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Index

SPOTLIGHT | 20 ANA SALGUERO

FIRE ELEMENT | 24 Author: Gloria Ruiz Blanco | Illustrator: Ana Salguero

CONVERTING FEELINGS INTO REALISM | 30 Exclusive Interview with STEVEN CHMILAR

AROUND THE WORLD | 40

SCRAPBOOK | 42

with PRIYANKA KAUSHAL

MY SPECIFIC STYLE | 46 Exclusive Interview with JUDITH CLAY

CREATIVE SPACE | 56 BRIGHTNESS GALLERY | 58 #SNOWMAN

In This Issue of

cover : illustration by

To

D evis G rebu

a s k q u e s t i o n s a b o u t y o u r s u b s c r i p t i o n , p l e a s e e m a i l u s at: sub@brightnessmag.com

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© All Rights Are Reserved.

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THROUGH AN ARTIST’S EYE

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Devis Grebu

Art Director & Editor In Chief

Creative Director & Graphic Designer

Web Design

Hasmik (Narjes Mohammadi)

Sadegh Amiri

STUDIO BRIGHTNESS

International Contributors

Translator

Sales & Marketing

Concha Pasamar | Ana Rodriguez Ali Ghafele Bashi | Jen Yoon | María Wright

Darya Ghafele Bashi

Brightness Studio info@brightnessmag.com

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Digital Journal of Illustration |

ABOUT US

PLEASE VISIT OUR WESITE: WWW.BRIGHTNESSMAG.COM EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS . EXHIBITION NEWS . ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

ABOUT BRIGHTNESS Brightness magazine was founded by Narjes Mohammadi (Hasmik) and Sadegh Amiri in 2016 as a digital magazine to present exclusive interviews with experienced illustrators, whose wisdom and knowledge are treasure troves for young artists. We aim to promote the current works of popular as well as up and coming artists, so that people can be inspired by the beauty and effectiveness of illustration in expressing powerful ideas. For those who want to dive deeper into the wonderful world of illustration we present articles that give valuable insights into the creative minds of the world. We hope you enjoy reading our publications as much as we enjoy publishing them.

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We want to change the world with art and love...

BRIGHTNESS FOUNDERS

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Are you interested in submitting to Brightness? If you’d like the chance of being published in one of issue, get in touch via this page. Please note that we receive many submissions each day and have limited space in each publication. So please show us the work you’re most proud of or the work you especially enjoy creating.

Submission Info Email your submission to sub@brightnessmag.com with “ART SUBMISSION” in the subject line. • Submit images as JPEGs or GIFs • Submit up to 5 images • Image sizes should be at least 600px wide and no more than 1000px wide

EMAIL ADDRESS: sub@Brightnessmag.com |9


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Devis Grebu


Exclusive Interview

THROUGH AN

ARTIST’S EYE E X C L U S I V E

I N T E R V I E W

W I T H

Dev is Grebu

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Ellen Weinstein

1. Could you give us a bit of background about your work and education, and how you started working as an illustrator? In fact, I am a painter who does “also” illustrations...a lot. How comes that?... Well, I’ve studied painting (only painting) at the “Fine Arts University” of Bucharest. But, during my high-studies, I was hurt and pushed by a very bad and serious family crisis. My father was thrown in prison by the communist regime and I was forced to look - desperately - around, for some “lucrative” collaborations. And...I’ve got them, pretty fast...A little vignette here and there, for the “humour” and/or the “children’s” magazines... So, this was the reason and the way and the beginning, to penetrate - by the little back-door - this so different and distant world for me, for my preoccupations or - as a painter - my subjective interest. The ILLUSTRATIONS world! And, so on I did it. First, in parallel with my painting studies, then - after ending them - more and more, with a nascent interest, growing passion, dedication and - finally - with pleasure. But also with my ambition-first...To be better and better, ‘till one of the best, across so many years of an enormous professional activity as an illustrator. Proud to became (forgive me, please...) internationally well-known and consequently appreciate. Published by the most prestigious press-publications and publishinghouses, in Europe, America and Asia.

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Exclusive Interview

2. What is a normal day at the office for you? I assume it might start with a coffee? There isn’t - for me - a “normal” day in the office, since there isn’t any more an office, either... As a freelance during the last 10 years, my days aren’t customary, regular, but in function of...what (and if...how much...?) kind of work, I have to do. Very diverse, every day. Some days more... Others, less...and I will go back painting. Each one could and should be the start - of course - with a cup of coffee, but more often - at my age, alas! does start with some usual drugs and a lot of water. A very commonplace...isn’t it? 3. Besides hard work and talent, what other traits has led to your success? Besides talent and hard work (presumably components of my “fibre”, I’ve had permanently did my most and best, as to accumulate a “general-culture”, very important help and supplement for documented and accurate ideas. As well - of course - improving my technical skills. And about those “skills” I should say that the fact of being “...a painter who illustrate-too...” helped me a lot to use as several different techniques needed by each subject. I’ve never was the “prisoner” of a unique technique - named wrongly STYLE - as most of the “only-illustrators” are using. Another important component for success is punctuality and keeping my/your word, and handling over, to the client - the work - on time. But, the most important side which separated me from the bulk of other potential contenders was and still my imagination, combined with the logic of my thinking. I mean my original, unique IDEAS, who are - truly- famous. Many critics and specialists in the illustrations area have written a lot and often about my unique (and so many) original ideas! Symbolic ideas, that’s my STYLE!... Many other illustrators, some of them quite renowned and successful, were, let’s say - with modesty - “inspired” by my ideas. And, by the way, I even taught a class of “how-to” reach those symbolic ideas, at Parson’s School of Design and Columbia University, where I was - sometimes ago - professor 4. can you remember some of your earliest influences? Do you have a favourite photograph or painting, which inspires you? I remember very well that as earlier as during my painting studies at the “Fine Arts University”, which took place under the communist dictatorship, I was very impressed and big admirer of the Poland (another country occupied by the Soviets and a communist regime, but still enough independent and open toward the occident civilisation and culture, compared with Romania who became an obedient slave) graphic school and its famous, gorgeous representatives Jan Leniça, Henryk Tomaszewski and Roman Cieslewicz. Obviously, in Romania’s “socialist-realism”- the pseudo-arts exponent - all those great artists were interdicted to watch and admire. And #metoo I was thrown out of the Artists-Union and prohibited to exhibit my artwork, after only a year of membership. Because of the similarity of my art-work with their as well my great - public - admiration for those artists and many others like them. 5. Your works are deeply personal, a sort of record of your emotions, thoughts and experiences. At the same time with a sense of humour. Do you want to talk about the basis behind your illustrations? Well, I think that a part of that question, I’ve answered before - at the 3-d question - so I will concentrate now on my obvious “sense of humour” adding another important personal side: the harmonious treatment of colours. Yet, about my “sense of humour”, I was a single child of my wonderful parents. My priceless mother was fulfilled with a permanent joy and gladness and optimism, even during our worst and difficult passages of a lifetime. My father was “equipped” with a great sense of humour. And also responsibility, punctuality, precision and great skill as an organizer. All his qualities, forwarded to me through the parental-education, helped me to build myself for all the later life activities. Amongst his

