“Develop you own obsessions and the skills to put them into practice”
What made you decide that Art was your calling? Tell us about your journey from being a student of Art to being a successful graphic designer today.
First of all, I don’t identify what I do with Art, I prefer Arts and Crafts… I mean that design is very much a creative activity, but is not Art with a big A. We as designers, must convey a message and respond to a need or a request.
I haven’t been long a student, I spent just two years drawing and learning the basis of graphic design. I also followed model classes and attended silkscreen printing evening classes. Before that, I had spent 5 years at University majoring in Political Sciences before deciding to leave Italy and do what I wanted to do. I had the chance (sometimes you must take that into account) of doing an internship in an exceptional design studio where we would create posters and book covers. After a month I had the job and my name on the studio’s production. Even if I worked a lot, I kept some time to find my own clients, mainly publishers for young audiences in Italy. I built a net of clients that became larger and larger, in Belgium and Italy; basically, I feel that I have been doing the same thing, under different names and on a variable scale, with the exception of leading workshops: that’s a skill that I developed in the last 5 years, I guess is a sort of teaching and you need some experience.
How important you feel international exposure is for a student?
I am certainly not obsessed with it, but I think that if an international training brings some extra knowledge, and a sensibility for cultural differences, then it’s very welcome.
How would you describe your personal style? Also, how is your workflow pattern or your approach towards a project?
I think that a designer must adapt his/her style to the issue, every new project requires a different style, but the approach stays the same. Curiosity, humanism, open-mindedness and the will to differentiate oneself from the so-called trends are all important elements of my approach. When the project requires it, I study the subject and then I try to “forget” about it in order to avoid being pedagogical and boring. In any case, I begin by writing a lot – I find very important to play with language(s).
Which has been your most memorable piece of art that you have created? Can you give us a brief description about it?
I don’t know if it can be called “memorable” but one project I really loved was the 36 square meters poster that I designed upon invitation of the Pop Up Festival in Ancona in 2009. It was pasted on a huge wall in the old city centre (we had the permission!), and on the opening night I silkscreened live just above the billboard. The design is simple but rich in content, and the slogan – for once – is not in English, but in Latin! Later I included the work in an artist’s book in limited edition, along with two other silkscreen prints.
I prefer hand sketching, silkscreen colors, transfer letters (like Letraset©), xerox copies; I use the computer mainly for composition and color creation for offset and the web.
Among various artists, who have been your most important influencers?
Tomi Ungerer, Saul Steinberg, Dick Bruna, Pietro Longhi, the Guerrilla Girls, Bruno Munari, Saul Bass, Sister Corita Kent.
What challenges do you feel an artist has to face on the job front?
Surviving! That was a joke. I think in our case the basic battle is to get fairly paid.
Have you come across Indian art or any Indian artist that you were impressed with?
The only artist I can mention is Anish Kapoor whose work impressed me even if it’s grown so huge that I hardly see any honesty in it. The idea of patenting the blackest black is not a true artist’s move. Unfortunately I realize that my artistic education is very much eurocentric and male dominated.
What message do you have in mind for the aspiring artists?
It may sound patronizing, but I would say ‘work a lot’, don’t look at the clock nor at the calendar. Look around as much as possible, and develop your own obsessions – and the skills to put them into practice. If you don’t manage something, associate yourself with other people, also coming from different disciplines. Don’t try to fool the viewer, be honest.
To see more of Teresa’s work, click here