Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Sofia Figliè. I am 28 years old and I was born and raised in Carrara, Italy, a town in Tuscany situated between the mountains and the Sea.
How did you get started in illustration? What drew you to the medium?
I started to become impassioned with illustration while a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, thanks to my professor, Maurizio Olivotto. However, I had always been enthusiastic about this topic since childhood. As a young girl, I couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning to begin drawing.
What are your favorite subjects to illustrate?
My favorite subject matter is scenes from everyday life. I take inspiration from my day-to-day experiences living in my small town. Also, in the last few years I have been very interested in studying and illustrating the topics of pagan festivals and ancient cults.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
When I create an illustration, I typically try to maintain an equilibrium between the rational and instinctual. I enjoy building scenes full of people in a colorful and surreal setting. I work in mixed media, ranging from watercolors to pastels to acrylics, mixing them together to render the drawing more vivid, creating fluid figures spontaneously that seem to melt.
Can you tell us a bit about your work process?
Typically before I begin an illustration, I research the topic. Afterwards, I start sketching ideas and when I have decided on the best choice, I begin to elaborating on the composition, utilizing a collage. After this, I apply the colors in a very rapid and instinctive way.
Any highlights of your creative journey so far?
The most important moment that helped me to arrive at the choice in undertaking this direction came to me during the time I spent as a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. At this time, I met Professor Maurizio Olivotto, who became my professor and provided me with opportunities to study under other illustrators and graphic artists, all of whom now serve as my point of reference. It was Professor Olivotto that advised me to make the move to Urbino for further studies in the field of illustration.
What are some of the key influences on your work?
My native city of Carrara, Italy had especially influenced me during my two years of attendance at the ISIA of Urbino, Italy, where I completed my biennial studies. It was during this time at ISIA where I advanced a book project concerning the history of Carrara’s resistance movement during the Second World War.
Another great source of inspiration for me is tied to the topic of legends and folklore, whereby the ancient pagan culture of Italy has been mixed with elements of Christian folklore. In both cases, the accounts are tied to fairies, elves, and other creatures of a fantasy.
However, relative to style, I am strongly influenced by the American folk artists, Clementine Hunter and Anna Mary Robertson Moses (Grandma Moses).
When you aren’t making art, how do you spend your time?
When I am not drawing, I enjoy a glass of wine with my boyfriend and settling back on my couch to watch a movie together on TV. Lately, I take long walks in the nearby mountains; it is an excellent remedy to defeat my innate laziness.
What’s something you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I have a wish that I want to transform into a New Year’s resolution that involves several projects that began last year. Moreover, I would really like to take the time to travel a lot more than the past year.
How can we keep up with your work?
If you would like to follow me, my personal Instagram account is @sofiafiglie_illustrator. I have another account which I conduct with a friend of mine about witchcraft, narrated from a historical point of view: @strix.illustration.