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Ellen Weinstein


Exclusive Interview

personal relationship with me, he developed my own “sense of humour” by declaring that I could always make fun of him, as long it isn’t coarse, rude, boor, but pure ironical. And as earlier of my childhood, I confess here that I used that so many times...on my adored and respected father...Without any parentalpunishment... And now, when my “sense of humour” is needed only to cover only some illustrations-topics, or some critical portraits, or...whatever in “need”...I used it for forcefully. Many are leafing a lot, some are furious... Now, about my - so-called - “remarkable” (by many critics and commentators of my work as an illustrator) harmony of colours, I owned it during my painting studies, with an excellent above all - teacher, named Catul Bogdan. Who taught me the beauty and importance of the “coloured-greys”, as to avoid the unpleasant and disturbingly violent, aggressive, unhinged, malicious, spiteful, non-complementary colours. 6. what are your thoughts on specialisation vs generalisation? As I answered before, me - as a painter - I was taught and prepared through - so-called - “generalisation”, or better saying, “covering” all the technical, knowledgeable sides of finearts. Whom I did it “literally”!... Which means very strong and wide theoretical research, as well deep and sustained studies of drawing and composition. Perspective and geometricaldrawing. As well as the right employment and/or usage of different materials and/or tools, like watercolours, gouaches, acrylics, oils, inks, charcoals, pencils & feathers, etc... So, I am - of course - very different from the majority of the “only” illustrators...who opted for “specialization” in one technique (frequently “inspired” from some successful forerunners), trying desperately to hide the lack of knowledge from most of the above” list”, through kind of...stylizations without limits! All that becoming - erroneously - so-

called their “style”. In conclusion, my thoughts about “specialisation” are negative. Sorry guys!... 7. how do you think online design resources have influenced the art being produced today? About that question, I hope that my answer will not upset most of the other illustrators, obviously “on line” do-withers (included the great and charming lady-host Narjee)... But, if that’s the case, Narjes...you’re free to dropoff/out the 7-the question. This is some words I expressed on the pages of one of the MONOGRAPHs, published about my artwork and I’d like to use them as my answer. “I duly appreciate the computer, this extraordinary electronic invention and tried - with little success - to convince my peers of my otherwise circumspect opinion and attitude. For I am a greater admirer of human intelligence, which I believe it to be a decisive factor in retaining dignity, the man’s most valuable “treasure”. And, if native intelligence is sown and cultivated intellectually, beginning with/by those who guide our first steps, we will develop a perfect shell through whose natural cracks talent - assuming we posses it - can burst forth. The result is STYLE, personality!... But, if - in addition - we can afford to own a sophisticated device, like a computer (and/ or an I-Phone last “blush”) and, if we know how to exploit it to the full, transforming them into ours slaves, but...not vice versa (as happens today, predominantly among the younger generations), only then can we consider ourselves to be truly privileged. I feel no sense of instinctive aversion towards the computer and/or the I-Phone, even less against the Internet, despite being strongly and persuasively as possible against their use as substitutes of the brain, unfortunately, especially at/by the younger generations. As I observe -already from a long time ago - with loathing, sadness and deep disappointment, how it degenerating with each day that passes.

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Ellen Weinstein


Exclusive Interview

I love and being seduced by real emotions, hesitations. Feeling that illustrator’s (or painter’s) hand trembling and all those sincere, natural sensations, forwarded from the artist to any recipient. I truly think that art, realised and messaged by electronic ways, is somehow dry, dead, mechanical, technical, without sensitivity... That’s my opinion and I believe (I’m sure) that I ‘ll be (almost?...) “alone” on my corner. But...” 8. which of your projects has been the most important to developing your personal style? My personal style was rather self-developed - unconsciously and progressively - by working - from the beginning until today - with the same passion and professionalism all over the many years (60+) of my activity. Not influenced by some or any specific projects, but gradually. 9. How do you approach creating an illustration? And is that different depending on if you are working for a client or for yourself? First of all, I approach every illustration in the function of the topic there is to illustrate, running instantaneously for the necessary documentation, to avoid making ridiculous mistakes. Then I wonder about the format&size, if it’s full-colours or black and white, the quality of the surface to be printed, the time to realise it, the commissioning’s suggestions - but only for my additional information, because the ideas are definitely my duty and right - they aren’t for negotiations: take-it or leave it (me). But - still - some times (in fact quite often...) when I bring more than one idea (because I have always too many ideas...), put them on the table, letting the “client” choose the preferred one because for me it doesn’t matter which one will be chosen. All of them are mine. 10. What does your art aim to say to your audience? My finished and delivered illustration must aim and say, first to those who asked me for

