colour.

3. What are your favourite art materials to use?

These days probably gouache. I used to work mainly with markers and watercolours, but I feel like I never really mastered either. Markers in particular remain a bit of a mystery for me, even though I still use them and enjoy them every now and again. I only started using gouache a few months ago; after lusting after it for a while, I finally caved and got myself a basic kit with primary colours and a couple more (white, black, green), and so far I've been really enjoying working with it. I'm still learning, clearly, but I really like how opaque and vibrant the colours can be, but also how versatile these paints are.

4. Do you have a favourite piece of artwork you have made? 

This is a difficult one, as I tend to like my works for about half an hour after I finish them, and that's it, haha.
I quite like this one as it's really simple but I feel like it works really well in general: I like the composition, the colours are pleasing, and I think it's just quite cute. I'm a big fan of really minimal illustrations, I think it's actually really hard to get them right. Also, I've always been a sucker for simple everyday scenes.

5. What's your preferred colour palette?

I love pastel colours, my favourite combo probably being green and pink. Put together a peachy pink and a subdued, minty green, and I'll be happy. I also quite like red and pink, even if it's a palette that I don't use nearly as often as green and pink. In general, I guess I'm quite a girly girl as I really do love pink. Any pastel colours will do, anyway. My tube of white gouache is constantly running low as I literally always mix my colours with lots of white, to create one pastel shade after the other.

6. What influences your work?

A bit of everything, really. I'm mainly inspired by nature and fashion, I would say, as I always had a thing for clothes (even in photography, I've always been the most inspired when I had a pretty new dress for example, as I used to take lots of self portraits). Nature came later, when a few years ago I started loving floral patterns more and more. Then it was actual plants, mainly cacti and succulents, and only in the past year I started not only loving plants and flowers, but also making them a huge part of my creative works. This being said, I really do find inspiration in everything around me. I try to sketch as often as I can, I always have a little sketchbook with me, and as much as there's certain subjects I prefer, I try to vary, looking at what surrounds me, even in relatively boring environments (on the bus, for example). Also, traveling plays a big part too.

7. Could you show us where you work/studio space? 

8. What path did you take to get where you are now?

Well, it's been a fun one. I always liked drawing, and for a (relatively brief) period of my life I thought I wanted to make comics. Knowing this, but not being too sure about it, I decided to study fine art. As much as I did like drawing, I started having a difficult relationship with it, and during my uni years I, weirdly enough, started drawing less and less, focusing more on photography (another old time passion), until I decided that maybe photography was the way to go. Then, roughly one year ago, I picked up drawing again, almost by chance (I started learning calligraphy, and inevitably that led me to drawing again). And here I am,  a wannabe illustrator, feeling weird if I go one day without at least one little doodle.

9. Are there any defining moments in your creative career?

Yes, I'd say so. Probably two main ones, one being when I basically subconsciously quit drawing. I'm still not sure what I was thinking, and I keep asking myself what I was doing if I was not drawing. I mean, yes, I focused on photography, and I would still doodle something every now and again just for fun, but it does feel weird to think I went years almost not drawing at all.
The other defining moment would be when last year I quit my job in a pub. I moved to London a few years ago to "make it" as a photographer, but obviously I had to pay rent in the meantime, so I started working as a waitress, as you do, and got a bit too comfortable. So, after debating it for a while, last year in April I quit my job to officially "follow my dream"... only to realize, I couldn't. I didn't feel qualified enough for any job, I wasn't sure what to do, I panicked and got really scared. Scared that I would be stuck doing a job just to pay the bills for the rest of my life. I still am scared, but that's what keeps me going. Sometimes feeling that fear is the only way, it pushed me to try and figure things out, to work hard, and to believe in my dream. I'm not there yet, but I know I'll keep going.

10.When did you know you wanted to be an artist/illustrator?

As I said, I guess I officially realised only recently. I've always been into art and always knew I wanted to work with it, I just wasn't sure if I wanted to be an illustrator or what. I thought I'd be fine with photography, which I still very much love, but I think there was also a lot of fear of failure playing its part there.

11.What would be a normal day for you?

At the moment I'm still working partime in a pub, so depending on wheter or not I'm off my routine varies a little. In both cases, though, since I'm still working on expanding my portfolio, I'll be spending at least two or three hours of my free time drawing. I constantly write down ideas, I have quite a few projects on going or still in my head, because I get bored easily so I'm constantly mixing things up. On a working day I'd wake up, have breakfast, take it slow for a bit as I'm not exacly a morning person, and then sit at my desk with a cup of tea and figure out how to make the most of my time. Sometimes I'll just sketch out ideas, sometimes I'll work on a finished piece. There's also a lot of taking pictures, checking all of the social media (I try to be as active as I can), and if I'm not feeling great a bit of binge eating, ahah. We all have our down moments, right?
If I have the whole day to myself, I'll literally sit at my desk for 10 hours straight, switching from drawing, to maybe working on a blog post, doing some networking and so on.It can get a bit much, so I'll try to go for a walk/to the gym halfway through the day, as leaving the flat can really help with my mood or just to freshen up my mind.

12.What is your dream project or goal?

I'd like to start working for magazines, but to be honest I'd be happy with a bit of everything. Seeing my illustrations printed in a magazine like Flow, for example, would be great, but I also wouldn't mind making illustrations for products packaging's. I'm a sucker for a nice packaging, I always end up choosing a product over another because maybe it has a nice illustration on it, or a clever design. Also, book covers would kind of be the dream. It was the dream with photography, and it still is when it comes to illustration.

13. Is there any advice you could give to an aspiring artist?

Don't be afraid of doing what you love! I know it all seems scary and hard, and there's nothing wrong with being afraid, but just keep going, keeping in mind it will be worth it in the end. And remember you're doing something that makes you happy, so, you know... be happy :)

14. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just thanks for taking interest in my works, it means a lot to me! And sorry for talking sooo much, I'm really not good at keeping things short, ahah.

Thank you so much Claudia for taking part in the Artist interview series. I hope you have enjoyed reading! If you would like to me see more of Claudia's work click the links below:

Thank you for reading. From,

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