Interview of Sofia Sita by Hope Antonellis
Hi Sofia! Introduce yourself!
“Do not go outside the lines”, said my grandma, after she passed me one of her drawings. I didn’t always succeed, but I always did my best. Those bright felt pens accompanied myself through all my studies in Fine Arts in Milan and in Editorial Illustration in Bologna. Now, in Dundee, those outlines are gone. What began as just fun has grown into serious fun; involving people in my creative process, between ironic and engaging visual metaphors. Felt pens, mugs, acrylics, bowls, walls; what game we are going to play, today?
What inspires your pieces?
My inspiration comes from everything; I’m a curious person and I think this could be an advantage. My works are all different: the illustrations, street artworks, and illustrated objects.
I try to go out as much as possible to view art exhibitions, theater, festivals where I can see what is already done and also get inspiration. For example, I’ve recently attended the the Fringe and the Art Festival in Edinburgh.
I also try to incorporate things I like in all of my illustrations, such as food, dance, running, crochet, and some games from my childhood.
Your style is especially different than most I’ve seen, what was your path like on developing this style?
I studied Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. I learned to open my mind and understand that you can do art with everything and with any medium you like, not only canvas and acrylics. Later I realized I was interested on illustration, magazine illustration in particular, so I decided to do a master in Editorial Illustration at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. University really helps you understand what you would like to do and to learn more formally about that, but after that it is all up to you. The only way to develop a style is to actual practice and experiment; draw everything that comes into your mind, everything you see. It’s a process, not a result.
You aren’t the first person to tell me I have a style, but to be honest, I don’t feel I have it yet. What is important to me is to try my best every time and transform my passion into a job.
Where do you come from? Are there any real life experiences that are connected to any of your pieces?
I come from Ferrara, a city near Bologna (Italy). During my childhood I travelled a lot in the north of Italy. I really like travel because you can meet different people, and experience new cultures and places as well. I’ve noticed I often use food (along many other things) in my illustrations, such as pizza, coffee, but also English breakfast, tea and so on… So yes, I think my experiences with food but also sports and games inspire me. Sometimes I don’t realise it instantly, but it hits me a few days later when I’ve actually already finished the illustration.
Which art medium would you like to be if you had to be one?
A colourful pen marker, of course! 🙂
Who do you look up to?
I follow so many artists and illustrators! It’s impossible to list all of them, but some of my favourites are Alan Aldridge, Hanna Barczyk, Lorenzo Gritti, Aad Goudappel, Jean Jullien, Magoz, and Alex Katz, among many others.
I like colours, design, sixties, bubble soap, psychedelia, pop surrealism, pop art, and packaging…
How do you handle creative blocks?
I had one creative block right after my graduation, one and a half years ago.
I had just come here to Dundee and all was new for me, even the language, though I studied it in Italy.
So I pushed myself to create an illustration a day about English idioms. It didn’t matter if the illustration was good or not, the important thing was to get back to drawing. Luckily it worked for myself, and I haven’t stopped since.