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Ellen Weinstein


it, that they collaborated with a professional on which they can count on him from then-on, from every side of the problem. For the “audience”, expecting everyone’s applause (I am so “thirsty”) and - why not - from those very&most impressed, waiting, even expecting some callers of “bis”!!!...”repeat”!!!...”#metoo”!!!...&... 11. How do you get ideas for each piece of art? Getting ideas it’s a special, personal quality. Fortunately for some, unfortunately for many others, it’s not for everybody,. You must be endowed. For a great imagination, you need a deep logical mind, vast general culture - as a strong basis from which to begin, to jump. And long-diverses personal-experiences. But, never try to look over the shoulder to others (previous) brainwave. 12. What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition? There isn’t - on my opinion - a “recipe”, because each illustration have its “components” of different quantity, shapes and importance. And, as I wrote here-previously, the matter of “composition” must be well-studied first. As I did, many years, at the “Fine Arts University”. 13. What factors should illustrators keep in mind when finding ways to improve their work? In my opinion - like a shyness onlooker whom I am, because - fortunately - it wasn’t ever my case, I think and give them - as a previous teacher - that advice: the illustrators must be full-open, receptive, ready to go back for a hard-working, as much it is the need. 14. What are the steps an illustrator could take to try and get bigger projects and clients? Well, from my point of view - as one who has studied all kind of art sides and “secrets”, a lot (of years), previously - the “steps” to get bigger & higher projects&clients...if I may (and you’ll allow me)...to try and be funny... Those “steps” should be - in fact - all kind of “standings”. Like stand’to; stand-up; stand’ for; stand’ over; stand-point; standstill! And, I think...rather I hope, in the function of each one’s professional level and ownroad results, great-prolific area of actions and needs - of course adding her/his good luck - the clients with bigger projects will naturally begin to pour in your pocket! 15. what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work? Living already a number of years - together with my wife - with my beloved daughter, in her beautiful house&garden from a quiet and beautiful suburb of the unique metropolis Paris, she blessed us with two wonderful, fabulous, gifted and so beautiful grandchildren. They are fascinating and feeding my energy, my health, my joy and implicitly - my work! 16. What’s next for you in the future? At my age - 86 - the “next” of my future...I wish-it as far and long as God and my health will allow me...And then...the long-term, long-’winded artist’s “immortality”!... As one amongst those included in the prestigious “Who’s Who - of the best illustrators in the world”, published (in the eighties) by the famous couple of the “Graphis” Magazine Founders & Editors, Walter Herdeg and Dr Walter Amstutz, me...hmmm...representing France, the country who adopted me in the ‘70-s... Proud am I... www.devisgrebu.com

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Spotlight

I´m from Cadiz, a small coastal town in southern of Spain. Since I was a child my relationship with books and drawing has been very special. My best place in the world was a library. Reading was my way of travelling and growing up. Drawing and painting was my natural way of expressing myself. I used to draw on everything, books, notebooks, desks, windows... Unknown characters came to accompany me through my pencils. Life took me away from this path of art and I entered the University of Cadiz to study Nursing. Then I was working as a nurse in different hospitals and cities. Although I was doing a good job I didn’t feel really complete and when I started working in the Intensive Care Unit at night I decided to go back to university and take the Fine Arts Degree in the morning for five years (2005-2010). When I started studying art I was a nurse and when I finished I was never a nurse again. Art and illustration filled everything like a beast I would have woken up to. In those five years I was very happy with my classmates, I felt that I had finally found my place. After that a writer gave me the opportunity to illustrate one of his adventure novels and it was finally published. And one job led to another until a publisher started hiring me on a regular basis for five years to illustrate the covers of their books.

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ANA SALGUERO Illustrator and painter www.anasalguero.com


I have done all kinds of work since then not only illustration, but also painting and product illustration.I have continued my training in different courses of Illustration and design programs. And although most of my work was for books and adult publications, I began to train in children’s books, writing and illustrating albums. This year I finished a book as an integral author of text and illustrations. Also doing joint work with other writers. Talking about my technique is complicated. I always look for the best visual language that best serves each new work that comes my way. This means that I have a great diversity of techniques, whether traditional, digital or mixed. The common thread is usually the drawing, the colour and the composition. I am moved by colour. You can transmit a lot of information through it. You can bring a state of mind immediately. You can create tensions and complement the text with all these elements. The path of the pencil or the paintbrush on the surface always has some magic. In these starting stages everything can happen and take shape. It is for me a kind of ritual that brings out the best in me and makes me feel alive. I don’t know where this path will take me, I just know that I want to keep drawing, learning, painting, writing, ... in brief, trying to improve.

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The Creative Space Spotlight


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Article

F i r e element from the humiliation in Cinderella’s ashes to the prestigious position of the Vestal Virgins.

Author: Gloria Ruiz Blanco Illustrator: Ana Salguero In the present article we are going to unite, through fire, two stories separated in time. On the one hand, we unite the story of Cinderella, one of the most famous fairy tales in the world. On the other hand, we join the vestal virgins of Ancient Rome, very important and representative female figures of this great empire. Cinderella Cinderella is one of the oldest fairy tales in the oral tradition. It is also a tale that has been developed in very different parts of the world from Egypt, China, India and Europe. In 1893, the author MR Cox collected a total of 345 variants of this story, although it is estimated that there are currently around seven hundred versions. In this article we will focus on Giambattista Basile’s version, Cinderella’s Cat published in Lo cunto de li cunti also known as The Pentameron, in 1634. Giambattista tells us the story of Zezolla, the daughter of a widowed prince, who remarries another woman. The prince is jealous of the little Zezolla and the girl, in turn, feels a certain animosity towards her father’s wife. The little girl confesses to her wet nurse that she wishes she were her mother and between the two of them they | 24


Exclusive Article

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Article


Exclusive Article

devise a plan to murder this wife and carry it out. Zezolla’s father marries the wet nurse and, to everyone’s surprise, she is accompanied by her six daughters. Soon, the third wife begins to reject Zezolla and put her daughters first. In the end, she strips Zezolla of her luxuries and makes her the housekeeper.Such is the degradation she suffers that she loses her name and gets it changed to the nickname Cinderella Cat. This nickname is given to her because she sleeps in the kitchen, next to the fireplace among the ashes of the fire. Zezolla’s suffering will be consoled by a fairy godmother who is born from a date she plants herself. The fairy godmother dresses her in luxurious dresses so that she can go to the palace balls. There the young woman falls in love with the King but always at every dance she runs away to her home. In one of these escapes she loses one of her shoes. The king orders that the shoe must be tried on in all the ladies of the kingdom until the owner is found. When Zezolla tries on the shoe he discovers that she is the owner and the king marries her on the spot. Now we are going to focus on the event that is the title of this article and it is the moment when

