[Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies | S01:E04] @alexiaudriste: dreamy and calming aesthetics through illustration

Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies is a series of interviews with cool & inspiring graphic artists. Why? Because when we come across great art and design we often wonder what is it that fuelled the artist to create, we want to get a sneak-peak at the human behind the thing and, of course, we seek inspiration.

Alexia Udriște and her idyllic mainly nature based illustrations tell us a story where traditional mediums synchronize with the digital ones, in an era where Instagram is being dominated bymimetic concepts.

We highly recommend checking her online portfolio, because she reveals something distinguished and vivid, you are allowed to get lost in an innocent and peaceful dream through her creation.

With accent on painting, her visuals are a piece of art meant to express the connection between the real, palpable world and how it is seen by the eyes of the graphic artist.

CS: Alexia, according to your vivid Instagram account, you are a gifted illustrator with a love for nature and details. Mind describing for us the story of your passion – how did it start and at which point you realised it can become your actual dream job?
Alexia: Oh, it’s not that dreamy as people tend to think about it! It all started as a job. Drawing and painting were the only things I could do to make a living 5 years ago. I took the big step and started the journey that got me here. As time went by I started to get a soft spot for nature and textures. I think I started to open my eyes more as I grew up. My dream job would be to illustrate from a cottage for my personal projects & collaborations, and does not include deadlines – but I make the best out of them now – since my cottage dream seems far, far away.

CS: Before getting deeper in this interview let me congratulate you on your baby girl. How do you manage to find balance between motherhood and the illustrator life?
A: Oh, my! Thank you, dear!
Oh, that’s a challenge! And I am not using big words if I say that is the biggest challenge I’ve ever had – especially because I tend to make my life mission to prove myself that I can do everything – and more  ( ok, ok, maybe to also show those that cheerfully threatened me that I won’t have the time for my job or hobbies that I can actually handle everrrything).

It’s hard, but it really is more about your perspective than anything else. And you also have to be a bit crazy. There are days when all I want to do is sleep and drink water because I have no energy left. But most of the time my to do lists are all over the place. I work at least one hour a day – and when I don’t work I try to make some time to read something or watch a movie. Tilda takes most of my time, but that’s normal and I enjoy my time with her. As weeks went by things became easier to handle, although there’s always change involved.

CS: We know that being a freelancer can be a messy job sometimes, and we are curious to know how you overcome the struggles. How do you manage to keep focus, deal with clients and organize your work?

A: Lists, lists, lists. I have no idea how to do it without lists. I keep focus listening to podcasts. I hate listening to music when I work –  so when I have to paint it’s mostly JRE time or some other random podcast  ( Netflix also helps ). When I am working with text a big big jar of Earl Grey eases my stress. I learned to give myself time. When I feel like I’m losing my control or balance, I tend to shut everything off even for an hour and sleep or eat or do some random thing with no connection whatsoever to work. Trello also helps me stay focused on my tasks.

 CS: Where do you find sources to fuel your inspiration?

A: In everything. I rarely consciously search for inspiration. I do read a lot and look at things closely. My husband has an enormous amount of imagination, so that helps. I don’t see myself as having imagination. I have motivation, love and a good eye, maybe.

C.S: When it comes to drawing nature, do you have a favourite element to design?

A: I don’t think so, but I love to draw tiny corners of gardens or imagine the perfect set up for a meeting between a snail and a bumble bee – things like that.

CS: In the creative process a calming and stimulating environment can be very helpful. What do you consider to be the key elements that describe your perfect place to draw? 

A: A clean desk is everything to me, really. I also make myself a cup of tea or coffee to help me get in the mood for work. Fresh air is also a nice touch to my mornings –  cause that’s the time when I like to start my work day. 

C.S: For our readers out there who want to pursue a career on this path, what advice do you have regarding the attempt of making money from your art?

A: Think about the money. I know everyone believes that art is …well…art! But it’s a job. In my book, every job needs to be taken seriously, so work yourself off and learn as much as you can. Ask around when you don’t know and don’t be afraid of your mistakes. People will judge, this industry is not the friendliest –  so don’t let anyone put you down. Work hard enough so that no one will be able to put you down with their words or attitude. Money will come with the amount of work you put in. Don’t be afraid to be challenged and to fail. So that’s my advice. Own your journey.

C.S: We live in a digital era, but somehow the traditional mediums are always trending. What is your perspective regarding this dichotomy, how do you manage to slalom between drawing digital and drawing manually? 

A: I just do it. At first I was a little anxious. I felt that I have to make my illustrations look alike no matter the medium. Then I managed to gain a bit of wisdom and realised that’s all crap. So I started illustrating without thinking too much. I’m not trying «to translate» my watercolor illustrations into digital anymore. I also think that it’s not possible to copy traditional mediums digitally. I mean, you can,  but don’t fool yourself – it will still be a copy. There are projects when digital fits better, so I go with it. It really depends on how I feel it will work better. There are times when I do both – so I work in layers of traditional and digital – my scanner hates me. Whatever works for you. I think each one of them have impressive qualities – you just have to find what’s best for you and what makes you comfortable.

 

C.S: Your online portfolio is really impressive, full of colors and vibrance that makes you teleport in a childhood dream. Can you share with us one of the projects you are the most proud of?

A: I am really proud of how my embroidered illustrated blankets turned out. It was a collaboration with Molcush, who came up with the idea and had taken care of every little detail regarding the linen, threads and textures. I had to come up with three designs – so I imagined it as a storytelling exercise. I wanted for every client to imagine their own story around the characters ( there’s a bear under a beehive, a rabbit and its carrot rain & cats playing near porcelain – and let me tell you that’s a bad idea for a playground!)
It was a lot of effort put in that project. We did everything by ourselves – from sewing, embroider, write thank you cards to packing.

C.S: And, wrapping it all up, we are really curious to hear about your mantra in case you have one, or some core beliefs you guide yourself and your art by. 

A: I don’t have a mantra, but when I feel I need to regroup myself I tell myself that  I can – the pain, stress, bad times will pass. I need to make the best out of it and let go when I can. So I always remind myself of that in case things go south.

That’s a wrap. This is the fourth episode of our first “season” of interviews that will focus on romanian creatives. Stick around for the next one.

Our aim is to create a hybrid map where we pin artists and designers from various fields but have one very specific common thread: a challenging vision towards traditional mediums.

✌️

Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies S01:E03
Cromatic Studios meets Creative Junkies S01:E03

Interview with @iamdidiman: emotions through unconventional visuals

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