Cinderella is forced to sleep among the ashes. This fact has a great complexity because at a superficial level it means a social degradation and humiliation. It is an abuse since the young woman, at the beginning of the story, belongs to a high social status and when she is degraded she becomes the servant of her own house. To be the servant of her own house in another time and social context was a very desirable position, because in Ancient Rome, to be in charge of the fire was a task performed by the Vestal Virgins, who belonged to a very privileged social status and was one of the highest positions a woman could ascend to. Vestal Virgins: The priestesses of the eternal fire From the beginning, Rome was accompanied by the service and protection of the Vestal Virgins. The Vestal Virgins were a group of priestesses whose main function was to keep Vesta’s sacred fire alive. The pure and immaculate goddess Vesta, also known as Hestia in Greece, was the goddess of fire and the fireplace in the hearth. She gradually

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Article

became the protective goddess of Rome whose flame represented the welfare of the state. Rhea Silvia, mother of Romulus and Remus, was a vestal virgin as the myth of the two brothers being suckled by a she-wolf is told.According to the texts, Aeneas was the first to select the vestals. They were chosen when they were 6 years old and they were girls who belonged to patrician families of the city. It is also mentioned that the selected girls were the most perfect. The service of a vestal in Rome lasted thirty years. In the work Life of Plutarch we find that vestals were instituted by NumaPompilius second king of Rome in the 7th century BC.With them, a series of vows were established that if any of them were broken, she was punished. The vows were of chastity (Vesta was a virgin) and keeping Vesta’s fire alive.If Vesta’s fire was extinguished, it was a symbol of a bad omen for Rome. The most important vestal was the vestalis maxima, or Virgo Maxima, as we know via Ovid and Suetonius. Its main task was to be present at the College of Pontiffs and to participate in the tasks and dialogues that took place there. The Vestal Virgins had a high priority and prestige in society. They were respected and adored by each and every Roman citizen. The dress of a vestal also reflected their high rank in society and at the same time their purity and chastity. The robes they wore were of the finest white linen and were adorned with a purple border. For more than a millennium these priestesses were kept patiently guarding the Flame of Vesta. But time and the political and cultural changes of the Empire made their worship forbidden in the Christian era. The order remained in force until 391 AD when the Emperor Theodosius decreed by law that all pagan worship and rituals in public were forbidden. After this decree the temple of Vesta was closed and the sacred Flame extinct. The Vestals who occupied the position at

that time were removed from their duties and the order continued its life only in history, as a reminder of one of the greatest and most beautiful traditions of the golden age of Rome. And perhaps who knows, fate or poetic justice towards an unbelieving Emperor, a few years after the protective flame was extinguished, the Western Roman Empire fell to the barbarian tribes that invaded the peninsula. Symbols of fire and ashes The element of fire is what unites these two stories separated by time. As the anthropologist James George Frazer points out, in primitive people fire and ashes were considered as one entity that drives the universe. In one of his investigations he was able to compile a series of rites that were carried out with fire, ashes and torches because they were considered beneficial for agriculture, livestock and human beings. In ancient times, the focus publicus (public fire) used to be located in the center of cities. Its function was to replace the fire in the home when it was extinguished, because in ancient times, lighting a fire was a very difficult task. The fire represents the warmth of the hearth, the family and as Bruno Bettelheim points out the hearth as the central part of a house symbolizes a mother. Fire and ashes symbolize purity, another common element between vestals and ashes. But in turn, fire and ashes have connotations of pain and affliction. The act of scattering ashes over the head as it is done on Ash Wednesday in Christian worship, is today a symbol of grief as in times past. Homer in his Odyssey also tells how sitting in ashes is a sign of sympathy and a custom practiced by many peoples. Finally, remember from Greek mythology the Phoenix bird associated with the sun and how it is reborn from the ashes of its predecessor. When reborn, the phoenix symbolizes purification and immortality.

Bibliography Basile, G. (2001). La gata cenicienta y otras fábulas de “lo cunto de li cunti”. Italia: Martorano di Cesena. Bettelheim. B (1994) Psicoanálisis de los cuentos de hadas.

Author Gloria Ruiz Blanco

Illustrator Ana Salguero

w w w.b rig htnessma g.co m

Barcelona: Drakontos Grimal, P. (1981).Diccionario de mitología romana y griega. Barcelona.: Paidos


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STEVEN CHMILAR

CONVERTING FEELINGS

INTO REALISM Exclusive Interview with

Steven Chmilar

Steven Chmilar was born in Grande Prairie

Alberta where he spent most of his childhood on a farm, helping with chores, drawing and building imaginary civilizations in the woods. While living in Calgary from 2008 – 2000, he played music professionally and won a national songwriting contest in the spring of 2006 at CanadaMusicWeek in Toronto. From 2008 until 2012, he lived in Victoria BC where he painted and performed as a solo musician. A career shift to full-time visual artist was made after the success of his first show in November of 2011. He currently lives in Sidney, British Columbia, Canada where he delightfully paints every day overlooking a beautiful ocean view.

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Exclusive Interview

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Digital Journal of Illustration |

STEVEN CHMILAR

images in my mind similar to the way many other people do. I have been asked before if I have a photographic memory but I do not believe so I have flashes of an image in mind that is usually incomplete. There is definitely colour and a strong feeling or emotion of how the piece comes across but I don’t usually know what all the small details are. Once I have an idea in mind, I go to paper. I find that once I lay out a new composition on paper, I find out right away what will and will not work. Sometimes I have a vision that is not quite possible in terms of the spacing of three-dimensional forms and I find that out right away when I start to draw.

1. Let’s start with your background. Where did you study? What did you study at University? I did not attend any post-secondary education for art. Come to think of it, my high school didn’t even have much of an art program to speak of. I remember taking art class in grade four and then not again until grade ten and not in grade eleven or twelve. I would estimate that most of the full-time working artists I know did not attend post secondary art school. That being said, I do think education is extremely important in many other fields. There is so much information available that anyone who is willing and motivated can learn. I am far more interested in learning now than I was at a younger age. I am presently a voracious self-educator as I find that knowledge of history, philosophy and psychology inform my ideas. 2. Where does an idea come from and how does it transform from an idea into an artwork? The very beginning of an idea is probably the most difficult part of my process to describe. Like many of us, I have strong feelings (ha) about things every day, and for myself the habit of transferring those thoughts into a potential composition has become common practice. I would guess that I visualize

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Once I have done many tiny sketches (approx. 1”x1”) to experiment with possible variations, I make a larger version of my favourite small sketch (approx. 4 to 6”x6”). In the larger sketch, I start to have enough space to figure out more details about what and who are in the scene. Once I complete a small drawing from the second stage, I have my blueprint from which to design a sculptural maquette. An actual three-dimensional sculpture is if favourable to work with because I love to learn as much as possible about the way actual light in numerous temperatures reflect off of different materials and textures. Once I have a lighting-look that captures the feeling that I initially imagined, I take photographs. I should mention that I like my narrative compositions to make sense in terms of the way a group of figures fill a physical space and so there is a kind of “right and wrong” to figure out in the drawing and model building stage before I get to hiring people for photoshoots. It can be incredibly useful to know that I can’t fit two people between a table and a wall before I get two different people to pose. I then superimpose actual human models into my maquette scene via photoshop. The digital image I create for this process is only made to serve as a reference for the final painting and is not something that I show as a finished artwork in itself. Once I have completed my photoshop composite, as well as gathered many other reference images, I begin drawing onto a panel. In the drawing process, I grid my panel into quarters and begin drawing from scratch. I find it is very important to draw and not to use a projector. I believe that as technology


Exclusive Interview

allows the artistic process to become less laborious, that human purpose diminishes. I am predicting that it will become more and more important for artists to document their processes so that others can appreciate the human skills that were developed to create the artwork. Once the drawing is complete, I began oil painting in an order that is similar to traditional realist atelier methods. For example: underpainting in umbers, glazing transparent fast-drying pigments, building up light areas with a fast-drying white to create a grisaille, blocking in ebauche colours if necessary and finally painting most areas in separate wet-in-wet sections of final color. In the final color areas of a painting, I add traditional mediums such as stand oil to create a surface which isn’t as dependant on varnish to appear as it did when the paint was first applied. 3. Let’s continue with your experiments as a painter. What is the main difference between illustration and painting? I have a slight phobia (ha) of word definitions in art. They are used out of necessity but I usually try to refer to specific images or artists because in some ways, I think there are as many definitions as there are individual creators. I think that across the board, the worlds greatest artists (current and historical) would have been adept at any style however it might be defined. The fundamentals are key regardless of medium. I definitely relate to illustrations that are done with line. I have always been a big fan of etchings that go back hundreds of years. The word specificity comes to mind, which is not always necessary with painting. In some ways an illustrator who uses fine pointed ink pens may have more in common with an oil painter who uses tiny brushes and thin paint than with another illustrator who uses a very loose style with the same medium. Maybe it has more to do with our personality type than what mediums we use. I would even say that I might have more in common with a finishing carpenter or surgeon than I do with any other random person who happens to use oil paint. For that reason, I am also influenced by more people in other fields today than painters. I find entrepreneurs inspiring or anyone who thinks outside the “box” regardless of what they do. Unfortunately, there are just as many painters who I believe, think inside the “box” as there are in any other walk of life, despite the stereotype that artists are supposed to be “different” or thought of as automatically outside of the “norm”. I think the main aspect of painting - in many modern sensibilities - is the idea of self expression, or that it may serve the opposite purpose of commercial art. Rather than a person getting an assignment from an external source, for the purpose of selling a product or clarifying instructions in a manual, the person is creating something from within themselves for the purpose of expressing something that may not be commercially viable, or at least that is how I might define the difference. The idea of “what painting is” has gone so far in one direction over the past century that it has become at odds with many in the general public. 4. As an artist who had valuable experiences in both illustration and painting, which one is better in your mind and why? I would say neither is better persay, they can help to support each other. In fact, I think it is very valuable for any artist who paints with any degree of realism to have a strong understanding of the principles of illustration. A surrealist painter could even learn a great deal about the simple tricks of designing strong compositions from studying sports team logos. I have seen many artworks where a painter want-ed to skip the

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integral knowledge that people learn from drawing and illustration and it shows. No matter how much time a painter puts in with a brush, the underlying principles of designing structural forms (some of which can be learned from illustration more or less) shows through. I’m sure we have all seen an example of a realistic portrait where the painter was able to capture a photographic likeness in value, color and even the detail of every pore in the surface of the skin, but there was still something that doesn’t look quite right about the placement of the eyes in the skull. A peculiar use of time. As an artist who creates his own images and does not generally do commercial work, I find it useful to use the time-line of the commercial art world for my own schedule. If there are no concrete deadlines, it can be easy to drag a painting out longer than it has to take. Over the past few years, I have had more deadlines and so I take that influence from the commercial world even though I am always working for myself first. One thing that I have learned, is that my process can only be made so efficient before it would change the finished look of 18th century northern European brush-work that I like to have. Efficiency for me at this point can not come from cutting corners off of my painting techniques, but rather from continuing to get higher prices from the sale of my original oil paintings. 5. Your style is so unique. Would you please tell us about your unique style. How did it start? How has it changed through years? Thank you for the compliment, I do care a great deal about uniqueness. From a young age, I experimented in every way imaginable with the way that things can be represented in twodimensions. As a child I would copy popular examples and invent my own cartoons, comic strips and comic book super-hero’s. I remember drawing all of the logos for NHL teams freehand, trying to make perfect circles and straight lines where they occurred. Instead of collecting all the cards in a set, I would design my own league of players and draw each individual player complete with their imaginary team logo and stats on the back of cards cut out by hand. In my early teen years, I would copy drawings from advanced level instructional drawing books. My sister (ten years

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my elder) was in nursing school and I would copy the anatomy drawings from her text books. I had always held myself to a very high standard and would not consider my drawings successful until I had accurately represented what I saw in front of me. I had always held myself to the standard of the greatest artists rather than other kids in my direct surroundings. As much as I copied, the most important thing that I learned from my childhood drawing experiments was to invent. I loved to invent my own versions of everything. I guess that is what I believe is the most important aspect of drawing that divides merely copying from being creative. Subject matter was an arbitrary selection and a reason to invent. My childhood interest in cars was merely aesthetic and an excuse to create numerous variations on a theme. It was the same with my childhood interest in archi-tecture, cartography, golf course design, heavy equipment design and so on. My early life was a life spent with paper and a writing utensil. I enjoyed a trip to a stationary store just as much as a trip to a toy store while on family vacation. I feel that I was born to do what I do now, and that I started training earnestly from the moment that I was old enough to hold a pencil. In my early teen years, after faithfully recreating a classical painting of Cupid and Venus in monochrome with pencil, I realized that the formula for accurate representation was just an adept understanding of the value scale. At the time, having no new ideas of my own at that point, I became somewhat bored with drawing when an electric guitar became much more of an intriguing challenge. Over the next decade, I would dedicate myself to learning as much as possible about music for the purpose of creating in another form: songwriting. From the moment I learned a few chords on the guitar, I had to invent my own compositions. The point was always to create and the guitar became another vehicle for creation. Being that the point of art for me was always to invent rather than copy, I didn’t become interested again in painting until I had some ideas that I felt I would want to sink a lot of time into. In about 2007, I discovered Brueghel (1569-1525). His work was the first thing that I remember seeing that truly


Exclusive Interview

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Exclusive Interview

inspired me. That is where it started. I was working in a similar way to Brueghel by inventing much of the subject matter rather than copying everything directly from life. From my examinations of his work through books, it was clear to me that he was inventing most of the people in his paintings and I think that is what made his work so special compared to many of his contemporaries who were copying from life however they could. There is a respectable level of intelligence in his work, unhindered by physical limitations of the hand. Many of his contemporaries did not invent as welleven his son Pieter Brue-ghel the younger. A close examination of his sons work reveals the lack of care in imparting a human soul into the faces of his figures. My style changed over the years when I realized that I wanted to use life references. There’s the catch 22 after speaking about how much I like the look of invented content. I am always sure to put my own spin on every single line in a drawing. Sometimes a portrait may end up looking quite a lot like my model, and sometimes it looks unrecognizably different. At this point, my personal rule of thumb is that it has to have a certain feeling to it, regardless of whether I have to create it from nothing, alter a reference image or copy a reference image accurately. Once I build sculptures and find human models, I spend a lot of time with light and that is where I can usually tell what I want to try and keep from the references I’ve taken so much time to painstakingly create. 6. When you create art is there a particular message you intend to impart I want people to think about things that I feel are important, but have been overlooked. I feel there are already a billion plus images that explore general feelings like beauty for beauties sake, or weirdness for it’s own sake, darkness for its own sake and so on. I avoid anything that I feel is “overdone” on pur-pose. The fertile ground for me, in terms of subject matter, are very particular topics and ideas that I haven’t yet seen explored in the specific way that I want them to be depicted. I remember once hearing a famous musician say that they were first inspired to make the kind of

music they really wanted to listen to the most when they couldn’t find it out there. I feel somewhat the same with art. I do see many great examples of all sorts of amazing work, but there is something deeper into my idiosyncrasies that I do not already see, and I imagine that could be the same for everyone. Every single person is already unique and so if they are true to themselves, their artwork will automatically be original. On the subject of originality, I am a big proponent of genuine emotion in all aspects of human behaviour. I have a sensitive internal detector for artificial expression that goes off while driving through suburbs, walking through greeting card isles or talking to some salespeople. If they believe in their product, they shouldn’t have to be artificial to sell it, just tell the truth. That is how I feel about an artist representing their work; if we tell the truth while making the work, the sales-pitch is already done. Paintings can sell themselves and the independent artists role as a salesperson at that point is just to get the work in front of more eyes. Back to the question of what message I want to impart, I want to encourage people to think more than less. Like Socrates, I believe the unexamined life is not worth living and like Nietzsche, I believe a mountain must be climbed one gruelling step at a time to properly appreciate the view from the top. I believe that human purpose increases when people have worthwhile goals to accomplish rather than moving further into a “push-button” existence. I believe that the general populace is at a disadvantage by not thinking and speaking philosophically. I believe that the biggest, most complicated and toughest subjects should be common speak in order for the human race to flourish. I believe it is the responsibility for people who are educated in advanced concepts to make those concepts palatable for the general public, rather than making them more obscure. On this subject, I must also take the opportunity to be candid here and break any kind of “fourth wall”. I think it is important for people to engage in “smart person language” without any of the pretensions or high-status associated with it. It is important for me to admit that I feel I know nothing.

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I did not attend post-secondary education but I want to learn about these subjects more than ever now that it is on me and not for a mark on a paper. 7. What piece of your artwork would you like to be remembered for? I tend to favour my most recent work, so I would imagine that whatever was the last piece I just created would be the one I would want to be remembered for, if I could only pick one. Otherwise, I would pre-fer to be remembered for most of my oil paintings and some of my drawings. I am pretty calculated about what I work on so I tend to only go into spending time on an idea if I feel strongly about it. Therefore, it might be easier for me to list one or two pieces that I would not want to be remembered for. 8. Do you keep an on-going sketchbook for studio ideas and random images or do you sketch for a specific project. I do keep small coil-ringed brown toned sketch books. Most of the sketches are intended to support an idea for a large oil painting. I do believe it is important to draw as much as possible for skill development, but unfortunately most of my time has to go toward developing ideas for larger more complex oil paintings. At this point, I find there are a lot of potential drawing exercises that come up as a result of large painting development. I might for example, take one of the characters that is part of a larger narrative, and do a sketches of extra positions or light looks of that one character. Most of my single-figure paintings were derived from larger narratives. One out of the many to be explored in greater depth. 9. Besides hard work and talent, what other traits has led to your success? Well thank you for saying so. I would say the definite third trait in that list besides talent and diligence is … I’m having a hard time finding one word for this. Tenacity, stubbornness, another way to think of it would be the term “spine”. I think it is absolutely necessary for artists to have

a spine so that they can stand up for themselves, not only when doing business but when defending the use of their time before they become successful. I should mention though, that this goes hand-inhand with the level of confidence in our work. If I feel extremely confident in what I have created, then I will stand in front of any critic without fear. If there is doubt, a person can only go so far to putting excess energy into defending, publicizing and taking risks based on their work. Feeling great about my art was always the most important thing to me. I believe in spending %99 of our time and energy on creating the greatest art we can possibly make before being too concerned about business, and by business I would include the effort to have a massive social media following. 10. What’s next for you in the future? Currently I am working to finish a few pieces for separate collectors. Being that I am independent, I base most of my show decisions on what work I think I might have available. It is always nice to have group show opportunities at various galleries and I may do another in 2020. Other than that, I usually know what my next two or three upcoming paintings will be well before I actually put a brush to board. The ideas exist in sketch form before I build reference sculptures and do photoshoots with life models. My paintings take a great deal of time and so knowing what my next two paintings will be can be a many-month job description. It has been exciting and constantly motivating for me to experience a gradual increase in popularity with my work. There has not been one major event that took me from level two to nine for example. It has been more like one level higher per year on average. In some ways I feel like a have so much more to show and do and so I am confident that as I strive to go further into my work, the results will be equivalent. www.stevechmilar.com

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Around The World

Svenja Strauch www.svenjastrauch.de I have written and illustrated a book named “Prisoner 81-A”. In it I tell the true story of Judy, the only dog to ever be granted official POW status. Judy - a ship’s dog of the Royal Navy in China at the start of WW2 - was imprisoned by the Japanese and allowed to live in the internment camps. Struggling to survive for lack of food she bonded with a young soldier named Frank who felt sorry for her. The two friends helped each other stay alive through hunger, violence, illness and utter bleakness of the camps. It’s a touching story about friendship, trust, braveness and shines a light on what makes us human.

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Murat Kalkavan www.muratkalkavan.com

I have designed a sticker pack for @huaweimobile Huawei Emoji Design Contest as a guest designer, which will also be used with Huawei digital products. Besides that, it is an honor to be the judge in this competition alongside such talented artists Leo Natsume and Burnt Toast Creative

Rocio Denarmen www.behance.net/denarmen

Illustrations that were made for a fanzine called “Fantasiario� which was a collab with local illustrators. The idea was to choose some classic/folklore stories that inspired us when we were children and take some key scenes to illustrate. I choose these stories specifically because I feel very attached to them and somehow believe my style may fit well.

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Scrapbook

SCRAPBOOK

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PRIYANKA

KAUSHAL I am Priyanka Kaushal based out of Mumbai, India. I am a freelance graphic designer; with the heart of an artist. My learnings and experience in design have stemmed from my background in fine arts. I continued with my hand drawn and painted work for several years and then the digital medium caught my fancy. Since then, there has been no looking back. I am a learner and always on the lookout for new techniques and styles of illustration and digital art. There’s just so much creative inspiration and knowledge around I can harness. While colors and compositions are my biggest assets, I strongly believe that the most simple designs are the best designs and I constantly try to follow that while working on my projects. However, I do struggle in this pursuit, as I love details. Being able to communicate and narrate an exciting new story through design and illustration, is what keeps me motivated towards this medium. I try not to restrict myself to a certain style of illustration and art in general, and love experimenting. I usually make my digital artworks available for print and also do a lot of customized; commissioned art. Being an artist, I have learnt that it’s not important just how skilled one is; It’s equally important what one chooses to share through his/ her artwork with the people. I draw inspirations from a lot of people and situations around me and try and depict that in my work. Sometimes my artworks are also a self-reminder on positivity, emotions, and strength. I wish and hope to club my creative journey with a lot of travelling, international projects and sharing my knowledge.”

Website: www.behance.net/Priyankakaushal Instagram: priyanka_theartforest

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Scrapbook


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MY SPECIFIC

STYLE Exclusive Interview with

Judith Clay

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Judith Clay


Exclusive Interview

1. Tell me a bit about you and your background: where are you from/ where did you study? I was born and raised in a small town in northern Bavaria, Germany, where I spent most of my childhood outside in the woods or inside making up play scenes in the small bedroom I shared with my older sister, and with reading and drawing. Art schools were far away and never an option for me as a teenager living with my divorced mother. So, after I finished school, I completed a work/ study apprenticeship at a china manufacturing company near my hometown to become a ceramic painter. During the three years of study, I learned how to paint and decorate various china pieces including figurines, plates, and vases. In the accompanying art classes, we were introduced to oil, watercolor, ink pen work, and other media. Since art and literature go hand-in-hand for me, I eventually also finished a university degree in German and English literature. You will find that all my artwork has a “literary” element in it, often inspired by poems or fairy tales, always telling some sort of story, some known, some my own, some old, some new. 2. Do you personally find the process of working within selfimposed constraints or rules helpful to your work? Once I was approached by a client to create a picture for an event. They told me all the things they wanted in the picture, down to the facial expressions of the people in the picture. I totally froze up and couldn’t even come up with a sketch. That made me realize that I work best with as little constraints and rules as possible whether they are client- or self-imposed. 3. How did you find your style? Has it changed since you started? Finding my style was a long and involved process that is still ongoing. For me the term “style” is fluid and always changing. I need variety and constantly make little changes to the way I draw or do collage work. I love introducing new elements like my handcarved rubber stamps I started using a little while ago. I started out doing black and white ink pen drawings, began playing with color and paper collage work. Recently, I’ve been doing more and more monochrome work using one favorite color for an entire picture. I also study the work of artists whom I admire, not to copy their work but to learn from it. I want my style to be recognizably my own allowing it to develop and change at the same time.

Judith Clay is a German artist and trained ceramic painter. She holds a degree in comparative literature. She works primarily in ink, pastels, colored pencils, and collages. Her drawings are echoes of her feelings and dreams. With her pictures, she tries to reawaken the magic, emotions, and freedoms of childhood.

4. can you remember some of your earliest influences? With every book I had as a child, I remember always intensely studying its pictures whether they were photos, paintings or drawings, the first one being a collection of Brothers’ Grimm fairy

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tales. It had very simple black and white ink line drawings that fascinated me. Although they used no colors or other effects, they were full of energy and grace.

5. How do you approach creating an illustration? And is that different depending on if you are working for a client or for yourself? The clients that I have worked for so far have come to me—as they’ve told me—because they were attracted by my specific style. Because of that, I try and approach client work the same way I approach working for myself. That means mainly allowing the topic, theme or idea into my story worlds to find its scenery there. Sometimes I start sketching a character and ask myself where that character would go or what it would do. Sometimes I just imagine a character in my head and place it in different sceneries. Sometimes the characters end up in a hot air balloon or flying away at the end of a kite. 6. How do you get ideas for each piece of art? To me, inspiration for artwork is everywhere. I get ideas through stories or fairy tales, photos I see, a childhood memory, a special building, a toy, travelling to a new place, the decorations of a shop window, favorite animals, flowers, or plants. I also look at a lot of artwork, famous and unknown, old and new, popular and obscure, in museums, picture books, posters and online.

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Exclusive Interview

7. How has your art evolved over the years? It definitely evolved on the technical skill level as I constantly experiment with my favorite media. Feeling more comfortable with my tools has opened me up to experiment with color and space, too, leading to a series of minimalistic ink pen/collage pieces. I’ve introduced many new elements into my compositions that I would have never considered before like certain animals or plants. My artwork has become more daring in the sense that I don’t let myself be stopped by the laws of logic or physics anymore. I will let it snow underwater or have butterflies float through a winter scene or fish fly above the streets of a city. 8. How do you define your illustrations? In the feedback that I get, people most often call my work whimsical. I like to agree with that. Whimsical with a splash of surrealism where reality meets my story worlds. 9. Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why? Ink pen on paper. I love the challenge of creating a character, animal, or scene on paper, adding the shading, highlights, textures, details with simple black lines, no colors, no extra tools. 10. what would you say is your strongest skill? People who’ve commissioned work from me, bought originals or prints, or simply commented under pictures I’ve posted online have said that my pictures take them back to their childhood, make them feel like children again. I consider that a skill especially since that is one of the aims I have for my pictures: to touch the inner child of the viewer and let them escape (a little) from reality. 11. What is your favorite piece of work in your portfolio? Why did you make it? A pastel drawing I did in 2017, When It Rains Outside. It was inspired by childhood memories and a doll in a white dress and long braids I fell in love with in the doll museum of my hometown. I wanted to share the comfort I used to feel as a child when I heard the raindrops plop against the window pane and used the doll as one of the characters in the picture. This picture inspired two more; all three were short-listed for the Ilustrarte 2018 exhibit in Portugal. A lot of my favorite pictures come into existence because I fall in love with something, a doll, a toy, an animal, or a building, a landscape and want to tell a story with them.

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Judith Clay

12. What do you dislike about the art world? I find that the art world doesn’t always appreciate individual, unique styles but instead seems to favor “trendy” work that sells. 13. What’s next for you in the future? I just finished the artwork for an international film festival. My work will be shown on the invitations, event posters, postcards, and the stage presentations. I’m very much looking forward to seeing all that “in action” next year. 14. Did other people accept your work at first or did it take some effort on your part to be recognized by others? When I first started showing my work to people, I didn’t always get an enthusiastic response. It was different when I started showing my work online to a greater, more diverse audience. Every platform or group I joined, more and more people reacted positively to my work, artists and non-artists alike. These were also the first places where I received commissions and invitations to international exhibits. Continuously creating new work, constantly attempting to improve and maintaining a presence—so yes, it took some effort for me to become more recognized. | 52


Exclusive Interview

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Judith Clay


Exclusive Interview

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Creative Space

Anya Felch

Anya Felch

Artistique is very proud to represent the world’s leading contemporary artists. Both our illustrators and agents have years of experience working with the world’s top brands to deliver great service at exceptional standards. With feet on the ground in Manhattan, Marbella, Madrid, London and Singapore, we are a truly global agency. The quote: “Great art is not about seeing, but what you enable others to see” is always in the back of our minds. We are passionate about conveying

everything from the simplest to the most complex ideas through art that speaks for itself. Our artists produce images that trans-lay a message or an opinion in an intelligent, visually stunning way. We are proud to provide commissions for editorial illustration, book cover art, illustrated typography, fashion illustration, illustrated maps, infographics, murals, 3D, illustrated brands, illustrated ads, illustrated packaging and political illustration.

Artistique Int represents: Andrzej Wieteszka, Anya Felch, Bobby Haiqalsyah, Camipepe, Carlos Vielba, Daniela Carvalho, Eliana Rodgers, Erick Retana, Esther Lalanne, Fabien Gilbert, Gastón González, Gianluca Natale, Javier Pérez, Jennifer Costello, Jeremy Booth, John Klossner, Kay

Coenen, Koma Pahwa, Lucía Cordero, Marina Ferrando, Matilda Petersson, Michela Buttignol, Milica Golubovic, Mira Nameth, Olivier Balez, Pola Augustynowicz, Sarah Goodreau, Tanawat Sakdawisarak, Teddy Kang, Tim Robinson, Victor Beuren, Victoria Borges, Vince Verma, and Xulin Wang.

www.artistique-int.com

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Tanawat Sakdawisarak


Exclusive Interview

Fabien Gilbert

Victoria Borges

Mira Nameth

e Creativ Space THE

Artwork by Jeremy Booth | 57


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Brightness Gallery

Brightness

Gallery

This section is devoted to the works of some of the best illustrators from all around the world. As with any real gallery, ours too aims to introduce and present those creative and elegant artworks which are created by both professional and enthusiastic young artists. However, as opposed to the real galleries, this one will not be restricted by physical barriers or geographical borders, which implies that artists could easily connect to a wider range of audiences worldwide.

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Snowman Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul. With a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal. Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale they say. He was made of snow but the children know how he came to life one day. Jack Nelson

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Brightness Gallery

SONJA DANOWSKI | 60


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Brightness Gallery

ANGELA BARBIERA

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MARYAM HASANI

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Brightness Gallery

FERESHTEH JAFARI FARMAND

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LAURA MOCELIN

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Brightness Gallery

HOMA ESHAQI

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SIMIN HONARVA

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Brightness Gallery

MECCA ALIM

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SARAH CHERRY

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LAURA MOCELIN

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Brightness Gallery

NARGES FAYAZ

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Brightness Gallery

GOLBARG JOKAR

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MARÍA JOSÉ PLATA SANTOS

SVENJA STRAUCH

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Brightness Gallery

FARIBA ASLI

NAJMEH REZAEI

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TINA HEIDARI

FARIDEH NASIB

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Profile for Brightness Magazine

Brightness Magazine No 17  

Exclusive interviews with Devis Grebu, Steven Chmilar, Judith Clay

Brightness Magazine No 17  

Exclusive interviews with Devis Grebu, Steven Chmilar, Judith Clay

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